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Lagos State, Africa’s most populous city, faces an economic downturn as commercial drivers in Lagos State announced the start of a seven-day strike.

This was revealed by the National Head of the Joint Drivers’ Welfare Association of Nigeria (JDWAN), Akintade S. Abiodun.

The notice stated that the Lagos State Commercial Bus Driver under the umbrella of JDWAN had expressed their intention to strike for seven days due to the excessive extortion and unfair harassment they were facing from the from the managers of garages and parks in Lagos State.

The statement read in part, “As commercial drivers in Lagos State under the JDWAN umbrella, we have no choice but to embark on a seven day protest and boycott of services against the multiple and excessive extortion by management State parks and garages.

“We have informed members of the public and the Lagos State Government of the multiple and excessive extortions by the management of the car parks and garages.

The statement revealed that excessive extortion and illegal ticketing affect not only the cost of transportation, but also the cost of goods and services and, eventually, the cost of living. JDWAN members said they lost most of their income to Motor Park ticketing and when they refuse to comply, they are arrested.

“The cost of transport affects the cost of goods and services and hence the cost of living, which has skyrocketed in Lagos State due to the effect of excessive and illegal ticketing of car parks and tolls at almost every bus stop.

“We have been condemned to extortion and violent harassment by the state transportation agencies – the Lagos State Motor Parks and Garages Authority and the Lagos State Guardians Committee.

“Every day we lose half of our income to the boys in the car park. We pay exorbitant fees at garages and at every bus stop where we drop off passengers, whether we pick up passengers or not, we pay morning , midday and evening.Some routes have 25 bus stops which also serve as illegal tax collection routes.

The association, in its statement, said it refuses any unfair treatment, opposing the illegal payment of tickets to park thugs at every bus stop, while calling on the Lagos State government to immediately put end to harassment by law enforcement.

“Any illegal money paid after leaving garages and parks should be removed immediately. The harassment of law enforcement and intimidation with firearms, cutlasses and broken bottles by LASTMA, the task force and the RRS must stop immediately. They collaborate and hire thugs to attack and extort us every day without violating any law.

“We demand that the Lagos State Government provide official bus stops in every community to avoid the relentless arrests and stress of commuters who complain of having to travel several miles to return to their bus stops.”

The association has warned that failure to comply with their demands by the Lagos State government will lead to large-scale protest and an all-out boycott, as this seven-day strike is only a warning.

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