Nigeria - Leaders and members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW have described the recent deployment of police team to the headquarters of the union in Abuja as the necessary safety measure capable of preventing the growing tension within the transport body from degenerating into violence that can spread round the country.
According to the prominent leaders and members of the NURTW, led by a former Chairman of Lagos Council, saddled with the responsibility of leading the current Caretaker Committee for the conduct of credible elections within the next three months, Chief Tajudeen Badru Agbede, who announced this through a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja explained that palpable tension had been brewing in the union following the unsuccessful attempts by the ex - President of the union, Alhaji Tajudeen Ibikunle Baruwa to impose himself on the members after the expiration of his tenure in office.
The union leaders explained that a large percentage of the members were angered by Baruwa's flagrant disrespect for the union's constitution or any sense of decorum in his bid to forcefully elongate his time in office even when the national conference of the NURTW had been put on hold by courts of competent jurisdiction.
The aggrieved members, according to the statement were ready to go to any length to match the threats and forceful actions from Baruwa as they vowed to stop the him from hijacking the union without going through the process of election as outlined in the NURTW constitution and the deployment of police personnel to the union headquarters had helped in calming the tension.
"Therefore it will be foolhardy of any right thinking individual to accuse the police of taking the right steps to avert the outbreak of violence, posing threats to the national peace and safety of innocent Nigerians who could be affected by the situation as Baruwa had continued to incite violence among members in state branches across the country", the statement said.
The leaders urged the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress NLC and the Federal Ministry of Labour to avoid conniving with Baruwa whose recent actions contravened all trade union rules as no labour law would support any leader to violate the constitution and disobey court orders while promoting disaffection and crisis among members.
They referred to a pending suit marked NICN\LA\111\2023 before the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, pointing out the existence of a subsisting order restraining Alhaji Tajudeen Ibikunle Baruwa from parading himself as NURTW President.
The statement by the transport operators claimed that the disbandment of the NURTW in the South West states of Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo and Osun States had prevented the union from Constituting the South West Zonal Council which has the mandate of conducting election into the office of the National President of the union in line with the NURTW constitution.
"Baruwa's persistent high handedness was responsible for the crisis that rocked the boat of the union across the South West states at the detriment of our members whose means of livelihood depended largely on the activities of the union and such members are presently groaning under the burden of poverty occasioned by the deliberate actions and acts of dictatorship of a desperate national president", declared Agbede.
The union leaders emphasized that until he is properly elected at the South West Zonal Council, Baruwa does not have the constitutional powers to stand for election into the office of the NURTW National President and any purported election orchestrated by him anywhere is null and void and of no effect in view of the provisions of the union's constitution.
They appealed to members of the union and the general public to disregard the purported elections of national leaders, said to have been conducted by the erstwhile President Baruwa and his cohorts, assuring them that union would uphold its constitution at all times and advised the people to go about their lawful businesses peacefully as the relevant law enforcement agencies would not compromise their safety for the selfish agenda of a desperate individual.