Enugu tricycle operators begin work after litigation
After two years of litigation, the Tricycle Owners Association of Nigeria (TOAN), an affiliate of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Enugu chapter, yesterday, announced that its members will soon resume full operations in the state.
This followed the National Industrial Court (NIC), Enugu Division, judgment which ordered the state government, police, Department of State Service (DSS) and other agencies to stop harassing and obstructing the operations of TOAN, being a duly registered trade union.
As part of preparation for smooth operations, the association has written the DSS and police, to inform them of their plans to resume work, which was suspended since 2017 following leadership crisis between it and the Association of Tricycle Riders Union (ATRTU).
The Enugu State Ministry of Transport had supported ATRTU, but following the NIC judgment of Wednesday, December 9, 2020, delivered by Justice O. O. Arowosegbe, TOAN would now operate without molestation and interference.
Briefing journalists in Enugu, Chairman of TOAN, Kingsley Edeh and Secretary, Mesachi Udeh, said with the court victory, they were ready to commence operations.
In a suit marked: NICN/EN/22/2019, filed by TOAN, the union prayed the court to clarify on the their judicial scope, for which the court ruled in its favour and displaced the Benjamin Ikah-led ATRTU.
Edeh said TOAN, being a registered and recognised trade union, had approached the industrial court to avoid crisis in Enugu State as stipulated in the Trade Union Act.
“In line with the court judgment, the union has concluded arrangement to commence full operations from January 1, 2021.
“Considering the incessant harassment and intimidation we have experienced in the field perpetuated by members of ATRTU, we request protection of security agents to avoid being denied our rights again,” they said.
Edeh stressed that TOAN was using the opportunity to inform the Enugu State Government that they were a legitimate and registered trade union, which was ready to cooperate and work with the state government for smooth operation.
He disclosed that the court granted the union N10.2m damages, which should be paid within 30 days of the judgment or it would attract a 10 per cent interest rate per annum.
In the judgment, the trial judge ruled that the recognition of the eight to 10th defendants, who were not members of a registered trade union acting through the second defendant to operate and regulate tricycle operators and unions in Enugu State, was illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional and ultra vires.
TOAN had sued the Enugu State government, the state Attorney General, the police, Ikah and his Secretary, Pius Ezeugwu, among others over the matter.
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