Home General Proscription: Obey court order as ‘progressive’, RTEAN tells Sanwo-Olu

Proscription: Obey court order as ‘progressive’, RTEAN tells Sanwo-Olu

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The Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) says continuous proscription of the union operations by the Lagos State Government in spite of court order against such action leaves much to be desired.

The National President of RTEAN, Alhaji Musa Mohammed made this remark while speaking to newsmen during a one-day peaceful protest by Trade Union Congress (TUC) on Monday in Ikeja.

RTEAN is a trade union registered under the Trade Unions Act. Cap T 14 Laws of the Federation 2004, a Federal Enactment and affiliate of TUC.

The National Industrial Court sitting in Lagos in April nullified the appointment of an ad-hoc committee put in place by Gov Babajide Sanwo-Olu to run the affairs of RTEAN in the state and reinstated the elected leadership of the union.

Mohammed said that despite the order which invalidated the state government’s action against the union’s operations, the government was yet to lift ban on the activities of the union.

According to him, some state agents interested in destabilising the union that is known for peace fed Sanwo-Olu with false information which led to the ‘illegal ban’ in 2022.

“Everyone knows that the ban on the union was done in bad taste. The governor was fed with lies about RTEAN and petty crisis instigated by a group of backdoor power-seekers within the union.

“It is sad that person (s), who instigated the ban and dissolution of properly constituted Lagos State Executive Council of RTEAN, was used by state agents, who also had vested interest, as leader (s) of the caretaker committee.

“We are owners of vehicles, we are not touts and that is why we went to court to seek justice and we got justice but the state government is bent on illegality.

“All we want now is for the government to end illegality by implementing the court order that has restored the operations of RTEAN in the state,” Mohammed said.

According to him,, the whole world is aware that the state government is unfair to the union.

The president said that two out of the over 320 chapels of the association in the state were engulfed in leadership crisis and the association was resolving the issue before the state government pronounced proscription on union’s operations.

“Again, it is unfortunate that the very members who engineered and carried out the fracas are part of the people the governor appointed as members of caretaker committee,” he added.

The president also expressed displeasure at the alleged extortions of its members by the caretaker committee for the association, constituted by the Lagos State government.

He appealed to Sanwo-Olu to unseal the association’s Lagos state office.

Meanwhile, after several appeals to the state government to lift ban on RTEAN, the TUC on Monday staged a peaceful protest in Lagos, demanding implementation of the court order restoring operations of RTEAN in Lagos.

TUC, which noted that the government had no stay of execution to stop industrial pronouncement, demanded the release of seized vehicles and opening of the RTEAN”s office.

The protesters marched to the Lagos State House of Assembly, where they were received by some lawmakers, led by Mr Adedamola Kasunmu, the Deputy Majority Leader.

Speaking, the President of TUC, Comrade Festus Osifo, while speaking with newsmen at the Lagos State House of Assembly during the solidarity protest with RTEAN, said that the protest became necessary as the government has failed to yield to court judgment and the request of the union on the matter.

According to Osifo, RTEAN was proscribed sometime last year and afterwards, the Lagos State government went ahead to seize all their equipment and took over their offices, including their vehicles and we believe that this is not acceptable.

He said: “We know that trade unionism is not in the concurrent list and so a state government does not have the power to proscribe a trade union. This is absolutely the responsibility of the federal government.

“We approached the industrial court for judgement and it was clearly stated that the Lagos State Government has no right to proscribe trade unions.

“We wrote a letter to the State Governor to open the office of RTEAN, which they forcefully took over and release their vehicles, which were seized by government officials, but I can tell you that the government is already using the vehicles.

“The actions of the government amount to criminality and stealing. We wrote to them that what they did is not good, but the government failed to yield to our request.”

When reminded by journalists that the state government said that it had appealed the judgement, Osifo said that the Governor knows what to do.

“As at today, they don’t have a stay of execution from the court. We will make our voice heard,” Comrade Osifo said.

Responding to the protesters, the Deputy Majority Leader, Kasunmu, who received the union on behalf of the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, commended the leadership of the TUC for the peaceful protest to the House.

Kasunmu, who assured protesters that their message would be forwarded to the speaker and that the TUC would hear from the leadership of the House soon.

Recalled that, in Sept. 2022,, Sanwo-Olu had ordered the immediate suspension of all activities of RTEAN in the state.

The government said the suspension become necessary following some pockets of violence recorded in Ojo and Lagos Island areas of the state.

The state government, later in October, set up a 35-man ad-hoc committee, to take over activities of the Union.

The Committee known as “Lagos State Park Administrators Ad-Hoc Committee on the Operations of Commercial Road Transport Workers Activities Within Garages and Motor Parks ” was headed by Hon. Sulaiman Adeshina Raji with Bamgbose Oluseyi as Deputy Chairman.

The RTEAN subsequently instituted the suit in Oct. 2022 to challenge the lagos state government for dissolving the elected executive committee of the union in the state and appointing the ad-hoc committee. END/

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