The Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) has asked the Lagos State Government to order state Park and Garage agents, led by Musilu Akinsanya (MC Oluomo), to vacate its offices and loading areas, in accordance with a court decision.
Bellnewsonline.com gathered that the Acting Lagos State Chairman of RTEAN, Aransiola Qudus urged the government to comply during a press briefing about the legal dispute between RTEAN and the state government.
Background Into The Conflict
In September 2022, the Lagos State Government dissolved RTEAN, its executive committee, and its operations in Lagos State due to a crisis with another union, the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW). The Parks and Garages Committee temporarily replaced RTEAN.
RTEAN took the matter to the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, arguing for its right to operate in Lagos State as a registered trade union. The court ruled in favour of RTEAN on April 18, 2023, nullifying the state government’s actions and ordering the dissolution of the committee set up to replace it.
Court Ruling And Compliance
The court instructed the Lagos State Government and relevant authorities not to interfere with RTEAN’s operations and to withdraw police from the premises.
RTEAN now asks the government to enforce the court’s judgment and ensure a mutual understanding for the benefit of all parties.
According to Qudus, “RTEAN as a law-abiding organization that does not take the laws into its hands but believes in the rule of law and follows due process took the matter to a competent court of jurisdiction, the National Industrial Court of Nigeria in Suit No: NICN/LA/381/2022.
“RTEAN is a registered trade union established under Decree 21 and 22 of 1978 as amended by Decree 1 of 1999 under the senior staff and Employers Association as well as the Trade Union Act CAP T14 laws of the federation 2004 which falls under the exclusive legislative list of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended and has the power to operate all over the country,
“Lagos State inclusive as well as to protect the interest of its members who are the owners of all category of commercial vehicles operating in Nigeria and to control and supervise the activities of loading and offloading of goods and services, wipe out touting and all forms of thuggery and hooliganism in cooperation with law enforcement agencies as well as to do all that is humanly possible to enhance the prestige and smooth progress of the road transport industry in all shapes and forms.
“RTEAN has contributed immensely to the success of security and peace in Lagos State more especially during the tenure of Governor Bola Tinubu when he allowed our union to use our constitutional mandate as a Trade Union in the transport industry to eliminate tout, thuggery and hooliganism in the motor parks and garages whereby a lot of youths were reformed, and became employers of labour.
“We are not fighting the Government of Lagos State in any form but we have a responsibility and task to accomplish in moving the nation’s economy forward by transporting goods and services that are integral parts of our lives.
“A country is that, that comprises of different arms, boards and parastatals and each has its own responsibility to and we must remain so as a federation, we are law-abiding, peace-loving and mature in our dealings.
“The National Industrial Court delivered its judgement on April 18, 2023, nullifying the action of the Lagos State Government and held that we had the right to operate in Lagos State and dissolved the committee set up by the Lagos State Government to take over our office while directing them to vacate our office immediately and allow the Executive Committee of our union to continue to occupy their office.
“The court further restrained the Executive Governor of Lagos State his Attorney General and Special Assistant on Transport from interfering with the function of the Executive Committee of RTEAN.
“The court restrained the Lagos State Commissioner of Police from using his men to stop the Executive Committee of RTEAN from performing its duties and to immediately withdraw the policemen from the premises of the RTEAN.
“All parties, especially the defendants are expected to comply with the judgement of the National Industrial Court.
“We are therefore calling on Lagos State Government to do the needful and direct all its agents (Park and Garage) that occupied the offices of the RTEAN, and our loading and offloading points to vacate the places. We are law-abiding and will work with the government at all times for the interest of Lagos State as well as our members that come from every part of the country, we look forward to mutual understanding.
“We, therefore, appeal to the Lagos State Gov’t to adhere to the Court ruling of April 18, 2023, and hand over our secretariat back to us and vacate all RTEAN loading and offloading points in the state according to the judgement.
“We assure the State Government and all Lagosians of amicable and Progressive collaboration for the benefit of all.
“We want to use this opportunity once again to congratulate our President-elect Bola TIinubu and his Vice Kashim Shettima and Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy Obafemi Hamzat on their victory in the just 2023 general elections and a hitch-free inauguration come May 29, 2023.”