The fragile peace within Oyo State was again, ruptured yesterday as members of Road Transport Employers of Nigeria and National Union of Road Transport Workers engaged in a bloody clash over daily fees charged by the drivers’ union.
Monatan, Oremeji, Olomi, Agugu, Apata, Iwo road and other places were deserted during the melee that lasted 45 minutes. According to sources, dangerous weapons were used by the two warring sides.
At Monatan, several gunshots were fired and this forced traders in the ever busy market to flee for safety. The source said, “I was at the market when fight broke out. We thought it was between two motor park workers but within five minutes, it spread and dangerous weapons were used in the fight. Where we hid, we heard several gun shots.” Before normalcy returned to the troubled areas, many people had sustained serious injuries on both sides.
Vanguard gathered that trouble started when some young taxi cab drivers who enjoy the patronage of politicians refused to pay to members of NURTW alleging that they were being extorted by the union. The car owners who are with RTEAN reportedly demanded that the fees should be shared between the two associations which did not go down well with the NURTW.
Many people were injured during the fracas. One Muftau Aleshinloye from RTEAN said: “I am a taxi driver but NURTW people collect money from me every day at the parks and on the road. They threatened 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.” In his own account, Secretary of the NURTW in the state, 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 police had severally warned that he would not allow trouble makers in the state. We have reported to the police and arrests had been made in areas where fight was recorded. Confirming the incident, the State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Adekunle Ajisebutu said the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Leye Oyebade have deployed policemen to the areas. Ajisebutu also confirmed that many arrests have been made and that normalcy had returned to those areas.