Lagos govt suspends transport unionism in Oshodi

The ban is believed to be a reaction to the recent death of NURTW chieftain and politician, Hamburger.

L-R: Chairman of NURTW, Lagos State Chapter, Alhaji Tajudeen Agbede; Deputy Commissioner of Police, Operations, Lagos, Mr. Imohimi Edgal; Acting Commissioner for Transportation, Prince Olanrewaju Elegushi and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information & Strategy, Mr. Folarin Adeyemi during a press briefing on the suspension of the activities of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in Oshodi by the Lagos State Government at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, the Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja, on Monday.

The ban is believed to be a reaction to the recent murder of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) chieftain, Aro Rasaq Bello, popularly called Hamburger.

The suspension was disclosed by the Lagos State Commissioner for Transport, Mr. Anofiu Elegushi, at a press briefing on Monday.

He said there will be no issuance of tickets or collection of money from commercial vehicles operating in the area.

The decision will affect all the seven branches of the union operating in the area, and is expected to be met with some resistance from union members who make a living out of charging commercial operators.

While addressing the press briefing, Elegushi 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."

He continued, "It is important to also emphasis that all rumour 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"

To enforce the suspension, a team of state officials and security personnel would be mandated to monitor transport operations within the affected branches until peace returns to the area.

Bello, the NURTW's Lagos State Treasurer of Tricycle Operators,was murdered by suspected rival gang members in the Shogunle area of Oshodi when violence broke out at the venue of the election primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Monday, May 29, 2017.

His death led to violent clashes in the area as cars were burnt by his supporters.

Area Boys in the area took to the street to claim that executives of the association of the association were trying to have them killed.

The group's spokesperson, Adedigba Adepegba a.k.a Taloskibo, had called on Governor AkinwunmiAmbode and APC National Leader, Bola Tinubu to arrest the situation before it escalated.

Three factional leaders have been arrested over the crisis.

Responding to the suspension, the NURTW's Lagos State Chairman, Alhaji Tajudeen Agbede said his branch fully supported the decision, as the union was involved in the process through consultation.

"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.

"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 government in its bid to ensure lasting peace.

"Going forward, we have been educating our members on the need to eschew violence and we still want to reiterate it that anyone caught perpetrating violence would be dealt with in accordance with the law."

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