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Commuters stranded as commercial drivers

By Lukman Olabiyi 

The seven-day strike declared by a union of  commercial drivers in Lagos State, yesterday kicked off with partial compliance.

Despite the partial compliance by the drivers, many commuters felt the negative effect of the road boycott as they were stranded at several bus stops. The strike embarked upon by the union was due to the alleged extortion by the men of the park management system in the state.

Commercial drivers in the state, under the aegis of Joint Drivers Welfare Association of Nigeria (JDWAN), had declared a seven-day boycott of transport services, in protest against arbitrary levies imposed on members by the state government.

The Daily Sun visited Ikorodu, Ikeja, Obalende, Oworonshoki, Berger and Oshodi, it was observed that some drivers still came to freight passengers to various destinations, while others stayed away from the roads.

The scarcity of commercial buses on the roads, however, led to fare hikes by the few drivers who were working, and the result was that many commuters were stranded in their different bus stops.

Many commuters, who spoke to Daily Sun condemned the state government for failing to address the issues raised by the drivers. Among those who expressed their feelings on the development were Jamiu Adetubo, a staff of an insurance company in Victoria Island. He said it is very sad that the state government deliberately decided to punish Lagosians by failing to address the issue raised by the drivers’ union.

Adetubo said the state government could not deny the allegations raised by the drivers’ union. He called Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to rise up to his mandate and put an end to excesses and extortion of commercial transporters by law enforcement agencies and touts, who are operating as agents of the government.

Also, Bolaji Akinyosoye called on the state government to consider the commuters who were suffering due to the action of the drivers. She urged the government to check the excesses of touts, popularly known as Agbero.

Meanwhile, the state government, yesterday, in its reaction to the development, said it was already looking into the demands of the Joint Drivers Welfare Association of Nigeria (JDWAN), with a view to finding permanent solutions to the issues raised by the association.

Special Adviser to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Transportation, Sola Giwa, announced the commitment of the state government to find a lasting solution to issues raised by JDWAN in a press statement, yesterday. 

He said: “Sequel to the announcement by JDWAN to embark on a seven-day strike, starting from October 31, 2022, the Ministry of Transportation invited its leadership to a meeting on Friday,  October 28, 2022, despite its non-affiliation to any of the transport unions known to the state government, i.e NURTW and RTEAN.

“Most of the union members at the meeting were from the Badagry axis, and it was resolved that the meeting be adjourned till Wednesday, November 2, 2022, to have a larger house (the Unions inclusive) and resolve the matter amicably.

“The outcome of the November 2, 2022 meeting will be made known to the public. The state government urges drivers to continue their daily routine without fear of molestation and intimidation as security agencies have been directed to maintain law and order. Those who are taking advantage of the situation to raise fares are warned to desist from doing so or face the consequences of their illegal actions,” the statement read in part.

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