Transport workers clash over daily levies
‘ It is a family affair,’ NURTW secretary says
Members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) yesterday went berserk as no fewer than 12 persons sustained various degrees of injuries and many motorcycles destroyed during a fierce clash between them and commercial motorcyclists in Igando, on the outskirts of Lagos.
Trouble was said to have started after the NURTW increased the prices of ticket for Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) including commercial motorcycles.
From a daily levy of about N400, it was gathered that the parent body increased the fee for motorcyclists to over N1,000.
It was learnt that motorcyclists at Alimosho usually paid N50 tax security and ticket N200 daily until the introduction of the new rates, which indicated that they had to pay N500 to the national NURTW and N200 booking ticket to operate within the area.
Angered by the increase, the motorcyclists’ union told their members to resist any attempt by NURTW officials to pay the levies, which did not go down well with the latter.
However, the NURTW denied that the hike was over N1,000, insisting that the daily fee for motorcyclists at Alimosho was N600.
According to the union’s Secretary, Tijani Pekis, booking ticket was introduced in order to curb cases of illegal taxation motorcyclists were subjected to.
He said: “This is a case between a father and his son, which an adopted father wanted to hijack. It is a misunderstanding between the rank and file of the union and so we are meeting to resolve it.
“What actually happened was that some of our workers used the restriction of motorcycles to certain routes in the state to extort motorcyclists.
“They keep collecting money from them and these riders end up paying so much daily.
“In Alimosho alone, there are over 30 units and imagine how much they spend, paying N50 tax security to each one daily.
“At the end of the day, their interest is not protected and these money go into private pockets. So, in order to correct that situation, we introduced booking tickets of N200 per day. With this ticket, a commercial motorcyclist can ply from Igando to Egbeda and Ikotun, but cannot go to places such as Surulere because of the restriction.
“At Igando, they protested and we reduced the amount to N100 per day, and then, the N500 daily paid to national, totaling N600. Still they refused to pay. That was what caused the fight, but it’s being resolved because we are members of the same family.”
Contacted, the command’s spokesperson, Dolapo Badmos, a Superintendent of Police (SP) said her boss, Fatai Owoseni, has directed that all those involved in the fracas be arrested and prosecuted.