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One Injured As Ondo State Transport Workers Clash Over Union Leadership

SaharaReporters learned that the clash was a result of the leadership tussle between members of the union at the local branch of the popular Ilorin/Abuja/Benin motor park.

A clash between some members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in Akure, Ondo State has left one person seriously injured.

SaharaReporters learned that the clash was a result of the leadership tussle between members of the union at the local branch of the popular Ilorin/Abuja/Benin motor park.

The local branches have been enmeshed in a leadership crisis that has caused members to form two different parallel factions within the transport union of the state.

A fight broke out when one of the aggrieved factions attempted to forcefully take over the motor park from the other faction led by one Kareem Adekunle, who controlled the Ifelodun unit branch.

The incident was said to have caused pandemonium as various loyal members to the two factions, brandishing dangerous weapons, engaged in a free-for-all.

Our correspondent reported that the fight started at around 5 p.m. on Wednesday and spread to the early hours of Thursday.

The fracas had forced petty traders around the motor parks to hurriedly shut down their businesses in order not to be caught in the web of violence that spread to other local units in the state.

Many civil servants, rushing to their various places of work in the early hours of the day, were scared as violence escalated.

Members of the factions who spoke to SaharaReporters accused the new state chairman of the union, Jacob Adebo, also known as "Idajo," of instigating the leadership crisis.

They alleged that Mr. Adebo has been supporting one of the factions at the Abuja/Benin motor park to cause trouble.

"After we held a rally round Akure Town yesterday, some boys ambushed us while we were getting back to the motor park. These boys are well-known loyalists of Mr. Adebo, who is supporting another local branch chairman in the unit of the park.

“They chased all of us away from the motor park using broken bottles, cutlasses, sticks and other dangerous weapons. Those who could not run and remained adamant were beaten and forced out of the motor park premises,” a member said. 

Sesan Olomoba, another member of the union, was macheted by a faction of the union and survived a heavy cut on his head.

Mr. Olomoba is currently receiving medical treatment at the Accident and Emergency Ward Unit of the Ondo State Specialists Hospital in Akure.

Some commercial drivers who spoke to our correspondent on Thursday morning also accused the leadership of the union of hiking the daily tickets fee.

One of them, Adeola Ibrahim, who complained about the ineptitude of the union's leadership said, “We started another fight this morning after the leaders of the union instructed their boys to start collecting N400 from us (taxi drivers) against the N250.

“Today being the swearing-in ceremony of the new leadership of the union under the chairmanship of Jacob Adebo ought to be a free ticketing day,” he told our correspondent.

All efforts to contact the new state chairman for comment proved abortive, as his two lines were switched off.

Femi Joseph, spokesman of the Ondo State Command of the Nigeria Police Force, confirmed the latest violence to SaharaReporters in a phone chat.

Mr. Joseph told our correspondent that the police were currently surveying all the nooks and crannies of the state to avoid another clash.

“The police are up to the task of ensuring adequate security in the state and we have met with the leadership of union to call their various members to order.

“We will not hesitate to deal decisively with anyone caught fomenting trouble in the state and its environs,” he said.


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