- Claim extortionists rake in over N300bn yearly
By Steve Agbota, Lagos
Truckers and Garage owners on Monday embarked on a protest against extortion by local government, prison, naval and police officers around Kirikiri and other roads across Lagos State.
This is even as they said that the extortionists are raking in over N300 billion yearly, as a trucker spent between N1.5 million and N2 million as kickbacks on a weekly basis.
The truckers blocked the whole roads around the Kirikiri environs to express their anger and frustration over the extortion. They said that Local Government or anybody does not have any right to be on the road to be extorting, vandalising people’s trucks and brutalising the truck drivers.
The truckers alleged that security officers were giving backup to the extortion bandits who claimed to have a franchise from the Local Government to collect dues and levies from truckers and garage owners.
However, Daily Sun learnt that Oriade and Amuwo-Odofin Local Governments denied in a letter written to the trucker’s association that they were never given any franchise to anybody to collect revenue charges from truckers or Garage owners.
In order to maintain orderliness, the DPO of Kirikiri Police Division, Ismaila Olaniran called all the truckers and all the people involved in the matter to a meeting to resolve the crisis.
Speaking during the protest, the Chairman of Nedu Logistic Solutions, Kelvin Okechukwu said that truckers do not want prison warders, navy officers and local government officials around Kirikiri environments again.
“I have 50 trucks, it is only 20 trucks I can maintain on the road now due to extortion. We have too many extortion points, especially along this Kirikiri axis. From Mile 2 to Kirikiri, every truck spends N15,000 whether the truck is loaded or not.
He said there are more than 15 extortion points within this area while truckers pay between N1000 and N2000 even N4000 in some points.
He said that many truckers could no longer feed their family and maintain their trucks, adding that truckers are selling their rucks to feed and maintain the ones that are still working.
“Once the truck is not working, the driver and motorboy will not eat. A lot of people are losing their jobs because of extortion. When you get a job of N70,000, you will spend between N15,000 and N20,000 on extortion bandits. We will buy diesel, which is very expensive now, what would be left for us at the end of the expenses,” he lamented
He said all the inputs that make them transporters are going up, saying the extortion points and fees are increasing every day.
He added that all the truckers in Kirikiri are suffering and Kirikiri is the hub of maritime logistics in Lagos State.
“We are suffering and we can’t even breathe. Not only Agbero extorting us. Police, Navy and Prison officers have joined them to extort us. Police and the navy are there protecting these extortion bandits. If you talk, they will threaten you with a gun. This thing can’t continue. We are dying and losing our business,” he said.
Another truck owner, Dike Ekene Collins said that the illegal collection of the fee is becoming a lawless place not only in Kirikiri but across Lagos State and all the extortion must be stopped immediately.
He said the practice of illegality and criminality should not stand in anywhere, adding that the government should do something about the issue.
He said that the truckers staged the protest to express their grievances due to the back and front that has been happening in Lagos State as regards the issue of extortion.
“As you can see now, we just came out of Divisional Police Headquarters, Kirikiri station under Area B. The DPO has been mixing his words trying to side with these extortionists. He was not clear in his decision and it was as if he was shaken by maybe any superior authority. We made him know that we were talking about the law and there was nowhere in the law that anybody should be collecting money on the road.
“And we made it emphatically clear that we will resist this act of extortion that has been happening and we provided evidence of letters that have been sent by the respective body in Lagos State Government that both RTEAN, NURTW, and Lagos State Park Administrators or whatever they call themselves even the Local Government do not have any right to be on the road to be extorting and vandalising our trucks, brutalising the truck drivers.
“These people are making life difficult for us. They are sending us out of business. We can’t even maintain our trucks. Our trucks are breaking down on the road and accidents are happening because of maintenance. They take 95 per cent of our profit. It really affecting our business and that is why we have come here to express our grievances. We are standing firm and emphatically that we don’t want the extortionists on the road again.
“The naval officers are shielding the extortionists even the Prison warders have established their own point of collection.
You can see them there. We are calling on the necessary authority to nib this thing in the bud because it is a broad daylight robbery. In fact, it has been a norm to practice armed robbery in the broad daylight and everybody is seeing it,” he cried out.
A truck driver, Akeem Bankole said that he was tired of giving maritime bandits N2000 every time, saying that the maritime bandits do not have any right to come inside the estate to collect money from the truck drivers.
“Navy collect money from us and when we get into the street, maritime bandits from Local Government will also demand money from us. We don’t want them again. They should not come to Comfort Ottobo Street to collect money from truckers again. Let them go and look for jobs and leave us alone,” he said.
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