Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Did you legalize 'agberos' by your consent?

For a while, i have noticed the menace called 'agberos'. I see them at every turn when i have the opportunity to board buses and okadas. And yes, i do both.

This particular day i boarded a bus from ajah to obalende because  i purposed to observe the damage this illegal sect cause. I made sure i waited for a bus where i could sit in the front seat with the driver to observe their actions first hand.

First an agbero in his thick weed smoked voice cries 'owo e da' (where is your money). He haggles to collect 200 naira for 'security' from this bus driver. He is shortly followed by another agbero selling his ticket of 100 naira for 'loading' and another 100 naira for 'parking'.

I was so upset by this that i shouted at the agbero and asked on whose authority he was acting. He just gave me a dirty look and stated that he had to 'deliver' his quota and continued to do as he pleased. The driver thereafter warned me to shut up and not give them cause to deal with me.

I stared in shock at the audacity of the man.

But i couldn't blame him because a bunch of boys/men who can run (and whose skills should be used in the track & field) are used by unscrupulous elements to obtain money illegally from hardworking men such as the bus driver, bus conductors and okada riders. It is the way we have been subjected to. It is the way we seem to have accepted.

Back to my story, by the time we left ajah, the bus driver had paid about 600 naira in illegal taxes to agberos. But my darling bloggers, this was not the end.

By the time we got to Bonny Camp round about, the bus driver stopped to buy another ticket of N100 naira for crossing that zone. At this time, my heart sunk!!!

And upon inquiry , i discovered that this taxes he paid was for the morning shift. In other words, if he decided to work in the afternoon and evening, the same type of taxes awaited him.

Now, shall we do a little maths? The bus to obalende carries 4 people on 3 rows at 200 naira each plus one in front. This totals N2,600 naira. He pays about a 1000 to agberos in illegal taxes, he needs to buy fuel. What exactly is left to feed his family and children?

This opened my eyes to why bus drivers are always in a hurry on the road because they have to make a lot of money in the window of the tax they have paid.

Many people i know and grew up with hardly board a bus. But let everyone know that we have legalized this illegal sect by our conduct. We are not asking questions, we are not fighting the wrong meted on us by local governments and this state government.

And this post hasn't answered any questions i have, it has just left me wondering if you legalized agberos?

Definition of agbero
A man (usually young) who chases after public buses and okadas to collect 'illegal' taxes and remits them to unknown elements.

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