Money For The Boys: How 'Agberos' Pocket Billions Of Lagos Transport Revenue

source: icirnigeria
22

IN Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, agberos fleece the state of billions of naira in transport taxes collected from drivers of commercial buses, tricycles and motorcycles. There are 75,000 commercial buses (danfos) in Lagos, according to the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) estimates. Each commercial vehicle driver pays at least N3,000 to agberos, also known as ticket touts, every day, according to oral testimonies obtained by this reporter 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 Marwas) in Lagos, according to a 2020 report by Techcabal – Never mind the Lagos State government’s recent ban, which is just a mere pronouncement. The reporter had earlier done a story on how local government officials steal government taxes/levies. Read Also: Inside Lagos local government councils where officials divert taxes to personal bank accounts Deaths, thorny debts: Inside Nigeria’s largest pig farm where farmers lost billions to African swine fever More than 60 tricycle drivers in 21 LCDAs in the commercial city told this reporter that they paid at least N1,800 to agberos each day. This is just a conservative estimate. 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. The average collection, however, is higher in Mushin (N2,500 – N3300), Isolo (N1,900-N2,200), Oshodi (N1800-N2,300), Coker/Aguda (N2200-N3,000) Itire/ Ikate (N2,200 -N3,200), Iru-Victoria(N2,300-N3,200), Ikeja (N2200- N2500), and Onigbongbo (N2200-N3,000) LCDAs, among others, the investigation showed. But Danfos and Keke Marwas are not the only means of land transportation in Lagos. Never mind the Lagos State government’s pretense on motorcycle (Okada) ban, members of the Motorcycle Operators’ Association of Lagos State (MOALS) told this reporter that there were no fewer than 1000 motorcycles in each LCDA in the state. During interviews with motorcycle riders in Lagos that spanned two months, the reporter was told that each motorcyclist must hand out N400 and N800 each day to agberos. Based on interviews with tricycle riders in 21 LCDAs in Lagos, this reporter arrived at an average spend of N600 per day. Commercial motorcyclists or Okadas ply all the roads in the state except areas where there are some restrictions such as some parts of Eti Osa East LCDA and Ikoyi area of Ikoyi/Obalende LCDA. To avoid duplication, the reporter only considered 37 LCDAs in Lagos. For clarity, there are 37 LCDAs and 20 local government areas in Lagos. The LCDAs are part of the larger local government areas. For instance, Isolo is an LCDA under Oshodi Local Government Area. Going by the figure provided by MOALS members to the reporter, 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.

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