The Lagos State House of Assembly has ordered the local governments and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in the state to desist from extorting and harassing operators of courier and logistics services in the state.
This was contained in House of Assembly Motion No. 31 moved by Hon Ganiu Sanni Okanlawon (Kosofe 1).
This was discussed during the plenary on Monday.
The Assembly then resolved to call on the Lagos State Government to direct the Commissioner for Transportation and other relevant agencies to ensure that operators of courier services and logistics are not harrassed by the local governments.
“The House call on Local Governments and LCDAs to desist from harassing and extorting operators of courier and logistics services and restrain their traffic department from doing so.
“The Ministry of Information and Strategy should educate operators of Courier and Logistics Services and informed them about what is expected of them,” he said.
It was added that the state Commissioner of Police should ensure that all extortionists in the state are apprehended.
Okanlawon stated that the laws and restriction orders on the ban of motorcycles in some areas in the state exempted the movement of motorcycles of courier and logistics services.
The lawmaker said that the motion is concerned about the compliant of operators of courier and logistics services, adding that touts and local government staffers disturb the activities of courier and logistics services.
Speaker of the House, Rt Hon Mudashiru Obasa, said in his submission that it was disappointing that Lagos State came third behind two northern states on ease of doing business, and that something must be done on this urgently.
The Speaker emphasised that it is common for local governments to harass and extort people on a daily basis.
“The power of the local governments is limited to bicycle and some others in that category. They should not be disturbing a business that is reducing unemployment in the state. The services of courier services reduce congestion and poverty in the state.
“Local governments have nothing to do with the registration of motorcycles and tricycles. Operators of courier and logistics services should not be made to pay in all the local governments considering what they charge for their services,” he said.
Obasa stressed that local governments should be informed about their limitations on the collection of fees.
Commenting, Hon Bisi Yusuf said that the motion was timely and that the use of task force to deal with operators of courier services was an embarrassment to the state government.
He said that some operators took some local governments to the court on the issue in the past and won.
Leader of the House, Hon Sanai Agunbiade said that courier and logistics services help people in different areas to interact with their customers.
Agunbiade added that it is a way of boosting the economy of the state and empowerment the people through employment.
“The motion did not say they should not be regulated. A courier service should not pay from one local government to the other or else it would defeat the purpose of their business.
“The revenue should be centralised among the local governments. The House once passed a law to regulate the collection of fees by local governments. The law stated that whoever is collecting levies for the local governments must be identified,” he said.
Hon Lukman Olumoh (Ajeromi/Ifelodun 1) said that some of the local government’s officials issue out fake documents and that consultants should be employed for such activities.
Hon Fatai Mojeed (Ibeju Lekki 1) stated that some of the riders of the bikes are graduates who have no jobs, and that there have been many cries on the harassment of courier and logistics operators by local government officials.
Hon. Abiodun Tobun (Epe 1) said in his comments that the emergence of courier services led to the creation of jobs, but that some of the courier services organisations do not live up to expectations.
“Some local governments use consultants and we cannot stop them because of their excesses. We must not throw the local governments out totally as they have a role to play as an arm of government,” he said.
Also speaking, Hon. Lanre Afinni (Lagos Island 2) said that the collection of revenue for the local governments could be centralised and shared among them, adding that multiple taxation affect the profit of courier services companies.
Hon. Olayiwola Olawale (Mushin 2) said that the motion was okay as Lagos State is the commercial hub of Nigeria, but that the consultants of the local governments, the staff and party faithful benefit from it.
In his view, Hon. Moshood Oshun (Lagos Mainland 2) said that most of the local governments and LCDAs have traffic sections and that they charge a lot of money as fines while stating that the traffic sections should be looked into as they go into the extreme to arrest and harass people.
Hon. Jude Idimogu (Oshodi/Isolo 2), who said he had personally experienced the harassment of the touts, said the courier services are providing jobs for people after the issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also supporting the motion, Hon Setonji David (Badagry 2) said that courier operators play major roles in the state but that the local governments do not see it from this angle.
“Most of the receipts issued by the local governments are fake. We must ensure that the local governments limit themselves to what they ought to do.
“We have to find a way to stop the local governments from bothering the courier services since they are recognised by law. They also help transportation in the state as they help in distributing items,” he said.
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