Automobile workers petition LASG over illegal takeover of mechanic villages
Automobile workers under the aegis of Nigeria Automobile Technicians Association (NATA), Lagos State chapter, have petitioned the Lagos State Government (LASG) over the alleged illegal takeover of mechanic villages across the state.
The group, in the petition obtained by The Guardian, raised the alarm that the mechanic clusters duly allotted to them by the Lagos State Government under the Lateef Jakande administration are currently being taken over by various agents of the state government.
In the petition, they demanded the return of all mechanic villages duly allotted to mechanics.
They called for the immediate removal of Toyin Fayinka, whose activities, they alleged as the Special Adviser to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Transportation bordered on impunity.
The group demanded the construction of more mechanic work clusters across the state to take care of the needs of Lagosians for the services of skilled technicians and as means of employment for newly trained mechanics and auto technicians.
The workers had last week protested against the illegal takeover of their workshops, otherwise known as mechanic villages by the state government.
The technicians, who marched to the state’s secretariat, shut down the Lagos State House of Assembly, chanting solidarity songs and carried placards with inscriptions, “Lagos State Government stop killing us”, “Stop illegal demolition of mechanic villages in Lagos now!”, “Destroying people’s livelihoods contribute to crime and insecurity, stop it”, “Ifelagba mechanic village was sold for N300 million, where is the money?”
Led by the Chairman of NATA, Jacob Fayehun, the group said the sector lost over N500 million due to the loss of their sources of income.
This, Fayehun said, had affected all their members, stating that the association in the last six months had lost eight members due to different ailments caused by the demolition.
Fayehun lamented that the technicians despite their support for the present government during the election had been maligned and maltreated, noting that they slept in their workshops to cast their votes.
He said the association decided to visit the governor and the lawmakers as the present government has taken over all their mechanic villages, which have resulted in the untimely death of many members.
Fayehun lamented that over 11 of the mechanic villages, cutting across Surulere, Abule Odofin, Ifelagba, Ikorodu, Ladipo and others, have been taken over by the government without due consideration to the well-being of the workers.
He said: “We are here to protest the illegal demolition of our mechanic villages given to us in 1981 by our late governor, Lateef Jakande.
“The time it was given to us, most of those areas were swampy, but we developed, maintained and made them habitable for our work. Now, the Ministry of Physical Planning through Hon. Toyin Fayinka, S.A to the governor on Transport has taken over, demolishing our workshops and selling the places to highest bidders.”
“Lagos State is killing us. Coronavirus is not killing us, none of our members died due to Coronavirus, but Lagos State. Some of our members have died, some have suffered strokes and some are in the hospitals.
“All these are because of shock. When our villages were destroyed they took vehicles of our customers away and we were forced to pay N100,000 on each of the vehicles before they were released, you can understand our predicaments.”
However, speaking with some members of the State Assembly, Nurudeen Solaja-Saka, Jude Idimogu and Victor Olusegun Akande, who came to address the technicians, the NATA chairman said the technicians’ request is for the state to return all their mechanic villages to them.
“We want our mechanic villages back. This is just the beginning, next week we are coming out again until there is a solution to our problem. We are fighting this battle for the future generation, so that all our youths, our children in technical schools can have a place to work,” he stated.
The lawmakers, who advised the technicians to submit their letter of protest with all their demands, assured them that it would be read, deliberated upon and appropriate action is taken.
“Justice shall be done to your petition. The House is well represented and we are here as your representatives,” the lawmakers assured.