Lagos- Nigeria: Oshodi Touts, Back in Full Force

Lagos, Nigeria – You cannot brag about knowing Lagos state without going to Oshodi Local Government Area. Besides its famous array of markets in almost every corner, Oshodi is well known for the inhabitance of hoodlums or ‘Area Boys‘ as they are generically called.

Touts extorting from a local transporter

These touts make up the pseudo-government in Oshodi. They are the transporters’ tax collectors under the auspice of the National Union of Road Transport Workers association in the region. Furthermore, they are the most relevant law enforcers in the region as well as the most frequent lawbreakers in the region.

Before June 2007, walking through Oshodi at late hours tells how brave and desperate an individual was. With markets overstretching their boundaries, leaving one tight lane for both vehicles and pedestrians to move. Lack of both infrastructure, security and discipline has been a major factor affecting the sanity of Oshodi.

All the demerits were re-evaluated as soon as Former Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, was elected into office on May 29, 2007. Fashola came promisingly and worked diligently to the visibility of every concerned party. He was loved by most and hated by some for being disciplined, precise and revolutionary.

Former Governor Fashola who is now the Federal Minister of Works and Housing had an impressive two tenures as governor of Lagos. He created more jobs, boosted the state’s economy, built infrastructures and instilled discipline. Fashola is famous for the total renovation of Oshodi LG. Relocating beggars from the street, installing constant electricity to the dangerous Oshodi road and bridges, eradicating hoodlums, creating a modern market…. the list goes on.

Since completing his second term and handing over on May 29, 2015, Oshodi LG has began its development reversal. As the new governors fail to continue Fashola’s legacy for Lagos, touts are coming back in droves. From extortion, stealing to oppression, the touts are running points on the streets of Oshodi. From Igbeyinadun Street junction to Oyetayo Street by Bolade Junction, these touts pretend to control traffic.

Upon the new commissions and associations formed to curb these excesses in Lagos, the Oshodi commuters do not envision any hope for the sanity of the famous local government area.

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