A violent confrontation erupted in the Garki area of the Federal Capital Territory on Tuesday as two factions of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) clashed on Sapele Crescent, located off Ladoke Akintola Boulevard in Garki II, Abuja.
The incident sheds light on an ongoing dispute within the NURTW, a matter that observers suggest urgently demands the intervention of the federal government to prevent further deterioration of law and order, especially within the nation’s capital.
Reports indicate that the clash occurred when supporters of NURTW President Tajudeen Baruwa attempted to march towards the union’s national headquarters, currently occupied by the Lagos Park Management Committee led by Tajudeen Agbede.
It was disclosed that Baruwa had previously sought the involvement of the Nigeria Police Force and the Nigeria Labour Congress in resolving the situation, but these efforts were unsuccessful.
“We shall henceforth not hesitate to defend our mandate with the last drop of our blood,” Baruwa had declared earlier, accusing former NURTW leaders of unlawfully occupying the National Secretariat of the union. He emphasized that only a court of competent jurisdiction could nullify his mandate, urging disgruntled members to follow due process and seek legal remedies, while cautioning that any deviation could lead to chaos.
Baruwa also alleged that the former union president, Najeem Yasin, and Agbede, the former National Vice President, held unauthorized meetings with select past union leaders.
He called upon the Inspector-General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun, and the Director-General of the Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi, to intervene in the matter, expressing concerns that the police appeared to be favoring the Lagos Park Management Committee.
Though the exact number of casualties, if any, could not be confirmed at the time of this report, eyewitnesses disclosed that members of the transport union discharged multiple gunshots into the air during the altercation, heightening tension in the vicinity.
Efforts to obtain comments from the spokesperson for the FCT Police Command, SP Josephine Adeh, redirected inquiries to the Force Headquarters.
However, the Force PRO, ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, did not respond to our correspondent’s inquiries regarding the situation.