By Tope Sunday, Bureau Chief, North Central.
Members of the Road Transporter Employers’ Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) Offa branch in Kwara State have appealed to the state Governor, Alhaji Abdulfattah Ahmed to wade into the crisis between them and their National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in the town in order to save them from hunger.
SECURITY MONITOR recalls that members of the two unions engaged one another in a free-for-all over who will convey the students of the Kwara State College of Health Technology, Offa, who were going on an internship tour to Ondo, Ekiti and other neighbouring states in 2015.
The clash reportedly claimed one life while scores were severely injured.
But members of RTEAN alleged that NURTW members in the community prevented them from operating with their union’s name with compulsion to register with NURTW.
RTEAN members, however, approached the National Industrial Court sitting in Lagos to seek redress.
On September 2, 2015, the Presiding Judge of the court, Justice F.I Kola-Olalere in the suit No: NICN/IB/57/2015, ruled: “I also make an order of interim injunction restraining the defendants, their servants, agents and or privies from further preventing members of the 1st Claimant/Applicant from loading their vehicles in Offa pending the determination of the motion on notice”.
The Secretary of RTEAN in Offa, Adeyemi Muyiwa, who spoke with our Correspondent in Ilorin on Wednesday, said for almost a year now his members have not been working.
He said the union withdrew its case from the National Industrial Court on February 18, 2016, following the intervention of the Olofa of Offa, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi.
Muyiwa alleged that with the intervention of the first monarch and Kwara State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Sam Okaula in the crisis, members of NURTW did not shift ground.
The secretary, who urged the state governor to assist his members by asking members of the NURTW to allow the statu qou to remain, called on him to save them from perpetual hunger.
IT’S DEATH SENTENCE— CDHR
The Chairman, Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, Kwara State chapter, Comrade Akin Abosayin, described the development as a death sentence passed on the RETEAN members in Offa town.
Abosanyin, who led RETEAN members to the premises of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Kwara State Council, Ilorin, alleged that members of NURTW planned to starve their RETEAN to death with their insistence to register with them, adding that is violation of their human rights of freedom of association.
He, however, called for the urgent intervention of the state government and relevant security agencies in the state to address the issue in order to prevent another looming crisis in the town.
COUNT US OUT— NURTW
But when contacted the Kwara State Chairman of the NURTW, Alhaji Issa Ore, denied the involvement of his union in the crisis.
Rather, he said, it was the Offa Community that requested and insisted to have NURTW as the only union through a communique reportedly signed by relevant stakeholders in the town.