18th June, 2013
Scores of commuters including school children going to Ikoyi, Eti-Osa, Lagos State, southwest Nigeria, were on Tuesday morning stranded at Obalende Motor Park when commuter bus drivers plying Ikoyi axis, Lagos, withdrew their vehicles from the area.
They were protesting against alleged indiscriminate seizure of their vehicles by officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA and Task Force.
The drivers alleged that LASTMA officials and the Lagos State Task Force usually impound their buses on the excuse that the state government has banned commuter vehicles from plying Ikoyi and its environs.
The drivers have called on Governor Babatunde Fashola to come to their rescue and direct the security personnel to allow them do their job, since there has not been any official ban on commuter buses plying Ikoyi.
A commuter, Mr. Joseph Etuk, who claimed that he works at Gerhard Road in Ikoyi, also begged the governor to call the security personnel and LASTMA officials to order because their activities are affecting not only the transport workers but commuters who are working in the area.
He said since last week when the officials began to arrest commuter bus drivers plying the area, commuters have found it difficult to get to their places of work on time.
“What we are saying is that, apart from the green and white painted buses plying Ikoyi, there is no other alternative means of transportation to the area. If the government wants to ban commuter buses from plying Ikoyi, it should first announce it to the public and provide alternative means of transportation to the area.
“We are appealing to Governor Fashola to call the security men to order and stop the arrest of commuter bus drivers conveying us to our places of work on a daily basis. But we still believe that the governor is not aware of what is happening to bus drivers and commuters plying Ikoyi axis in Lagos”, he stated.
A bus driver, who identified himself as Jude, said: “For a long time, we have been warned by the transport union leader not to ply Gerrard, Alexander and Bourdillon roads in Ikoyi, and we have stopped plying those areas. We drop off passengers going to Ikoyi at Lugard Avenue and those going to JAMB Office on Glover Road by Milverton Street Roundabout and then turn back. Yet, each time the task force officials arrest us, they will deliberately drive us to Alexander Road, Ikoyi and claim they arrested us there so as to extort money from us.
“We decided to withdraw our vehicles from the area when the situation became unbearable. We are now begging Governor Fashola to direct the security personnel to allow us to do our job since we are not plying the prohibited areas such as Gerrard, Alexander and Bourdillon roads.”
When P.M.NEWS visited Obalende Motor Park Tuesday morning, stranded commuters were seen waiting to board the unavailable buses plying Ikoyi.
The drivers refused to work because they claimed that they could be arrested.
Efforts made to speak to the transport leaders in charge of the park proved futile as at the time of writing this report.