The chairman of the Lagos State Parks and Garages Management Committee, Musiliu Akinsanya, also called MC Oluomo, has finally agreed to the demands of striking members of Joint Drivers Welfare Association of Nigeria, JDWAN, over their claims of extortion.
Leaders of JDWAN, have suspended the strike action they started last week. The suspension was to allow for renewed understanding and cooperation between it and the Lagos State Government officials represented by the state Parks and Gardens Management, led by Oluomo.
The peace meeting was held on Monday, at the Secretariat of the state Parks and Gardens in Agege Local Government Area of the state. While MC Oluomo led the park management committee, Mr. Abioudun Akintade, led JDWAN union.
Other affiliated members of JDWAN are: Ibile Drivers Stakeholders Association of Nigeria, DSWAN, Mega City Drivers Welfare Association of Nigeria, MCDWA, Federal Assisted Mass Transit Incorporation, FAMTI, Owners, Drivers and Conductors Association, ODCA, Commercial Bus Drivers and Owners Operators of Lagos, CBDOP, Mini Bus Drivers Welfare Association, MNDWA.
Areas affected mainly by the strike action were Ojo, Ikorodu and Badagry Local Government Areas of the state.
In its efforts to resolve the lingering crisis between members of JDWAN, Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, RTEAN, and Lagos State Parks and Garages, the state government had earlier held three separate stakeholders’ meetings, with the last, held on Friday.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Sola Giwa who presided over the meeting, held at the Ministry of Transportation’s conference room, Alausa Ikeja, said the warring parties have agreed to meet in the coming weeks to resolve the issue of alleged extortion and harassment leveled against the transport union members by the commercial drivers with a view to resolving their differences.
Giwa, represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Engr, Gbolahan Toriola, stressed that the state government would oversee the resolution process as it has done in the past in line with the White Paper on transport union activities of 2004, which recognizes the RTEAN and National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, now Parks and Garages Management in the state.
He added that the state government was working with the law enforcement agencies to dislodge miscreants’ disguising as union members on Lagos roads, advising JDWAN to officially write the Ministry of Transportation if the resolutions reached between the two parties are not resolved eventually.
However, MC Oluomo had denied involvement of his members in the extortion allegation while the state government.
Akintade had reiterated the issue of extortion and harassment as well as maltreatment by the transport unions, noting that they had informed the unions of their grievances several times without positive feedback, adding that it was on the premise of the developments that they embarked on the strike action.
He said, “It is pertinent to note that there is an existing restraining court order granted by Justice P.O LIFU of the Federal High Court Ikoyi against the Lagos state government and all transport agencies, stopping them from ticketing, bus stop levies, motor park levies, dues and any form of extortion from commercial drivers with suit no: FHC/L/CS/224/2022 between applicant Barrister Olukoya Ogungbeje, Transport Union Society of Nigeria, TUSON, and respondents NURTW, RTEAN, National Association of Roar Transport Owners, N ARTO, Musiliu Akinsanya (Mc Oluomo), Mohammed Musa, Lawal Yusuf Othman, Lagos State Government, Attorney- General of Lagos State, Inspector General of Police, Director General of State Security Service as Respondents.”
Abiodun, therefore, appealed to the state government to uphold the unified N800 levy, caution errant law enforcement agents and checkmate the excesses of the transport union members.
The transporter’s leaders listed the demands of the drivers to include: Obeying the court order.
“Kick against paying motor park thugs at every bus stop.
“All illegal money at garages and parks must stop.
“Harassment of law enforcement agencies & intimidation with guns, Cutlass, broken bottles by LASTMA, task force and Rapod Response Squad, RRS must end immediately.
“Lagos State government should build and assign more bus stops for commercial use to avoid arrest by LASTMA for dropping off passengers at existing bus stops which are known to commuters as official bus stops.
“No confrontation with Agberos of motor park management and caretaker committee
“We are also giving the Lagos state government and the Parks and Garages Management a 7 day ultimatum to respond to our demands.”
Speaking at the end of the meeting MC Oluomo, JDWAN leader, said that the Parks and Garages Management had met their demands, hence, the decision by the union to totally call off the strike action in moving forward.
“We are grateful to the state government for their prompt intervention. All our grievances have been attended to and met by the Parks and Garages management Committee led by MC Oluomo.
“After several hours of deliberations at the stakeholders meeting, called on the directive of the state government, MC Oluomo, agreed to ensure implementation of our demands.
“We have set a a Special Committee, headed by my humble self, Abiodun, with eight members from JDWAN and eight from the Parks and Gardens to ensure harmonious working relationship henceforth n the implementation of agreements hereby sealed.
“We have also secured the release of two of our members arrested and detained at Zone II of the Nigeria Police Command, Onikan. The two detained members are: Hassan Ibrahim and Eze Ise.
“We are satisfied with the outcome of the meeting and we believe we are moving forward from here henceforth,” he said.
However, the JDWAN leader, expressed gratitude when he confirmed that the state government has shifted enforcement on the ban of unpainted commercial buses as it affects JDWAN members till end of December, 2022 for compliance.