OVERVIEW OF: Osun: Extortion by touts in Oshogbo escalates, motorists seek government intervention
Motorists and passersby have begun to lament the unchecked activities of touts and hoodlums, also called ‘area boys’ in Osogbo.
The major complaint is that the young men now constitute themselves into independent authorities to harass and extort citizens going about their lawful business.
Commercial Motorcyclists who are mostly affected by the activities of the touts say they are now forced to pay touts and the government as well.
In a chat with Our Source, a former chairman of the commercial motorcycle union in Osogbo, Mustapha Akande said the only authority his members recognise when paying their levies and taxes is the local and state governments.
He explained that there is a system through which the taxes and levies are collected for the government.
He said the commercial motorcyclists themselves have a body assigned the responsibility of collecting such monies and they, in turn, remit it to the local and state government depending.
He noted as sad the situation where motorists and passersby are forced to pay hoodlums before they can go through some areas in Osogbo.
He, however, called on the state government to prevail on security agencies to come to the aid of residents as the situation is almost getting out of hand.
Some motorists who bared their minds also said that since routes have been demarcated pending the completion of construction of the Olaiya flyover, it has become easy for the touts to deploy themselves along these routes and collect illegal levies.
They also confirmed to Our Source that, identifying them as members of the authentic union was impossible because they operated without proper uniforms and identification.
They also added that violence and swear words was a stock in trade they use in harassing motorists and commercial motorcyclists before collecting such fees from them.
One of the areas worst hit by this illegality they revealed is Oke-Baale and Atelewo.
They complained that they had reported the issue to the security agencies but regret that the extortion has increased and the touts now bolder in the illegality.
Our Source had earlier reported the activities of the hoodlums who arm-twist and harass their victims before extorting from them their hard-earned money.