March 31, 2023

Extortion: MC Oluomo goes tough, sacks erring unit excos

Lagos Parks administrators

...suspends collection of illegal fees

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

The Chairman of Lagos State Parks and Garages, LASPG, Alhaji Musiliu Akinsanya, popularly called MC Oluomo, has declared zero tolerance against extortion by members as he sacked executive members over alleged arbitrary hike in fees collected from commercial bus drivers.

Recall commercial bus driver, popularly called Danfo had organised a public protest on the highway ways, over incessant extortion of their members by touts called “agberos.”

The action of the unit led to a protest by some of the commercial drivers plying the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway taking to the road on Wednesday, lamenting the illegal fees imposed on them.

In the process, some of the drivers were allegedly injured and some arrested during the protest at Toll-Gate area of the state.

Therefore, as follow up to the sacking, MC Oluomo announced suspension of tax collection in some units across the state.

Akinsanya, who had secured the release of those arrested on Wednesday, gave N1 million to those injured for treatment.

He also set up a committee of bus drivers, bus owners and other stakeholders to determine the fee to be collected along the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway route.

MC Oluomo announced that there would be no ticket sales on Sundays in all parks and garages in the state.

The jubilant aggrieved drivers thanked Akinsanya for handling the matter in a civilised way.

Akinsanya claimed he knew nothing about the increment, the reason for sacking all executive members of the unit where the incident occurred.

According to him, many things have been attributed to his office without his knowledge.

Akinsanya warned leaders of parks and garages to desist from using his names to carryout nefarious acts and selfish agenda, saying that anyone caught would be sanctioned.

One of the aggrieved Danfo owners, who did not mention his name, expressed gratitude to Akinsanya for swift intervention which he said saved the situation from deteriorating.

He narrated thus, “Mc Oluomo told us Thursday afternoon when we held a meeting with him at the state council that no driver from Oshodi to Tollgate must be compelled to pay illegal agbero taxes anymore.

“We are only to buy two tickets in a day, after which we will not pay anything aside from loading fees.

“The normal ticket sold and approved by the Lagos State Park Management is just N800.

“He said those extra taxes imposed at Iyana Ipaja and Agbado Ijaiye were no longer valid. We can either buy our daily tickets in Oshodi or Tollgate, and either will be recognised.”

He added that MC Oluomo has said the drivers would no longer pay for tickets on Saturdays and Sundays.

“For weekend jobs, Mc Oluomo has mandated that no driver should be made to buy tickets on Saturdays and Sundays,” he said.

“The union should only compel us to buy tickets from Monday to Friday. We should be given the chance to take something home to our families.”

Also one of the Danfo owners, Motunrayo Kushimo, said, “What I heard from Alhaji MC Oluomo is different from what those working for him are saying.

“I met with him today and he listened to our grievances and addressed them to our satisfaction. He even allowed us to form a committee that would determine the amount to pay for tickets.

“This is incredible. It shows that we have a responsible leader who wants good for bus owners and drivers. We cannot thank him enough,” she said.

Mrs Kushimo advised her colleagues to always verify information from the state headquarters before taking any reaction

“We were surprised that the state Chairman did not give the directive to increase the fee.

“We were happy with the way he gave us attention because I didn’t even expect him to welcome us the way he did and did not side with his people. He is a great man,” she said.

A driver, Taiwo Akindele said he was pleased with the decisions of Akinsanya.

“We thought he was a bad person but he showed us that he’s a good person. He said he was going to shed light on everything today and he did so. We really appreciate him and other members of the state executive,” he said.

Oluwole Ajala, also a bus owner, said Akinsanya demonstrated a high level of maturity in addressing their issues.

“We thank Almighty God that Alhaji MC Olumo has found solutions for us. He invited us over and we’ve resolved everything and he has found a solution for us so things can go back to normal.

“He gave us about N1 million to treat the injured and helped release those in police custody. We didn’t expect all these from him.

“There are no more unbearable taxes. All we have to pay in a day is a little below N2,500 compared to the N20,000 we paid previously,” he added.

Meanwhile, protesting drivers who have resumed work were seen operating on Thursday and Friday without harassment and intimidation from agbero.