Some commercial drivers plying the Iyana-Ipaja area of Lagos State and its environs, on Tuesday, protested alleged harassment and extortion by personnel of the Lagos State Task Force on Environment and Special Offences Unit.
The drivers, who carried placards with various inscriptions, left commuters stranded for hours.
The drivers noted that over 30 buses were impounded on Monday by the agency in the Ojodu-Berger area of the state.
While urging the Lagos State Government to scrap the agency, the drivers alleged that personnel of the task force usually extorted between N40,000 and N50,000 whenever their buses were impounded.
One of the drivers, Abel Ayoade, told PUNCH Metro that the agency’s illegal operation had made life unbearable for the commercial motorists.
He stated, “The officers usually come out as early as 5am and start impounding vehicles, which they take them to their office in Oshodi, and we have to pay between N40,000 and N50,000 before each bus can be released.
“So, we decided to withdraw our services today (Tuesday) to protest the illegal activities as well as bring them to the attention of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the relevant authorities so that they caution the task force men.
“The harassment and extortion must stop; they are getting unbearable. We have families to fend for. We are not armed robbers; that is why we are doing legitimate work.”
Another driver, Tajudeen Owolabi, told our correspondent that one of his colleagues, who took off from Ojodu Berger and was heading for Sango, was stopped by the task force personnel in the Agege area of the state and had to pay N5,000 before his vehicle was released.
He said, “The bus was later released to him after he parted with N5,000; this is what we are battling with on a daily basis; most of the money we make goes to the task force personnel, who arrest and impound vehicles indiscriminately. (Punch)