•Lagos PPRO, SP Benjamin Hundeyin
Motorists have accused some policemen of conspiring with hoodlums to extort them at the Berger and Oshodi areas in Lagos State.
During a visit to Oshodi and Berger yesterday, our correspondent observed that hoodlums asked commercial drivers for N300 to be provided to the police, reports The PUNCH.
Speaking in separate interviews with our correspondent, some commercial drivers alleged that the police officers would make it difficult for them to transport passengers in the park if they did not pay their daily dues to the hoodlums.
A motorist, who identified himself as Tolulope, claimed that the amount of money commercial drivers give the policemen at the park depended on the size of their vehicles.
He said, “This is how they disturb us daily. They collect salary but I have to hustle on mine daily but still, they make life very uncomfortable for me. Here we pay N300 for loading. In a day, we pay close to N500 or even more daily.
“It depends on the kind of bus you are driving. For me, I drive a shuttle bus, so the money I will pay may differ from what all those big buses pay. They keep sending all these boys to collect money from us because they don’t want people to see them collecting the money on uniforms,” he concluded.
Another commercial driver, Rufai, claimed that police officers extorted them of N700 per day, adding that they would be compelled to quit working for that day if they did not pay.
Rufai said, “They have agents that collect money from us daily. The Army, police, and LASTMA have their agents. They call them “aja dog”. For police, we pay N300 in the morning if we are loading from Obalende and at night, we pay N400 which sums it up to a total of N700 in a day.
“This is one of the major reasons why we decided to add money on transportation because aside from the fact that the price of fuel has increased, we also have to settle all these agencies on the road and sometimes, it becomes unbearable.
“If we decide not to give them, I am very sure they will make life unbearable for us. If we want to carry passengers at a particular bus stop, they will not allow us, instead, they will keep hitting our buses with their rod. But, if we pay them their daily dues, they will allow us to carry passengers anywhere we want to.
A bus conductor, Ibrahim Ahmed, said, “The thing is not a new thing. It is something they have been doing since. They call it “owo olopa”, which means money for police officers. They don’t want people to see them taking money from us on the road. They do it every day. The government should please help us remove these people from the road because they are eating out of our daily income and it is not fair”, he concluded.
All efforts to get the reaction of the state Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin, proved abortive as his phone rang out yesterday several times and messages sent were yet to be responded to as of the time of filing this report.