NURTW factions’ clashes cause tension in Lagos communities

Some members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers in the Ijora-Badia area of Apapa-Iganmu Local Council Development Area of Lagos State, on Tuesday, created pandemonium while protesting the choice of Musiliu Akinsanya, aka MC Oluomo, as the chairman of the union in the state.

PUNCH Metro had reported that some members of the NURTW, while protesting at the state House of Assembly last week, condemned Akinsanya’s emergence, alleging that he and his supporters were working against the constitution of the union.

The protesters had also appealed to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the All Progressive Congress National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to intervene in the matter to forestall an impending crisis.

PUNCH Metro gathered that leaders of the NURTW in the Ijora-Badia area, including Asumo Ogbanna and Afolabi Oyetakin, mobilised members of their units to oppose Akinsanya’s supporters in the area.

An eyewitness, who identified himself simply as Paul, said Tuesday’s demonstation organised by Ogbanna and Oyetakin, was to signal their control of the area as they believed that Akinsanya’s administration would not favour them.

He said, “These men disturbing the peace of the area belong to the Tajudeen Agbede’s faction of the NURTW, and they already know that they won’t be favoured by Akinsanya as the chairman of the union. So, Ogbana and Oyetakin are the ones leading the people against those who in Akinsanya wanted to use as head  of their units.

“So, this morning (Tuesday), on my way to work, I saw them demonstrating and chanting that nobody could take their units from them and if anybody tried it, the person would be murdered. Nobody could move close to them, because they were armed and their activities created tension in the area.”

Another resident, who identified himself simply as Ishola, said the NURTW members marched through the streets with weapons, and sent shivers down the spines of residents and business owners in the area.

Ishola stated, “The NURTW members, who rejected Akinsanya’s men, were demonstrating with weapons such as guns, cutlasses, daggers and bottles, all in a bid to scare away their opponents under the leadership of Akinsanya. They created panic to the extent that business owners had to close early and residents stayed behind closed doors out of fear.

“Whenever there is a clash between these factions of the NURTW, people usually die. On December 4, 2018, during one of their clashes, stray bullets killed one Azeez Lawal and one Umar on Giwa/Suara Street. Hoodlums usually use that opportunity to rob people of their valuables. We want the police to intervene so that our area can be at peace.”

Similarly, there was tension in the Cele area of Okota on Monday when factional members of the NURTW in the area engaged in a clash while rejecting the third term bid of the chairman of the union in the area.

An eyewitness said the clash left commuters stranded as they ran for safety, adding that hoodlums took advantage of the situation to rob unsuspecting members of the public of their valuables.

He said, “I was on my way from work when I saw some NURTW members around Cele area of Okota fighting and using the opportunity to rob people and looting shops in the area. Several people were injured, I saw a man, whose head was broken and people rushed him to hospital.

“The fracas left so many commuters stranded in the area. For my safety, I had to stay at my friend’s place.

“The current NURTW chairman in Cele was said to have spent two terms and wanted to go for a third term, which did not gone down well with his members.”

When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, said police personnel had been mobilised to restore normalcy in the affected areas.

“We have deployed personnel in the areas and we are patrolling the affected areas to arrest any person or group of persons who may want to cause a breach of the peace in the state so that they can be dealt with decisively in accordance with the law. We are very much prepared for them,” Elkana stated.

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