RTEAN decries extortions of members by Sanwo-Olu’s caretaker committee
The leadership of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) has expressed displeasure at the alleged extortions of its members by the caretaker committee for the association constituted by the Lagos State government.
RTEAN’s executive national president, Musa Mohammed, told journalists in Lagos that its members would not pay any “illegal” levy to the caretaker committee.
Mr Mohammed said that members had been compelled to buy union tickets despite the suspension of operations.
“They have hijacked our operations because it is the same thing that we are doing that the committee the government set up is doing too,” he said.
On September 29, 2022, the government suspended all activities of RTEAN. It dissolved the union’s elected executive members in the state following some pockets of violence recorded in Ojo and Lagos Island the same day.
Also, the leadership of RTEAN, before the ban, had announced the suspension of one of its Lagos State vice-chairmen, Oluwaseyi Bamgbose, popularly known as ‘Student’, for allegedly instigating unrest in the association.
Consequently, Sola Giwa, the Special Adviser to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Transportation, announced the constitution of a 35-man caretaker committee to take over the union’s activities.
However, Mr Mohammed lamented, “The government said they had suspended our operations in the state, and our operation is for us to sell our tickets.
“The government has asked the committee to print tickets, and that is the ticket they are selling now to our members.
“Immediately after our last press release was out, the committee called another meeting to dissolve our constituted zones and chapels because those zones and chapels could not collect the five million naira and N400,000 they initially proposed to collect respectively.
“The association has about 350 chapels and 50 zones; asking all the 350 chapels and 50 zones to bring money to the chairman of the caretaker committee directly just because the collection of N5 million and N400,000 did not work,” he said. “This cannot work.”
The RTEAN boss urged all members not to take union money to anyone, adding, “If it is tax, we will know it is tax.”
“This one that the government says they have suspended us and now put someone to head a committee to collect money for the state government or himself, we will not agree,” he stated.
Mr Mohammed called on the state government to address the alleged extortion of the association’s members.
“Already we are aware that our operations have been suspended by the Lagos State government, and we have gone to court because we are labour workers working directly under the federal government, and the state government cannot stop us.”
Decrying the suspension, Mr Mohammed said the state government should rather set up a committee to address offences.
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