The Centre for Human and Socio-economic Right (CHSR), a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) has given the Lagos State Government seven days ultimatum to reverse or reconstitute the committee of the Park and Garden Authority as provided by the law to ensure that members of the committee reflects all the stakeholders in transport sector, alleging that the current committee is not only against the law but also one sided.
The centre also called on the State government to re-trace its step by calling both the NURTW National body, the suspended Lagos State council chairman MC Oluomo and all the stakeholders in the transportation sector for a genuine dialogue in other to make an amicable resolution in the interest of peaceful co-existence.
The centre expressed disappointment at the state government over the way it has handled the crisis that engulfed the Lagos State Chapter of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW). The centre said it was surprised that the state government could stoop so low and obey the order given by the suspended Chairman of the Union, Alhaji Musiliu Akinsanya, popularly known as MC Oluomo, to suspend the union in the state simply because he (Oluomo) was suspended by the national headquarters of the union.
The centre said the state government obediently reacted to the order given by Alhaji Akinsanya in less than 24 hours by truly announcing the talking over of all the parks and garages in the state and announced the resuscitation of Park and Garden Authority, as recommended by Alhaji Akinsanya.
While speaking at a world press conference in Lagos on Thursday, the President of the centre, Comrade Alex Omotenhinse also condemned the silence of NLC as a parental body to NURTW, who ought to have issued a statement or find a way of resolving the dispute within its affiliate union in Lagos, Ogun, Ondo And Oyo State.
The Centre president said “CHSR attention has been drawn to recent emerging development in Lagos State transportation sector which emanated from the leadership brouhaha within the state chapter of NURTW as an established trade union organisation affiliated to NLC. As a human right group and a public opinion moulder, we learnt that tricycle union is an affiliate of NURTW and has been operating independently as Tricycle Owners and Operator Association of Nigeria (TOOAN) before the Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) led regime through the then commissioner for Transportation Comrade Kayode Opeifa broker alliance for the affiliation of the union group.
“The current leadership tussle began after Alhaji Musiliu Akinsanya popularly known as MC Oluomo emerged as the NURTW Lagos state council chairman. The tricycle union do have their independent organogram and structure from units- branch- zone-state, but the state executive was dissolved by MC OLUOMO leadership and limited them to zonal level an action which contravene and negate the bilateral relationship existing between them as an affiliate.
“The national body of NURTW which is the supreme organ intervene to resolve crises emanating from one of his state chapter as his constitutional right as conscripted in article42, section 5 subsection (i-x) of their (NURTW) constitution. CHSR as a human right body strongly frowns on infringement of individual right but also believe that an individual is not bigger and cannot be bigger than the organisation rules and dictates as organization interest superseded individual interest.
“The NURTW national body then suspended the Lagos state council chairman with the belief to have fulfil and certified constitutional provision which empowers them to do so, but instead for the affected chairman to follows laydown constitutional process in approaching the issue, he choose to call on external forces(Lagos State Government as their landlord) to proscribe or ban there union activities in the state.
“To our greatest dismay, in no time, less than 24 hours, Lagos State House of Assembly stoop so low by summoning an emergency preliminary section to yield to MC Oluomo call asking the Lagos state government to take over union activities in Lagos state and Assembly quickly dust the state archive and come out with Lagos State Park And Garden Authority law established and abandoned since 2011 (which has not been operating), the Lagos state Government through the office of the Commissioner for information announced the taking over of parks and garages in the state, what a shameful reaction”.
The Centre president also condemned the Lagos State House of Assembly for deeming it fit to hastily respond to the request of Alhaji Akinsanya but didn’t see it necessary to hastily summon an emergency preliminary section to address what poses security challenge to life of its citizenry when Miss Bamishe Ayanwola was allegedly kidnapped, raped and murdered by a staff of the Lagos State government agency inside Lagos State government owned transport bus (BRT) on 26 the February 2022, wondering who the assembly is representing.
“Lagos State House of Assembly must, as a matter of urgency, reconvene another emergency plenary section that will comprises of all stakeholders including the civil society to debate a way out and fashion reasonable solution before the issue degenerate beyond expectations as the transport sector is one of the most critical sector that involved all citizens”, comrade Omotehinse said .
On the garage and parks authority committee, comrade Omotehinse said “Lagos State has disobeyed its own law. Why 25 members when the law Says six? Why appointing immediate past commissioner of police Odumosu and , Sulu Baba Eewe a member of the Lagos State sport commission in a transport committee?
“The Ingenuity and Insincerity of Lagos State government in banning operation of NURTW is seen to the blind and heard to the deaf,asRoad Transport Employee Association Of Nigeria (RTEAN) a twin sister of NURTW were left operating without check even the banned NURTW or better put MC OLUOMO men are still on road harassing transporters and road users on daily basis while government looks away, this clearly shows that the Lagos state government target was not to ban union activities but fighting back the national body of NURTW for suspending their so called man and representative in the union; this is typically a show of might by Lagos State government as the extortion of transporters and road users are still very much rooted in the state, this shows that Lagosians are been milk by government proxy.
While going through the composition of high powered 25 members of the Lagos State park management committee, Omotenhinse said, the Lagos state Government has trampled on the act that established the law. “According to section 12 of the act, there shall be general manager who will be the chief executive officer and to be responsible for the general administrative and day – day activities of the park management with five other members but the committee as composed is alien to the law of the state, where in the act as constituted and signed by law is the provision for executive chairman and governor liaison officer?
“The operation of Park management committee has turned the state to slaughtering abattoir where Lagos residents and road users are now being harassed, assaulted occasioning harmed, intimidated and killed on daily basis through the modu- operando’s of the park management alleged to be tele guided by men and some officers of the Nigeria police under Lagos state command.
“The selective encroachment are condemnable, if truly transport unions activities are banned, why TOOAN parks is the only one being subjected to attack? While Okada riders union, RTEAN and tricycle operators union that are affiliatedto RTEAN are still operating? These is a pure show of injustice on the part of the state government (government making thuggery a lucrative business).
“The Lagos state government should play the role of an unbiased umpire and be a true peacemaker by reconstituting the committee to incorporate critical stakeholder in the transportation sector and to include in the committee members of other factions as mentioned above. We demand that the Lagos state commissioner of police should direct his officers and men to always maintain their neutrality in approaching this issue anywhere in the state where is seeing that there is an attack on the other faction rather than protecting one against another.