Commercial minibus drivers protest exploitation by Lagos touts

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A protest by commercial bus drivers engulfed the Mile-2 to Agbara stretch of the Lagos-Badagry Expressway on Thursday.
The commercial bus drivers were resisting an increase of N300 over the N500 they currently pay to bus stop touts and street urchins on every trip on the route.
The commercial vehicle drivers chased the bus stop touts and street urchins away from the road during the protest.
The action resulted in a pandemonium making commuters and other road users to scamper to safety.
The bus stop touts blocked the highway leading to a traffic snarl, but the undeterred commercial drivers, armed themselves with sticks, iron bars and rods as they marched from one bus stop to another to dislodge the unofficial “revenue collectors’’.
Speaking on the inflated charge, one of the revenue collectors at the Lagos Trade Fair Complex bus stop, simply known as “Epo’’, said the increase was a directive from the top.
Epo, a leader in the zone, instructed his team not to confront the drivers to avoid increased skirmishes, but said the directive took effect across the state since Wednesday.
He expressed consternation at the reaction of the drivers on that route.
“We cannot act or confront them now until we hear from the state to know the way to handle it. Meanwhile, our members are out of the road for now,’’ he said.
The commercial drivers were, however, adamant as they insisted that it was time to end their exploitation.
Mr Idowu Fadipe, a motorist, said that the drivers and owners of the buses had been at the mercy of the revenue collectors for a long time.
He said the revenue collectors could not be bothered whether the drivers and owners of their buses were breaking even or not.
A senior official of the Lagos State Transport Management Authority who requested anonymity said the state was considering a review of revenue payable on the vehicles.

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