Agberos in Lagos generates the sum of N123.078 billion yearly
Lagos state is on the news for the most unbelievable reason! The transport union thugs commonly called agberos in Lagos generates the sum of N123.078 billion yearly!
Who Are Agberos?
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 uniforms but sometimes appear in mufti.
A report by AutoJosh describes these agberos as some young men who parade their goons at every bus stop and forcefully collect bizarre levies from helpless commercial bus drivers, tricycles, and motorcycles riders, etc.
According to the news site, refusal by drivers and riders to pay these illegal levies can lead to the dismantling of some essential parts of their vehicles such as the wipers, side mirrors, fuel tank covers, engine covers, rubber window seals, etc.
These agberos are said to go to the extent of beating up drivers and riders, many of whom are hardworking family men toiling to fend for their families in a very economically hostile society. Some of them even die from the assault on them by the agberos. Yet, this method of operations goes unquestioned and unregulated.
How do the Agberos Generate Billions Yearly?
The International Center for Investigative Reporting in its Tuesday report stated that 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.
The report also noted that 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.
According to the report, “Each commercial vehicle driver pays at least N3,000 to agberos, also known as ticket touts, every day, according to oral testimonies obtained from more than 50 commercial bus drivers in 21 out of 37 local council development authorities (LCDAs) in Lagos.
“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.
“That is not all. There are at least 50,000 tricycles (Keke Maruwas) in Lagos, according to a 2020 report by Techcabal – Never mind the Lagos State government’s recent ban, which is just a mere pronouncement.
“More than 60 tricycle drivers in 21 LCDAs in the commercial city said that they paid at least N1,800 to agberos each day. This is just a conservative estimate.
“Going by the figure provided by MOALS members, there are 37,000 commercial motorcycles in Nigeria’s commercial hub. By implication, motorcycle riders pay N22.2 million to agberos each day, N666 million each month, and N8.103 billion each year.
“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.
“The N123.078 billion generated by agberos each year amounts to 29.4 percent of Lagos State’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of N418.99 billion in 2020.
“The amount is bigger than the IGR of any other state in Nigeria last year.”
Where does this money go?
The ICIR report also stated that these billions generated by these agberos most of the time go into private pockets and not the Lagos state government account.
The report explained that the monies generated by agberos do not reflect on Lagos State’s annual financial statements.
It said, “Normally in any audited financial statement, there is a section for the Statement of Financial Performance, which summarises the revenue and the expenditure of every organisation within a period. Revenue in this section is a total of all the income received in a financial period, usually a year.
“In the State Auditor-General’s Comments for Audited Account of Lagos State, revenue is defined as ‘only the gross inflow of economic benefits or service potential received or is receivable by the entity on its account.”
“The auditor-general’s report further says that “those amounts collected as an agent of government or on behalf of third parties not considered as revenue'”
“The implication is that transport taxes collected by agberos, who act as agents, are not considered as revenue.”
Other sources also revealed that the Umbrella body of Yoruba Self-Determination Groups, Ilana Omo Oodua, has released a manual for any persons willing to join or champion the Yoruba Nation agitation.
The Yoruba group in a 37-page manual stated the dos and don’ts for agitators, including the reason for the agitation, Punch reports.
The manual was signed by its leader, Professor Emeritus Banji Akintoye, and also included all the conditions that must be met when holding a rally or protest.
According to the manual, there is a need for collaboration between Yoruba Nation and other self-determination groups across the world.
“The following is a guide or manual for the use of all Yoruba patriots engaged in the struggle for Yoruba self-determination. It supplies to all supporters of the self-determination struggle the kinds of information that they will need to prosecute the struggle; and it supplies guides to the struggle’s strategies and methods,” part of the manual read.
It also gave details of the Yoruba nation’s reasons, part of which includes, “the Yoruba people’s devastating experiences in Nigeria, the progressive (and now almost total) destruction of democracy in Nigeria, the primitive and blood-curdling agenda of ethnic cleansing and genocide in Nigeria, the constant human brutalisation, pains and death and regime of crimes against humanity in Nigeria”.
The 37-page manual reads in part, “We, Yoruba, lead in the choice of the peaceful and law-abiding path to our goal of a separate country of our own. And we the servants of the Yoruba nation in this struggle faithfully operate, and will always faithfully operate, with methods of peaceful organization, peaceful demands, peaceful propaganda, peaceful protests, peaceful legal actions, peaceful political persuasion, and peaceful negotiation.
“We will push for negotiating tables, and never push for street brawls or any other kind of conflicts. And if we find, among our people, any nationalist activist person or group that is inclined towards violence, we will encourage them to turn instead to peaceful and law-abiding means.
“After careful studies of the records of separatist movements in our world, we are persuaded that the peaceful approach is more likely to succeed. Various nationalist agitations in various countries of the world have, in the past century, employed violent means at various times while striving to achieve their nationalist goals.
“Yoruba groups engaged in serving the Yoruba nation need to note carefully that none of these uses of violent or terroristic methods achieved their purpose of self-determination or autonomy for their nations; all they succeeded in doing was to generate confrontations and wars with the governments of their countries.
“Young nationalist agitators, being young, are naturally attracted to tough and rough activism. From only proudly proclaiming the virtues of their nations, youthful nationalist activists commonly tend to lapse into insulting other nations, into needless bragging and boasting, into daring or challenging other nations, or even into daring and challenging their country and its government – all of which actions tend to provoke avoidable conflicts, hostile governmental actions, and even wars. Our Yoruba youths must learn the truth that the use of rough and violent means does not usually confer success – and, indeed, that it is usually more likely to prevent success.
“Emulating the kind of peaceful processes employed by nationalist movements that have achieved various grades of success in our times –the Scots, Welsh, French Canadians, Czechs, Slovaks, Timor Leste, and others – our various Yoruba self-determination groups and organizations must operate peacefully. Altogether, we Yoruba must demonstrate our Yoruba nation’s civilization and maturity, while resolutely and irrepressibly pushing our way forward to the great goal of Yoruba strength, self-determination, self-fulfillment, and prosperity.”