Pandemonium ensues at Igando, a Lagos suburb on Thursday morning after commercial motorcyclists and members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) clashed.
At least 12 persons were said to have sustained injuries and several motorcycles destroyed in the fight that grounded business activities in the area.
Among the injured were Abdullahi Lawal who’s on admission at the hospital, while others are Saheed Ayanshola, Taofeeq Jimoh, Olorunfemi Shakiru, Segun Idowu, Abbass Ahmed and Kazeem Ramoni.
Trouble was said to have started after the NURTW increased the prices of the ticket for Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) including commercial motorcycles.
From a daily levy of about N400, it was gathered that the parent body increased the fare of motorcyclists to over N1,000.
It was learnt motorcyclists at Alimosho usually paid N50 tax security and ticket N200 on a daily basis until the introduction of the new rates which indicated that they have to pay N500 to the national NURTW and N200 booking tickets to operate within.
Angered by the increment, the motorcyclists’ union told their members to resist any attempt by NURTW officials to pay the levies, which did not go well with the latter.
However, the NURTW denied that the hike was over N1,000, insisting that the daily fares for motorcyclists at Alimosho was N600.
According to the union’s Secretary, Tijani Pekis, booking ticket was introduced in order to curb cases of illegal taxation motorcyclists were subjected to.
He said: “This is a case between a father and his son, which an adopted father wanted to hijack. It is a misunderstanding between the rank and file of the union and so we are meeting to resolve it.
“What actually happened was that some of our workers used the restriction of motorcycles to certain routes in the state to extort motorcyclists.
“They keep collecting money from them and these riders end up paying so much daily. In Alimosho alone, there are over 30 units and imagine how much they spend, laying N50 tax security to each one daily.
“At the end of the day, their interest is not protected and the money goes into private pockets. So, in order to correct that situation, we introduced booking tickets of N200 per day. With this ticket, an Okada can ply Igando to Egbeda and Ikotun, but cannot go to places like Surulere because of the restriction.
“At Igando, they protested and we reduced the amount to N100 per day, and then, the N500 daily paid to national, totaling N600. Still, they refused to pay. That was what caused the fight, but it’s being resolved because we are members of the same family.”
Newsmen gathered that it took the intervention of anti-riot policemen from Igando Division and the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) for the factions to retreat.
Police Commissioner Fatai Owoseni and RRS Commander, Tunji Disu, an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) were on ground and appealed to the parties to maintain peace.