• I’m not aware of extortion, killing, Taskforce boss claims
• As Lagos, NPA re-order ‘Eto’ port operations in Apapa
By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Commuters had to trek long distances to their destinations, in the early hours yesterday, from around Iyana-Ipaja, Ikotun road and the environs, in Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State, following protest embarked on by commercial bus drivers, popularly called ‘Danfo’, over alleged extortion by men of the Lagos State Environmental Sanitation and Special Offences Unit (Task Force).
A similar situation happened on September 1, 2020, when commuters were stranded in the area, due to alleged excesses of taskforce officials.
Danfo drivers withdrew their buses from operating, forcing commuters to resort to trekking, while recalcitrant drivers were prevented from operating by members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW.
Meanwhile, commercial tricycles and motorcyclists, popularly called ‘Keke Marwa’ and ‘Okoda’, respectively, seized the opportunity to make brisk business, hiking transport fares, due to the large number of passengers at bus stops.
The ‘Danfo’ drivers were protesting the alleged daily seizure of their buses and extortion by Task Force officials over frivolous traffic rules violation.
As early as 6.30am, the development led to a chaotic situation in the axis.
Taskforce officials must be called to order—Drivers, commuters
Some of the commuters who spoke with Vanguard along Idimu-Ikotun road expressed solidarity with the striking commercial drivers, calling on the state government to intervene by calling the task force to order immediately.
Speaking with Vanguard, one of the protesting drivers, Kayode Oloye said: “We decided to withdraw our services to protest the illegal activities as well as bring it to the notice of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and relevant authorities so that they can call the task force men to order.
“Enough is enough. We can’t take the nonsense anymore. The economy is unfavourable to everyone. We are struggling to feed our families and not feed government or taskforce officials under the pretence of committing one offence or the other.
“We work hard to earn our living. We are not armed robbers. Do they want us to take to do robbery?”
I’m not aware of extortion, killing, Taskforce boss claims
However, reacting to the allegation, Chairman of the Task Force, Chief Superintendent of Police, Sola Jejeloye, denied any knowledge of any extortion against any of his men
He said: “I urge anyone with evidence of extortion against taskforce officials to come forward and I assure them of prompt action against such errant officers as deterrence.
“We have arrested some of them in the past and we have strengthened our surveillance to arrest those still in the act to bring them to book.
“I, hereby, appeal to residents and protesting commercial drivers to give peace a chance as everything will be fine to address this once and for all.”
On the alleged killing of an unidentified commercial driver and conductor, Jejeloye said: “There is no truth in the fake news that Lagos State Taskforce killed a driver and its conductor. Such incident never happened anywhere in the state.”
Lagos, NPA reorder “Eto” port operations in Apapa
Meanwhile, to address traffic challenges along the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, in collaboration with Lagos State Government has directed that, effective from August 16, 2021, all trucks accessing the Tincan Port must make a booking on Electronic-call up system, called, “Eto” and tender their valid ticket at the gates before entry would be granted.
In a statement, management of the Trucks Transit Parks, NPA agent and operator of the eto system said: “Truckers must generate their access codes via “eto” before approaching the port. This directive is to ensure seamless movement of trucks in and around the Tincan axis and to ensure compliance with the e-call up drive.
“Note that any truck without a valid eto ticket will not be granted access into the Port. Also, access codes will not be generated for any truck regardless of ownership or terminal destination. Kindly, note that only Petroleum tankers are exempted from this arrangement.
“Please be informed that the enforcement team will enforce strict compliance with this directive. We enjoin you to kindly comply with this arrangement to ensure ease of doing business within the Tin-can corridor.”
The development was, however, attributed to the latest situation on the axis where trucks are jostling to gain access to the ports as night operations have been temporarily suspended due to allegation of extortion by security personnel.