A whopping sum of N123.078 billion is what the transport union thugs popularly called `agberos` make from commercial drivers, motorcyclists and tricyclists every year in Lagos.
‘Agbero’ is an informal word used to describe a person, usually, a thug, who collects rates, fees, tolls and other forms of tax around motor parks.
The agberos are official workers of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and the Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) who are usually seen in white and green uniform, but sometimes appear in mufti.
According to the information contained the estimated figures released by the International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) on Tuesday, these NURTW workers pocket N123.078 billion from commercial vehicle operators annually.
In the report titled: ‘Transport Statistics and Annual Revenue Paid to Agebros In Lagos’, ICIR disclosed that the money is made from rates, fees, tolls and other forms of tax levied on transport collected basically around motor parks.
According to the data released by ICIR, there are 75,000 commercial buses (danfos) in Lagos as revealed by the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA).
Also, despite the recent prohibition of tricycles (Keke Marwa or NAPEP) by the Lagos State Government, the report showed that there are 50,000 of them operating in the metropolitan city.
Likewise, ICIR stated that interviews with motorcycle riders in Lagos disclosed that each Local Council Development Authority (LCDA) in Lagos has at least 1,000 motorcycles. With the calculations, there are 37 LCDAs in Lagos which sums up to like 37,000 motorcycles
In the estimated figures, each commercial vehicle driver pays at least N3,000 to agberos, also known as ticketing touts on a daily basis and a huge sum of N82.1 billion was realised from commercial danfo drivers only in a year.
This means that these drivers pay N225 million each day, N6.75 billion each month, and N82.125 billion each year to agberos in Lagos, the report said.
This was confirmed by the interviews the ICIR conducted with 50 drivers from 37 LCDAs.
Also, while some motorcyclists pay N800, some said N400, and the average amount of money a motorcyclist pays agberos in a day was pegged at N600 per day. The statistics put the estimated figures in naira at N8.1 billion paid to these agberos annually.
In the interviews with motorcycle riders in Lagos, ICIR recorded that each motorcyclist must hand out N400 and N800 each day to agberos, according to the Motorcycle Operators’ Association of Lagos State (MOALS).
By implication, motorcycle riders pay N22.2 million to agberos each day, N666 million each month, and N8.103 billion each year.
The report further showed that more than 60 tricycle drivers in 21 LCDAs in the commercial city told ICIR that they paid at least N1,800 to agberos each day.
This, therefore, means that each day, agberos walk off with N90 million from transport taxes collected from tricycle drivers. Every month, their pay reaches N2.7 billion, rising further to N32.85 billion every year.
Each commercial vehicle driver pays at least N3,000 to agberos, also known as ticketing touts, every day, according to oral testimonies obtained by ICIR from more than 50 commercial bus drivers in 21 out of 37 local council development authorities (LCDAs) in Lagos.
In total, commercial buses, tricycles, and motorcycles pay N123.078 billion to agberos in Lagos each year. This excludes taxis as there are no relevant data on this category.
While these two transport unions seem to look official, there is no formal document that specifies the revenue they generate is remitted into the coffers of the Lagos State Government.
Saharareporters, New York