Obalende shootout: Sanwo-Olu resolves NURTW, RTEAN fracas

The Lagos government has resolved the crisis (that led to a shootout) between the National Union of Road Transport Workers and the Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria over Obalende Motor Park.
Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu

The Lagos government has resolved the crisis (that led to a shootout) between the National Union of Road Transport Workers and the Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria over Obalende Motor Park.

The Special Adviser to Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Transportation, Mr. Oluwatoyin Fayinka, made this known in a statement issued by Mrs. Bolanle Ogunlola, Head of Public Affairs Unit, Ministry of Transportation.

Some members of the NURTW and RTEAN on Feb. 11, engaged in a free-for-all over control of the park.

However, Fayinka said that truce was reached after a meeting with the leadership of both unions over park operations, which lasted for over four hours at the Radisson Blue Hotel, Ikeja.

He said that the meeting had in attendance representatives of NURTW led by its Chairman Alhaji Musiliu Akinsanya and RTEAN led by the Vice-Chairman of RTEAN, Chief Gbenga Elesho among other government officials.

“The meeting was called consequent upon the recent clash between both parties at Obalende on Feb.11, a development which has not happened for a long time that both parties had cohabited peacefully.

“Hence the need for the immediate resolution to forestall a re-occurrence,” the special adviser said.

Fayinka urged both parties to give room for peace, calling for suggestions on ways to enhance the peaceful resolution of conflicts.

He said that at the end of the deliberations, both parties agreed that pending the return of tricycle operations by NURTW at Obalende, RTEAN would continue with the operation of their Minibuses, while paying welfare fees to NURTW.

Fayinka said that the peace agreement would be signed by both parties at the Ministry of Transportation on Tuesday.

Speaking at the meeting, the State Treasurer of NURTW, Mr Mustapha Adekunle said that the disagreement was over the control of the park unit of which both parties had agreed on its operation.

Adekunle added that the agreement, which had to do with the operation of tricycles in one of the units under the control of RTEAN and the denial of RTEAN access by NURTW for their minibusses operation.

Confirming the treasurer’s position on the issue, Akinsanya added that the boundary operations crisis that ensued between the unions could have been averted just as so many others that could have degenerated into crisis had been settled in the past for peace to reign.

The NURTW boss, who noted that through stakeholders’ meetings between his union and RTEAN, several crises had been resolved, called for peaceful coexistence between both parties.

Also speaking, the RTEAN State Secretary, Mr. Abdulrahman Amusan, explained that the clash was avoidable going by the agreement of both unions to maintain the peace which had existed for long.

Amusan said that the crisis could have been avoided if union leaders of both parties had taken proactive measures at resolving issues immediately they ensued.

Elesho added that some other parks which were initially under the control of RTEAN were taken over by the NURTW part, which he said contributed to the clash.

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The Commander, U.S. Africa Command, U General Stephen Townsend, wrapped up a three-day West African visit February 22-25, 2021, with a stopover in Nigeria to meet with the nation’s leaders and further the long-standing partnership and security cooperation between the two countries.

A press statement by the Embassy on Friday, said: “During the visit, Townsend met with the Nigerian President’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, and National Security Adviser, Babagan Monguno, to discuss regional security issues and to express the command’s gratitude for the assistance provided during a hostage rescue operation last year.

“When we asked for their help, the Nigerian government answered the call. Our hostage recovery mission in October would have been impossible without their support.

“They quickly provided assistance that helped the U.S. military to save an American life. That is a strong example of our partnership with Nigeria.”

Townsend also met with senior military officials, including the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magash, and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor, to talk about on-going cooperation in the region and greater maritime security and threat mitigation.

Nigeria is a key partner in countering violent extremist organizations throughout the Lake Chad Basin.

Townsend said furthermore: “The bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. is built on several pillars including security cooperation.

“U.S. Africa Command will do our part to advance the security cooperation pillar, so that Nigerians can enjoy the more secure future they all deserve.”

As close partners, the U.S. and Nigeria have worked at ensuring the collaborative relationship continues to grow to include a commitment to interoperability. Nigeria purchased 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, which will be delivered later this year.

“Nigeria’s purchase of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is another example of their commitment to interoperability and security in the region,” he added. “Our economic relationship with Nigeria is already strong, and we look forward to the continued strengthening of security relationships. Nigeria’s leaders understand the importance of a collaborative approach to ensuring stability in West Africa and partnering on areas of mutual interest.”

The Commander also met with the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard.

Leonard said: “General Townsend’s visit to Nigeria demonstrates the strategic importance the United States places on our bilateral relationship with Nigeria.

“Our security cooperation partnership with Nigeria’s military will strengthen the country’s capabilities to secure land and sea borders, enhance overall security, and combat terrorism in the North East.”

As part of the visit, Townsend participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Nigeria Military National Cemetery to honour those who have given their lives in the service of their nation.

During the visit, the delegation expressed their condolences for the seven service men killed in the crash of a Nigerian Air Force aircraft in Abuja.