Drivers lament extortion, assault from Ogun street urchins

41

Commercial bus drivers plying the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway have raised the alarm over what they described as persistent threats posed by street urchins who disguised as tax collectors, otherwise known as “agberos,” at every bus stop along the expressway.

In separate interviews with our correspondent, the drivers lamented that the street urchins had compounded their daily struggles thereby making life difficult for them.

They described the urchins as extortionists who operate with aggressive tactics and a blatant disregard for human dignity.

A driver, Femi Yaya, who spoke with PUNCH Metro, said that apart from being subject to assault from the urchins, drivers were often forced to part with money through violence.

He said, “Every day, we, drivers, are confronted by the thugs demanding money and threatening us if their demands are not met. I have been harassed, beaten, and even robbed by these thugs.”

Alabi Awosile, another bus driver, also told our correspondent that the thugs demand money from every passenger they pick up at every bus stop.

He said, “They collect money per passenger we pick at every bus stop, and they do it aggressively.”

Another driver who simply identified himself as Augustine said the “agberos” had damaged his vehicle on several occasions.

“Most of the time, I always try to avoid them. One day, I drove off immediately after picking up passengers, and they destroyed my rear light.”

The Special Adviser on Media and Strategy to the Governor of Ogun State, Kayode Akinmade, in his reaction when our correspondent contacted him, said that every driver in the state was obligated to report any violence or misconduct from the thugs to the appropriate authorities. Akinmade noted that the government or its agencies couldn’t act without an incident report.

He said, “There has been no report made so far, and if there’s any, the agency will take it up from there. Everyone affected should make an official report; the state can’t act blindly.”

PUNCH Metro had in a special report revealed the existence of agberos issuing tickets of doubtful legality, which they compel commercial vehicle operators to purchase across the South-West region.

Their worst manifestation is in Lagos, the richest and most populous city in the region and Nigeria as a whole.

Factions of the National Union of Road Transport Workers and others impede commerce, cause traffic jams, and often render the state’s otherwise robust traffic laws ineffective.

Punch

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept

Dental Implant