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In a distressing turn of events, commercial drivers in both Ogun and Lagos states have voiced their grievances against what they perceive as a mounting burden of daily levies. These levies, exacted through the purchase of tickets at various motor parks scattered across the states, have sparked concerns among drivers who feel the weight of escalating costs.
In the midst of this turmoil, voices of discontent continue to rise. One female motorist, who identified herself as Iya Segun, shared the poignant reality of her situation: “As soon as Agberos see you, they bring the ticket; at times we go home with N5,000 which is not supposed to be so. The money I realised yesterday was what I used to fuel my vehicle today. It’s too much.”
Union officials, on their part, grapple with their own challenges. Olatunbosun Adeleke, an official from the Ketu Motor Park, Lagos, revealed the duality of their predicament: “Our leaders came and said we should find something to do and bring down the ticket prices, then the tickets issued by Lagos State as well as our dues have been reduced. We spoke with the drivers to collect N500 and it is not even profitable, but then there’s nothing we can do. We also have to help the people too as humans that we all are.”
Amidst these turbulent circumstances, the fate of commercial drivers hangs in the balance, as they navigate the intricate web of financial constraints, union dynamics, and the urgent need for sustainable solutions.
Economic Toll of Varying Levies
Investigative efforts by PUNCH Metro recently cast light on the disheartening predicament faced by commercial drivers. At major motor parks including Mowe in Ogun State and Berger, Ketu, and Ojota in Lagos State, these drivers are compelled to pay an array of tickets, each bearing different price tags ranging from N100 to N500. This disparity in costs, often accompanied by inscriptions indicating different issuing entities and purposes, has irked the drivers who are already grappling with financial pressures.
Conflicting Enforcement Methods
The ordeal faced by the drivers extends beyond the financial realm. Union officials responsible for overseeing ticket payments have resorted to a gamut of crude enforcement tactics. One driver, Oluwaseun Akinbamire, recounted his harrowing encounter with a ticket collector who physically removed his bus seat and demanded a steep N1,000 fee. Such confrontations, characterized by intimidation and aggression, have left drivers demoralized and desperate.
Struggle for Profit Amidst Hiked Costs
The drivers, who often endure long hours on the road, have highlighted the economic paradox they face. Rising fuel costs, expenditures for conductors, maintenance expenses, and various other overheads have led to a situation where drivers question the viability of their profession. Even though the union made a 25% reduction in ticket fees as a response to heightened fuel prices, many drivers continue to grapple with operational difficulties, rendering their earnings negligible.