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Three dead, scores injured as NURTW, RTEAN engage in fierce fighting in Lagos

Three persons were confirmed dead while scores sustained various degrees of injuries on Wednesday night into Thursday in the Mile 2 area of Lagos State.

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Reliable sources said Thursday clash was a continuation of the ongoing battle for the control of motor parks between members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) in the state.

It was further gathered that the two unions have for some time now been battling over the collection of toll from truck drivers in the Apapa area of the state.

The latest clash was the second in less than a week as fifteen people, suspected to be members of RTEAN were on Tuesday shot at Tin Can First Gate and Fatgbems in Apapa by gunmen suspected to be members of the rival union group.

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It was gathered that gunmen suspected to be members of NURTW on Wednesday night again invaded the truck park in Mile 2 where RTEAN members were collecting tolls from truck drivers who were going into the Tin Can Port.

The gunmen reportedly opened fire on the union members killing three of them in the process while others were injured.

It took the intervention of military men and a combined team of policemen to thwart another bloody clash between the two unions on Thursday.

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The clash between the two unions occurred after the Lagos State Government had stopped the two unions from collecting any money from truck drivers in the area.

But trouble was said to have started about two months ago when members of the NURTW increased the toll from N800 to N2,000.

RTEAN were said to have kicked against the increment, insisting that the truck drivers were their members and not members of the NURTW.

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A truck driver, who spoke under the condition of anonymity said: “We were paying N800 before but about two months ago, it was increased to N2,000.

“When we made enquiries from the union representatives, we were told that the increment was done by the NURTW people who joined them.”

The driver added that: “When they were fighting, the Lagos State government ordered the two of them to stop collecting any money from us but they have continued to collect it.”

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The Vice-Chairman of the Lagos chapter of RTEAN, Adeola Adeyemi, confirmed the incident to journalists.

He said: “As I speak to you, I am at Area ‘E’ Festac, to document the murder case against members of the NURTW. I have also officially written to the Special Assistant to the Lagos State Governor on Transportation, Mr Toyin Fayinka, on the attack. We are still waiting to hear from him.”

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The State Chairman of NURTW in the state, Musiliu Akinsanya, could not be reached for his reaction as his phone line was switched off as at the time of writing this report.

Efforts to get the reaction of the State Police image-maker, Adekunle Ajisebutu, failed as calls to his mobile phone lines were not answered at the time of filing this report.

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Written by Adesoji OMOSEBI

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