Friday, June 18, 2021

Sanwo-Olu government’s killing us, taking over our property: Lagos mechanics

Lagos mechanics have accused Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s government of “killing” them after surviving the COVID-19 pandemic ravages.

• June 9, 2021

Lagos mechanics, under the aegis of the Nigeria Automobile Technicians (NATA), have accused Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s government of “killing” them after surviving the COVID-19 pandemic ravages.

“Lagos state is killing us. Coronavirus is not killing us. None of our members died due to the virus, but the state.

“Some of our members have died, suffered strokes, and some are in the hospitals. Even as we are here, we got a report that one of us died today,” said NATA Chairman Jacob Fayehun.

On Tuesday, placard-carrying auto technicians, defying heavy rainfall, picketed the state’s house of assembly and chanted solidarity songs during the protest.

Lagos Deputy Governor Obafemi Hamzat

Inscriptions on their placards included ‘Lagos State Government stop killing us,’ ‘Stop illegal demolition of mechanic villages in Lagos now!’ and ‘Ifelagba mechanic village was sold for N300 million, where is the money.’

Earlier, the technicians had gathered at the Allen Round About in Ikeja and marched to the house of assembly, disrupting the free flow of traffic on Obafemi Awolowo Way.

Mr Fayehun further said, “We are here to protest the illegal demolition of our mechanic villages given to us in 1981 by the late governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande.

Lateef Jakande
Lateef Jakande

“The time it was given to us, most of those areas were swampy, but we developed, maintained, and made them habitable for our work.”

The NATA leader accused the Ministry of Physical Planning, “through Mr Toyin Soyinka, Special Adviser to the Governor on Transport,” of “taking over, demolishing our workshops and selling the places to (the) highest bidders.”

Mr Fayehun added that 11 of the mechanic villages across Surulere, Abule Odofin, Ifelagba, Ikorodu, and Ladipo, among other areas, had been taken over by the government without due consideration for the workers’ well-being.

Mr Fayehun further claimed, “All these are because of shock. When our villages were destroyed, they took the vehicles of our customers away, and we were forced to pay N100,000 on each of the vehicles before they were released. You can understand our predicaments.”

NATA stated that its members would continue picketing the assembly’s complex until its demands are met.

“We want our mechanic villages back. This is just the beginning. Next week we are coming out again until there is a solution to our problem; without us, the economy will be paralysed.

“We are fighting this battle for the future generation so that all our youths and students in technical schools can have a place to work.”


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