…as police, touts compound their woes
- We’ve no business at motor parks -Police
Commercial transport operators pay an average of N156 million into the coffers of the Lagos State wing of the National Union of Road Transport Workers daily, The Point can authoritatively reveal. This translates into about N4.7billion naira monthly.
Compounding the commercial transport operators’ burden in metropolitan Lagos are scores of policemen at strategic bus stops, and street urchins masquerading as NURTW officials, as they line each busy road, extorting money from hapless drivers. The operators also contend with sporadic raids by the Lagos State Task Force on Environment and Special Offences, state vehicle inspection officers and the Federal Road Safety Commission, it was gathered.
According to The Point’s findings, each of the more than 16,612 registered tricycle riders in Lagos State pays N1,200 daily to NURTW while more than 304,229 registered commercial motorcyclists pay N400 each per day. This is in addition to the N600 per day paid as union dues by each of the drivers of not less than 23,393 mini-buses. On a daily basis, the NURTW nets about N19,934,400 from tricycle operators; N121,691,600 from commercial motorcyclists and N14,035,800 from mini-bus drivers in Lagos State.
The Point’s projection is based on statistics generated from the Lagos State Motor Vehicle Administration Agency and the Lagos State Bureau of Statistics, which put the number of registered motorcycles in the state from 2008 to 2012 at 304,229; and licensed commercial buses, between 2009 and 2013, at 23,393. Not less than 16,612 tricycles were also granted official permits between 2011 and 2014.
Aside from union dues, the commercial bus operators pay additional ‘loading’ charges before taking off from their various parks. Operators of the bigger buses plying Ikeja Along to Egbeda in the Alimosho Local Government Area, apart from paying a lump sum of N1,400 at Ikeja as park dues in the morning, are expected to cough up N600 per trip when each of the 22 passengers pays N150; and N300 when the fare is N100 each.
Each of the smaller bus operators also pays N600 as park charges in the morning. Ikeja to Ojota because passengers pay N100. I still pay the dues at the Ojota end before departing for Ikeja,” a minibus driver, who would not volunteer his name, said, adding,
“I don’t have an option since that is how we pay dues in Lagos State.” According to a tricycle rider, who plies the Ikeja-Berger route in the Ojodu Local Council Development Area, he pays N650 at the Berger end, whether passengers board his tricycle or not.
MOTORCYCLE RIDERS COMPLAIN
A motorcyclist at Fagba, in the Ifako/ Ijaye Local Government, Mr. Muritala Muhammed, said he paid N400 daily for ticket. “I give the police N2,000 and if I don’t give them they will beat me and collect my motorcycle,” he accused adding that “the police are really disturbing our work and we are about 50 riders here. The policemen are from Oko-Oba station and Alausa Area G. I want government to prevail on the Police to desist from collecting money from us.”
Another commercial motorcycle rider, Mr. Olusola Olawale, told The Point that motorcycle riders offered N1,000 as bribe to policemen daily. He said, “The levy is often paid as early as 6am and if we don’t bribe them before we are caught, we would pay N2,200 or N3,200 and if you struggle with them, you pay N5,000. What we make in a day is between N2,000 and N3,000 and after paying all the dues, we are left with virtually nothing to take home.
“I have a wife and a child to take care of. At the end of a day’s hard work, I often resort to borrowing money from friends who are able to outsmart the police that day.” He said the inability to settle the police could lead to the loss of the motorcycle.
“Your motorcycle would be collected and after three days, it would be taken to the Alausa office in Ikeja and once it gets there, repossessing the motorcycle could be impossible,” he noted, appealing for the state government’s intervention.
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