There has been different calls in the media, especially the social media that the President elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu created and established ‘Agberos’ in Lagos.
These claim have created quite a lot of controversy, before, during and after the presidential elections.
But how true is this assertion?
Agberos have been on the street of Lagos since the 1950’s. Although they did not start as tax collectors, they were initially known as street urchins who hang around garages, and help drivers call passengers to their bus.
Later, politicians started using some of them as political thugs, and as such, their pedigree grew within the state.
The originator of Agbero was probably one Bushura , who at that time would sit at the corridor of a petrol station in Ebute Ero around Idumota in Lagos State where he collected the loading charges. The multiplicity of the group membership came from the recognition that the society at that time accorded to the job. For example, Bushura was made the Bashorun of Agege.
Non-Agberos such as Omo Pupa became the Oluwo and Apena-Ola of Mushin, Adedibu was a man of no mean repute in Ibadan and so on. . It is obvious from the aforementioned that, Agbero, Area Boys and other forms of negative social vices have been in existence before 1999. In fact, the period immediately preceding the Nigerian Civil war escalated the depth and quantum of the activities of these groups almost beyond tolerance limits.
It is therefore, prejudicial to the name of Bola Tinubu to conclude that he, who came to limelight almost half a century later is the promoter of originator of Agbero. It is also very important to note that Agbero being used synonymously with “Area-Boys” or “hoodlums” is indeed a misnomer. This is not to deny the fact that some of these men were and are still being used by politicians as thugs.
While not speaking for Bola Ahmed Tinubu, it must be mentioned that the first person who made attempt to organize the Agbero and Area Boys to one identifiable organization was the late Honorable Ademola Adeniji Adele who was the Chairman of the Lagos Island Local Government between 1999 and 2003.
Later, he was later supported by the Lagos State government led by Bola Tinubu to give a structure to the group so that proper monitoring and identification could be achieved. The government of the time embarked on serious re-organization of the group which afforded it the opportunity to bring them under its functional supervisory role and monitoring.
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Agberos have been in existence before Tinubu became governor, so he did not an hand in their birth or organisation.
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