THE MENACE OF AGBEROS IN LAGOS

Local car News #Update

Area boys more commonly referred to as agberos is a slang used to described the touts that parade the bus stops, bus parks and harass all commercial vehicle drivers (buses, keke napep and okada riders). We Nigerians understand who agberos are, but Lagosians especially are at the brunt of the menace of agberos as one in every 3 Lagosians has had a first hand experience of the activities of agberos. Agberos act as toll collectors both independently and for the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW). They collect tolls from bus drivers, okada riders, keke marwa drivers, roadside petty traders, wheelbarrow pushers, amongst others.

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Picture of an Agbero

These agberos work in a well organized system in resemblance to the Italian Mafia gang. As terrifying as they look, they’ll go by any means possible to ensure they get their tolls; from harrasment to vehicle vandalizing threatsto drivers and conductors who would eventually give them what they ask for unwillingly.

The menace of the agberos does not stop at the drivers and conductors alone, it is however extended to the passengers in the bus as well as okada and keke drivers hike the transport fares the passengers have to pay. This has been an issue for a long time and it is far from funny for those who have been at the brunt of their activities. People have complained and complained but the government has pretty much done nothing about the issue. The agberos are supported and enforced by the NURTW and even law enforcement agencies have been said to collect their own cuts from the agberos hence they cannot do anything about them.

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Agberos performing their duties.

 

They run a mafia style network as the agberos report to a unit chairman after each day’s work throughout the week. Targets are set for the agbero which they must meet, the unit chairman reports to the zonal chairman, who reports to the local chairman, who, in turn, reports to the state chairman, who is the direct link to the national chairman and along this chain, financial returns must be made on a daily basis. Each chairman have a shareof the daily returns and enjoy a large share of the tolls collected. Among the agberos, there is a huge possibility of the ones who have lasted over the years to grow into unit chairmen or baales and even higher in the ranks. At this point they make a ton of money and own properties, marry as many wives as they please and generally live large. However, this reality does not make anything better, it is only an endless cycle of poverty and illiteracy. As these agberos hope to attain that level a lot of them don’t last that long as they are caught in the web of alcoholism, drug addiction and violent deaths. Theirs is battle for the survival of the fittest. Among these agberos there are also rival gangs all fighting for supremacy.

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Lagos motor park, where their menace is kindled..

The existence of agberos is bad for the Nigerian economy as they frustrate the ones who strive to at least make a honest living; drivers and passengers. Likewise, these agberos are youths yet if they were properly empowered and educated, they would be of great value to the society.

The government is silent on issues concerning the agberos as they claim to have worked with them by creating appropriate bus stops where they can collect their tolls without disturbing movement on the road. Frankly, this is not the major issue with agberos, far from it, they terrorize the commercial vehicle drivers and even private vehicle drivers and some of them even resort to robbery in addition to extortion. They are crass, aggressive and always engage in violence, thereby endangering their lives and the lives of other people. There is sometimes a funny twist to the activities of the agberos but majority of the time they are definitely a menace and the corruption going on within the NURTW in the name of tolls collection should be stopped. Likewise, the agberos should be educated and given meaningful jobs so they are not stuck in that endless cycle.. I intended for this post to be funny but things ended up this way. I guess the issue of agberos is not a joke and should be taken seriously. These are my thoughts share yours…

 

 

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Agbero! Every transporter’s nightmare.

 

 

Photo Credit

 

Supporting Articles

https://guardian.ng/sunday-magazine/lagos-area-boys-how-long/

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