NURTW/TOOAN crisis: LASG’s silence is not golden
Sir: The ongoing crisis between the Lagos State Parks and Garages Management led by Alhaji Musiliu Akinsanya a.k.a MC Oluomo and the Tricycle Owners and Operators Association of Nigeria (TOOAN), Lagos Council, led by Alhaji Abdul-Azeez Abiola a.k.a Istijabah is becoming unbearable with the loss of lives and valuable properties as well as many others that have been maimed or left injured resulting from the appointment of Alhaji Oluomo as the chairman of the State Parks and Garages Management.
The state government has failed in its duty to state the roles to be played by the park managers and the limitations to their exercise of power.
The Lagos State Government hurriedly chose Oluomo, a role that could be likened to that of an adult trying to mediate in a case of two children fighting over a soccer ball. In trying to ensure there is peace, the adult asked the children to go away while the adult keeps the ball only to call back one of the children to have the ball.
The crisis that has been ongoing for close to two weeks started with some members of the proscribed NURTW forcefully taking over parks and garages in Fagba, Agege and Ogba areas of Lagos, an act which was carried out with the use of guns, cutlasses and other dangerous weapons. Economic activities in the areas were brought to a standstill with several people injured.
This event did not get any attention from the state government knowing fully well that it resulted from the appointment of one of the major actors in the NURTW crisis.
Few days ago, the crisis moved to Ayobo Ipaja area with the loss of properties and economic activities paralyzed. The role played so far by security operatives has not been pleasant because one of the parties involved is believed to be getting their support.
In the early hours of Saturday, April 23, some boys reportedly attacked a petrol station owned by Alhaji Istijabah at AIT road in Alagbado. The filling station was attacked around 1 a.m. and tricycles were damaged with cash of over N17 million looted.
These boys have also gone to the extent of vandalising over 20 commercial vehicles belonging to Istijabah along Abeokuta express road, Abule Egba.
By turning deaf ears to these events in the last two weeks, the Lagos State Government has shown that the feuding party can’t be checked.
How did we get here? Alhaji Oluomo took a decision to exit an association that suspended him for alleged gross misconduct and insubordination; Lagos State appointed and installed him as chairman of the newly created Parks and Garages Management. Ever since then, members of the Tricycle Owners and Operators Association of Nigeria have been terrified. The time to act and stop this from generating a bigger crisis is now.
Usamah Ibrahim wrote from Lagos.