Police, LASTMA, Agberos Threatening Our Livelihood, Tricycle Operators Lament
“Speak with any driver around here, they will tell you the same thing, that these agberos, LASTMA and Police are our greatest problems. Unfortunately, we cannot avoid them. The three of them in particular are always devising new ways to steal from us, but these agberos are the worst, they are like cancer to us.
“Every day, I start work by 6 am and most days, it’s like I am working for this set of people. I ply the Cele-Gate-Cele route and we have two chairmen, one at both ends. We pay N800 at Cele and N700 at (Jakande Housing Estate) Gate daily, while on Sunday, we pay N500 at both ends. You cannot say you are not paying the money, else those agberos will remove your seat or even seize your key.
“On the average, we make about N7, 000 daily, sometimes it’s more and other times, it’s less. Of this amount, we pay N1, 500 (chairman’s money), N3000 (delivery money), and N1500 (fuel), amounting to N6000. Sometimes, we are asked to pay the chairman’s feeding or weekend money.
“The remaining amount is spent on feeding and ajo (contribution), which is between N500 and N1000, depending on sales that day.”
He continued: “Whenever it rains, work is dull, but they don’t care; you must cough out the money. Also, we pay N100 at every bus stop to the Police morning and afternoon. They don’t collect the money directly; they have ‘boys’ that stand beside them and collect the money.
“You can imagine how many bus stops there are between Cele and Gate and we pay N100 at each major bus stop. Once you pay their money, you won’t have any problem, as they will allow you to work. They do nothing for us; they don’t make our lives easier; all they do is take from us.
“We have no medical insurance, no cover, nothing. Yet, we are the ones funding their lives. That is why we keep passing the cost to the customers, just so we have something to take home every day.”
Collins (surname withheld), who plies the Cele-Isolo route, was pained by what he called grave injustice meted out to them daily. He lamented: “They have sold this state to agberos completely and because they are profiting from their activities, the government refuses to check them.
“We pay N1000 at Cele and N750 at Isolo every morning. For each trip, we pay N100 at both places and N100 to the Police. I start work every day around 7 am and on average, make N5000 daily. Of this, I buy fuel of roughly N1500 and spend about N1000 on feeding.
“LASTMA officials are also a thorn in our flesh, as they took every opportunity to fleece us in the name of traffic infractions. I manage to save about N2, 000 daily and at the end of the week, I put the money in the bank.
“I also work for a Chinese company and I ride my tricycle when I am off duty. None of these people help us in any way, especially the agberos. They don’t help ease the traffic, they don’t patch the roads with all the money they collect from us and God forbid, if any of us is sick and in need of help, you are on your own because they won’t lift a finger to help.”
For Samuel, a driver on the Ilasa-Isolo-Roundabout-Ago-Gate route, the monies they pay to agberos, which are unaccounted for, is something he has long accepted with fate. “When I ply the roundabout route, I pay N1300, while I pay N1500 at Isolo. Gate is the worst; we pay N2, 500 there, and N1400 at Ago.
“Police collect N50 at every bus stop and we pay N100 for security daily. This is the most painful, because exactly what are they securing us from?
“I start work at 7 am daily and after I settle agbero and