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Nigeria News

Lagos Where LASTMA And Touts Are Friends

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ElevateNews takes a look at the friendship between touts and traffic officials in Lagos.

Most Bus Stops in Lagos have virtually become motor parks. The immediate past Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode did a lot in the building of laybys and expansion of bus stops so that motorists do not pull over arbitrarily to pick passengers.

The past government also erected barbwire across the major road to force pedestrians to use the pedestrian bridges. Commuters are only allowed to alight at the bus stops while the vehicles wait for a few minutes to pick new passengers.

When the Berger and Secretariat Bus Stops along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway were put into operation, the traffic on the road magically disappeared until the police and the officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority compromised their duty with touting.

There are touts at every bus stops under the guise of the National Union of Road Transport Workers whose primary role is to waylay commercial vehicles for dues.

Sometimes, the previous government of Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola kicked against this illegality. He told the NURTW to create offices where their members would pay their dues instead of turning themselves to nuisance on the road.

Fashola’s regulation actually worked because the number of touts drastically reduced in Lagos until Ambode took over. They came back to the road in a new form, working for both the police and LASTMA officials.

Motor park tout does not only represent himself or NURTW, but they make money for LASTMA officials and the police. The commercial buses operators and car owners now park at bus stops for hours to pick passengers while LASTMA officials and the policemen pretend not to see them.

This has contributed greatly to the heavy traffic in Lagos today. The government has built infrastructure that could help reduce the traffic challenges but more problems are being created by those that are supposed to enforce traffic law.

Corruption has eaten deep into every sector so much that there is a need to rebuild the civil service system. The civil servants are more perfect about how to extort money from the public than to deliver quality service.

It was gathered that LASTMA and Police officers participate in daily contribution, known as “Ajo” and that each of them contribute as low as N5, 000 daily from what they have been able to extort from motorists.

There are a few of them that will not compromise but they complain over the poor salary and welfare packages by the government. While it is condemnable to use touts or any other means to extort motorists, the government must do the needful by improving on the welfare packages and salary of the traffic officials.

If this is done, it will go a long way in curbing this barbaric act. For the Lagos Government that is working to make a megacity status, poor human capacity development of its law enforcers is also needed. No sane society will allow touts to spoil its tourist potential. Touts must leave Lagos to provide sanity on the high way.

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