The ongoing strike by commercial drivers in Lagos State continues in its day four as the leadership of the Joint Drivers Welfare Association of Nigeria, JDWAN, has failed to reach an agreement with the state government to end the action.
The drivers have boycotted services across the state over alleged extortion of their members by the management of parks and garages in the state, as well as those attached to the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, and Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, RTEAN.
Meanwhile, The Lagos State Government subsequently weighed the matter, which left many Lagos residents stranded on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
A meeting on Wednesday between the government and JDWAN leadership on ending the strike action ended in a deadlock, the National Leader of the association, Akintade S. Abiodun said in a statement.
Abiodun said vehicles of members that were vandalised by motor park thugs were yet to be repaired while two drivers were still being detained at Morogbo police station without committing any crime.
The statement read, “We have just met the Lagos State government Ministry of Transportation, represented by Mr Toriola; the Permanent Secretary.
“We were told that representatives of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, and the Road Transport Employers Association, RTEAN, also came but left before our arrival.
“We made our presentations of the situations that caused the strike and the demands of all that we want. The government team feigned sympathy with us. They however said they want us to have both representatives of the NURTW and RTEAN to also be at the negotiations so they present their own side of the story. So, the meeting was adjourned to Friday by 12 noon at the Alausa secretariat.
“We thank all the drivers for our steadfastness, loyalty, and dedication to this struggle for our freedom. We want them to be patient and keep on with the strike until the Friday meeting. By Friday, the strike would be five working days, and we are happy that we have been justified largely thus far. We want Lagosians who are our customers and commuters to bear with us as we all face the consequences of extortion. But we cannot be working like machines and few people would be eating like gluttons. How monkey dey work, and na baboons dey chop (Monkeys are doing the work while baboons are getting the rewards for the labour)? This must not continue.
“Our vehicles that were vandalised by the motor park thugs are yet to be repaired and two of our members are still locked up at Morogbo police station (Area K command, Badagry) without committing any crime. The officers in charge are mandating us to beg the Agberos (motor park touts) before they can be released, we demand the unconditional release of our members immediately.
“We also want to say that we are amazed that representatives suddenly emerged from NURTW and RTEAN that have been banned in Lagos state. While JDWAN is not affiliated with both and our members are not official members of both unions, we call on the National Leadership of NURTW and RTEAN to publicly clarify our doubts.
“Finally, we thank members of the press and call for more solidarity from trade unions and civil society. The strike continues, and victory is very certain!”