Several clashes between members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) in Ibadan yesterday left many injured.
Using dangerous weapons, they clashed at various motor parks across the city at different times leading to casualties in both sides.
The clashes created panics at major motor parks, particularly, at the Iwo Road interchange while they lasted. Other areas where violence was unleashed include Monatan, Oremeji, Agugu, Olomi and Apata. Gunshot rented the air in some parks, making residents and commuters scamper for safety.
The Nation learnt that the fight was a test of supremacy between the two associations.
A member of RTEAN, Muftau Aleshinloye, said the association was putting a stop to extortion by NURTW members whom he accused of collecting dues from RTEAN members. “That is extortion. And we won’t allow that to continue.
“RTEAN has existed for many years before politicians backed NURTW to dominate other transport workers. RTEAN is a registered body that has its own autonomy. We are not inferior to NURTW which uses force to extort money from us.
“I am a taxi driver but NURTW people collect money from me every day at the parks and on the roads. They threaten us with weapons but this has to stop. I am aware that RTEAN proposed that NURTW should only collect park fee from its members and allow RTEAN members to pay to RTEAN executives but it was rejected by NURTW executives who feed fat on us. That was what led to today’s fight.” Aleshinloye said.
But the NURTW debunked his claim, saying RTEAN should be blamed for attacking NURTW members in some motor parks.
The State Secretary of the union, Akin James, said: “I am yet to understand the motive behind the attacks. Many of our members were injured and taken to hospitals. For a while, RTEAN has been advocating taking over some motor parks and the Commissioner of Police, Leye Oyebade, had severally warned that he would not allow trouble makers in the state. We have reported to the police and arrests have been made in areas where fight was recorded.
While confirming the incident, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Adekunle Ajisebutu, said the police command had invited leaders of the two Union for a meeting with a view to finding a permanent solution to the crisis. He added that some arrests have been made but did not give the number of suspects arrested.