Armed ViolenceNews

Southwest Nigerian Governor Suspends Road Workers’ Union After Violent Clash

Ondo State Governor, Southwest Nigeria, has been forced to collapse transport union activities in the state, following violence occasioned by them in the state.

Rotimi Akeredolu, Governor of Ondo State, Southwest Nigeria, on Wednesday, suspended all activities of a road workers’ union across the state, following a violent clash between factions of the union.

HumAngle reported that the fracas that happened between factions of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) on Tuesday, March 9, left one person dead and three injured in Akure, the state capital.

Warring members went after one another  with machetes and other weapons  at the Oja Oba area of the state capital. Vehicles were also vandalised in the clash, while traders, and commuters scampered for safety.

The Tuesday clash followed barely 48 hours after the road workers had fought in the Owode area of Akure, halting business activities, causing traffic congestion and injuring many people.

In reaction to the unrest, the government on Wednesday, ordered the immediate vacation of NURTW members from all motor parks across the state, according to a statement by Doyin Odebowale, Senior Special Assistant to Governor Akeredolu on Special Duties and Strategy.

Odebowale explained that the decision was to foster peace by allowing the factions to meet and settle their differences.

History of violence

The NURTW has often come under spotlight for violence due to its amorphous structure in the Southwest region.

The union generates money on the street from extorting bus drivers, commercial motorcycle drivers, and tricycle drivers in the state, with its membership drawn from people who are not drivers, but rather motor park attendants.

The generated money is usually disbursed into union leaders’ pockets. This has often led to a supremacy war between members and commercial drivers, with record violent clashes leading to deaths in the state.

In Oyo State, another Southwestern State, Seyi Makinde, the governor of the state banned NURTW “to maintain peace and tranquillity in the state in order to engender commercial and human development” following “alleged security breaches and factional clashes of the union member in some areas of Ibadan, the state capital.”

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