By Paschal Emeka, Abuja
The National Executive Council of Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) has condemned the recent move by Lagos State government to ban its activities in the state.
Commenting on a publication in the of the national dailies of Thursday, 29th September 2022, which reported that the Executive Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo Olu, suspended the entire Lagos State branch of RTEAN and appointed a 35 member caretaker Committee to run the affairs of the branch, the transport union expressed shock and disbelief over the development.
The daily also reported that the suspension was as a result of a fracas in the two of the over 320 chapels of RTEAN in Lagos State.
RTEAN through its National Executive Council in Abuja, however, described the action of the governor as unfortunate saying that the state government took the decision without reference to the national headquarters.
Deputy National President Administration of RTEAN Amb. Mohammad Abubakar Bishara, during a press conference in Abuja, noted that the Association is a trade union registered under the relevant Laws of the country and no state government can wake one morning and start threatening their existence.
”To put the matter in its proper perspective, RTEAN is a Trade Union registered under the Trade Union Act Cap 114 Laws of the Federation 2004, a federal enactment
”The association also has its constitution recognized and approved by the Registrar of Trade Unions under the federal ministry of labour and employment
He further explained that he operations of trade unions is entirely under Trade Union Act and the approved constitutions of trade unions.
According to him, none of the provisions of the Trade Union Act confers or give any power to any state governor to suspend the activities of any trade union or empowers the governor of Lagos State or any other state to appoint a caretaker committee for a trade union.
He informed that ” the constitution of RTEAN which has been tested before the National Industrial Court has made elaborate provision for Chairmen of branches to contest for elections in the national body either as president or any other office if elected and could also hold the two positions without hindrance by any law as the provision of the association.
”The argument that the National President of RTEAN cannot hold the position of Lagos state branch chairman is without any foundation, rather it is provided for in the RTEAN constitution.
”Furthermore, Lagos state has over three hundred and twenty chapels. The fracas is alleged to have taken place in only two of these chapels. The responsibility of the state government is to maintain law and order, the best thing the government should have done is to direct security agencies to arrest the miscreants who were involved in the fracas in the two chapels instead of shutting down the entire union in Lagos state.
”We therefore use this medium to appeal to the governor of Lagos state to rescind its decision to suspend the activities of the Lagos branch and allow the national body of RTEAN to look into the matter in line with its constitution.