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Who owns Lagos, Touts,
Agberos or the Governor?

By the late ISAAC ORIEKA

Since Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu became governor of Lagos State, touting and agbero’s activities have become a legal occupation in Lagos State. So much so that in the history of modern societies the State has bequeathed absolute,uncontrolled powers to gangsters to freely and lawlessly disturbing it’s peace,stability as Lagos has endeared the National Union Of Road Transport Workers, (NURTW), Okada riders union and other illegal extorting bodies and unknown unions to terrorise traders,hawkers, cart pushers to forcefully collect unapproved monies from them which is condemnable in the foremost commercial capital of Nigeria led under the leadership of the chief security officer,Mr.Sanwo-Olu.Hoodlums hide under the umbrella of unionism to legitimize their criminal enterprise. And all or most of the proceeds does not have a record officially at the local and State government account.

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Why is Lagos State a lawless place, where everyone is right when we know the rules of right and wrong? Legally,who controls Lagos roads is it the touts, who hijack the duties of the State, work with police protection,deliver and share the bribes and looted money with the vehicle inspection officials and law enforcement agents? Touts are everywhere.
They are at the seaports,airports,railway, banks, oil and loading bays, schools, as well as employment and admission processing formations. lncluding federal government agencies. The indefinite suspension recently imposed on the activities of the road transport workers union in Eyin Eyo, Church street and ldumota,in Lagos lsland, following the clash of two factions of the union is a testament of a State with a failed regulation of the union activities resulting to the loss of lives,shut businesses, casualties, injured persons in a busy central business district.
Also,suspended are the activities of the transport union in John street, particularly, keke Marwa and mini buses (Korope).
The recent clash which erupted between the two factions is due to remittances of monies collected by Eyo boys who are loyal to Kunle Poly, and have been at loggerheads with the Kosoko boys who are collecting levies from commercial bus drivers on ldumota but the latter declined. The Lagos State Ministry of Transport and the current governor have given too much elasticity to the operations of the unions that the State is even worse off than what it was under the previous governments.

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Suspension is only a temporary measure, and arrest of some union members in an alleged complicity will not stop the union members from committing more killings as long as power and money is involved. Deployment of armed RRS squad to the troubled spot is scratching the surface of the problem. The pressure of sustaining daily living in Lagos is too cumbersome for human existence. Therefore, touting and other inhuman activities should be checked.

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Mr. Musiliu Akinsanya, aka MC Oluomo, is the chairman of the Lagos chapter of the NURTW, and has a huge task on his shoulders to restore sanity to Lagos roads and transport workers, including the touts and agberos working and wearing the uniform of the union. Touts are pests who employ all form of methods to extort money from commercial drivers.ln most cases they inflict injuries on the drivers, seize their tires, wheel spanners, break their wind screens, fight their conductors, and deploy all sorts of violent act to get money from them. Their mode of operation is warlike, almost same as bandits.
The governor in his capacity should take the touts from Lagos roads and gainfully provide alternative source of livelihood to them. Oshodi, has returned to the crazy old chaotic confusion of bus drivers menace as a result of criminals touting where movement is impeded. They and Okada, motor cyclist riders ply the BRT lane as a part of their motoring way. Now the State government has introduced 800 naira levy on buses, who collect this money is it NURTW,or the transport ministry?


In the inner streets of Lagos, touts harass traders, people who move goods using horse whip, pipes, sticks, screw drivers,knives, and dangerous sharp objects to threaten them for cash. And also, they are positioned in all corners of the streets with illegal ticketing faceless young boys with colored or silver dyed hair parading as agents of the extorting unions.


The institute of Corporate and Sector Professionals (lCPSP), recently awarded Mr. Musiliu Akinsanya, popular called MC Oluomo, an honorary fellow of the institute, which is the highest membership grade meant to recognize Akinsanya’s excellence and commitment to public service. If he his being recognized to such a level then he is the hope of the youths. So, he should bring the administrative competency he has gathered to manage whatever crisis there is in the union and not with cutlasses, guns and violent clashes that will claim the lives of innocent citizens and their businesses.


He does not need to be an Havard educated union brilliant chap since he is a grassroots unionist, the details of handling clashes is a rudimentary knowledge that must be learned. His antagonist posture with Alhaji Adekunle Lawan alias Kunle Poly, for more than Four years is uncalled for. A leader should embrace peace and dialogue. Both factions on the lsland should lead by example and orientation to their boys on the streets. There should be a platform to liaise with the State government,even if the government is behind them. Again,dialogue is the key to peace.Lagos does not need touts and agberos to develop, rather the State is loosing its image and good name with the negative touting for money ‘Owo mi da’. Mr. Sanwo-Olu, ‘soro so ke’ on this issue.