Chris Steven, Abuja
The Lagos State Government has suspended the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW in Oshodi, following the recent violence in the area.
The suspension, state government said, was in reaction to the violence during which a leader of the Motorcycle Operators’ Association of Lagos State,MOALS in Oshodi, Rasaq Bello, who was popularly known as Hamburger, was killed.
By this suspension, all the seven NURTW branches in the area were affected.
Speaking at a press briefing in Lagos, the state’s Acting Commissioner for Transportation, Prince Olanrewaju Elegushi, who announced the suspension said throughout the duration of the suspension order, a team of state government officials and security personnel will be mandated to oversee and monitor the transport operations within the affected branches to ensure that the unions do not collect ticket or fees from commuter buses operating in the area.
He said, “For the avoidance of doubt, police investigations are ongoing on the said death and all persons found culpable will be prosecuted in line with the dictates of the laws.
“It is important to also emphasize that all rumor mongering, insinuations and unfounded/unverified facts should be avoided in the sake of peaceful co-existence.
“Any escalation of the crisis arising from the ban will lead to Government taking sterner actions against the branches where violence is recorded.”
Chairman of NURTW, Lagos State Chapter, Tajudeen Agbede; Deputy Commissioner of Police, Operations, Lagos, Mr Imohimi Edgal; Acting Commissioner for Transportation, Olanrewaju Elegushi and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Strategy, Folarin Adeyemi during the press briefing
The commissioner added that the state government had taken steps to check conflicts between transport unions in the state.
For instance, he said the state government has already put in place the Bus Reform Initiative (BRI) through which 5,000 air-conditioned and convenient buses would be injected into the transport sector, adding that the initiative would soon be launched.
Also, Deputy Commissioner of Police in Charge of Operations in the State, Mr Imohimi Edgal, said some arrests have been made following the crisis and that investigation had started in respect of the violence.
The Chairman of NURTW in Lagos State, Tajudeen Agbede, said the union was consulted by the government before it took the decision.
“I like to confirm that the decision of the State Government to suspend union activities in Oshodi was supported by us. We also want a lasting peace in Oshodi and we know that with this decision, people can go about their duties without let or hindrance,” Agbede said.
“I am sure if the union had handled the issue of Oshodi, we would have arrived at the same decision to suspend activities for now and I want to urge our members to cooperate with the government in its bid to ensure lasting peace.”