Commuters in Lagos have been left stranded at bus stops after bus drivers on Monday began a seven-day strike to protest excessive levies by transport union officials.
The drivers under the aegis of the Joint Drivers’ Welfare Association of Nigeria (JDWAN) had announced they would down their tools from October 31 over the inability of the state government to tackle the excessive levies.
The group, in a statement by its lawyer, Ayo Ademiluyi, said it had been subjected to indiscriminate extortion and violent harassment by the management of parks and garages in the state.
The statement read in part, “As commercial drivers in Lagos State under the aegis of JDWAN, we are left with no choice than to embark on seven days of protest and boycott of services over multiple and excessive extortions by the management of parks and garages in the state.
“We have notified members of the public and the Lagos State Government over multiple and excessive extortions by the motor parks and garages management.
“The cost of transportation affects the cost of goods and services and consequently the cost of living, which has spiralled astronomically in Lagos State as a result of the effect of motor parks excessive and illegal ticketing and tolling at almost every bus stop.”
The group alleged that its members lost half of their income to motor park ticketing, stating that they got arrested whenever they refused to pay for the tickets.
They said, “No to charging drivers three passengers money after loading in parks or garages; we kick against paying motor park thugs at every bus stop; harassment of law enforcement agencies and intimidation with guns, cutlasses, broken bottles by LASTMA, task force and RRS must end immediately; we demand that the Lagos State Government should provide official bus stops in each community to avoid incessant arrests and stress for commuters who complain of having to trek several kilometres back to their bus stops.”