Members of the National Road Transport Workers, (NURTW) Ondo state chapter are threatening to showdown with the state government over the suspension of the union in the state and inauguration of Park Management Committee to oversee the affairs of the NURTW in the state.
The leadership of the NURTW expressed thier grievance, said that the union had selected Monday, April 3, 2023, for a peaceful protest and called on the state Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu for intervention in order to avoid clash between the NURTW and the park managers.
The drivers’ union said the peaceful protest became necessary following alleged threat to life, assault, harassment, intimidation and suspension of its members from parks in the state, saying the state office of the union had been closed down by the state government.
The Union in a letter to the state governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, tagged notification of peaceful protest and written by the Active Success and Empowerment Initiative to Fight for Human Rights in the Society, (ASEI )signed by Director of Legal Service, Mr Femi Ariyo, on behalf of the union, condemned the attacks being carried out by members of the Park Management Committee in the state against drivers in the state.
According to Ariyo, “investigation from the Caretaker Committee of the NURTW union revealed that, the Ondo state government disallowed the union from electing legitimate executives to pilot the affairs of the union in the state since October 17, 2022, due to personal interest.
“Park management Committee has been inaugurated by Ondo state government to oversee the affairs of NURTW in the state, the act that run contrary to the constitution of the union”
He said despite the inauguration of the Caretaker Committee of NURTW, led by Oluwatoyin Olaoye as the Chairman, members of the union are not allowed to carry out their business as drivers and were assaulted, harassed and threatened by the park managers.
He disclosed that the NURTW Caretaker Committee put in place by the national body had been disallowed to operate at the secretariat located at Ado Ekiti road, in Akure.
He said “the NURTW being a registered union under the Federal Government of Nigeria has not been allowed by Ondo State Government to pilot its affairs independently.
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“The action of the state government on the issue of NURTW in the state needs urgent attention. Not that alone, the lives of the authentic inaugurated Committee of the union and their loyalist needed protection since they are law abiding citizens of Nigeria”
But the Special Adviser to Ondo state governor on Transport, Mr. Tobi Ogunleye, said the park managers were put in place as part of the state government’s promise to ensure that events in the NURTW were not allowed to threaten law, order and peace in the state.
He said this necessitated the inauguration of the Parks Management Committee to oversee the affairs of all motor parks and garages in the state, by ensuring that no vacuum, which could disrupt the peace of the state, was allowed to exist in the parks.
Ogunleye said the decision was taken in the best interest of the people of the state when the activities of the union are affecting the peace of the state.
He said “every park belong to government and it is the responsibility of the government to manage these park and we have the power to determine who to manage these park.
“There is no need to drag us into their murky water but I want to tell you that the NURTW has not been proscribed in the state.
“They have the freedom to operate and we never tampered with their rights. If anyone seals their office, they have the right to approach the court, the state government have no hands in the closure of their offices”.