Backdropped against the decision by the Lagos State government to institute a joint security task force, it has become apparent that some selfish personnel are taking advantage of their new status to extort the people.
As trailers and tankers jostle for space to inch towards the ports or tank farms, a syndicate operating within the “chaotic axis” is busy extorting money from the drivers to pay their way through the logjam.
Investigations carried out by Shipping World reveal that drivers pay as much as #50,000 to #100,000 to be allowed to shunt the queue and head straight under escort into the port for business. This often takes place at night when Lagos is asleep.
It is not clear if this syndicate has the backing of the authorities in Alausa but there are concerns that the unsavoury traffic situation has turned out to favour some security officials.
About five days ago, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode directed the Joint Security Taskforce comprising the Police, security officials, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority and the Federal Roads Safety Corps to ensure free flow of traffic and take back the city from the gridlock. So far, nothing seems to have been done as at the time of this write up as the traffic burden moves from snail-speed to total lockdown.
Over the years, several taskforces have been set up by government to combat the road menace but they only ended up feasting on the people. It has become clear that these taskforce members are lining their pockets in readiness for Christmas.
For instance, apart from the truck and tanker drivers who are extorted, those who spread their wares on the walkways on Wharf and Burma roads and the adjoining streets pay substantial sums to enable them remain in business. These monies are often paid to the Lagos State Task Force on Environment and Special Offenses.
The use of task forces have become a Nigerian passion by successive governments in the country, a throwback to the many years of military rule in the country.