Metro & Crime

NURTW Crisis: Soldiers, policemen prevent bloodbath as MC Oluomo, Istijabah boys draw battle line

Police and soldiers yesterday stormed Ijaiye Bus Stop in the Agbado area of Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State to forestall a clash between road transport unions loyal to two factional leaders in the state: Musiliu Akinsanya popularly called MC Oluomo; and Azeez Abiola, aka Istijabah.

 

It was gathered that about five patrol vans of security personnel who were on a joint mission in the area yesterday to prevent breakdown of law and orders in the state.

 

The fully armed policemen came in four patrol vans, while fierce-looking, gun-wielding soldiers stormed the bus stop in a van. It was also observed that over 100 area boys and foot soldiers of both MC Oluomo and Istijabah seethed with rage as they stood just opposite the security agents.

 

A tricycle operator, who simply identified himself as Kunle, said that the security agents got intelligence that MC Oluomo boys are planning to take over  park controlled by Istijabah and his boys. “About 40 policemen and 12 soldiers came this morning to prevent a clash between Istijabah and MC Oluomo boys.

 

“There would have been a violent clash if not for the presence of the security personnel who came in five vehicles,” he said. The situation caused panic as traders shut their stalls over the fear of a possible clash between the two factions. “We were terrified since morning and had to shut our shops and go back home.

 

We just opened now after the area boys and the soldiers left,” a trader said. Efforts to get MC Oluomo and Istijabah reaction proved abortive. When contacted, the spokes-  man for the Lagos State Police Command, Benjamin Hundeyin, promised to revert but he was yet to do so as of press time.

 

It would be recalled that MC Oluomo and Istijabah boys had clashed last week in the Fagba, Ogba and Agege areas of Lagos over the control of parks and ticket sales. MC Oluomo, formerly the  chairman of the Lagos State chapter of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, and now the chairman of the Lagos State Parks Committee, has been embroiled in a protracted conflict with Istijabah, the state chairman of the Tricycle Owners and Operators Association of Nigeria, an affiliate union of NURTW.

 

The governor subsequently appointed MC Oluomo as the parks management committee chairman despite public outrage and warnings of fresh violence.

 

According to a 2021 report by the International Centre for Investigative Report, the Lagos chapter of NURTW generates about N123.08bn annually, which could service the annual budget of Nasarawa, Niger, and Yobe states.

 

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