Two feared killed as NURTW, tricycle operators clash

Commercial tricycles . PHOTO: AYODELE ADENIRAN

No fewer than two persons were feared killed and several others injured after members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and tricycle operators clashed in Abule Egba, Lagos on Saturday night.

The bloody incident has forced residents of Owode Street and environs to flee their homes over fears of a reprisal attack.

While the two persons reportedly killed were said to be passersby hit by stray bullets, two tricycle operators, Michael Taiwo and Komolafe Lekan, were allegedly shot by soldiers attached to Operation (OP) MESA patrol vehicle marked LSD529CX.

The soldiers, who were said to have been invited by NURTW officials, allegedly fired sporadically leading to the deaths and injuries recorded. At the time of filing this report, the two men were undergoing surgeries at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) in Ikeja.

It was gathered that tension had brewed between both groups for more than a week, with armed thugs loyal to the NURTW parading the streets since last Monday.

The Guardian investigation revealed that the fight between both groups was as a result of the decision by the tricycle operators’ union to disengage from NURTW. It was also gathered that two of the thugs on NURTW’s side were apprehended and handed over to policemen at Miran, while a pistol was recovered from one of them.

Chairman of Owode Community Development Association, Baba Seriki, who confirmed that residents were already fleeing their homes, urged the state government to bring a lasting solution to the crisis.

Chairman, Abule Egba Tricycle Operators’ Union, Lukmon Ogede, claimed one of the arrested suspects disclosed that they were sent to kill him.

According to him, the suspect who had the pistol mentioned the name of an NURTW boss who sent them to kill him.

Lagos State police command spokesperson, Dolapo Badmos, a Superintendent of Police (SP), said the matter was being investigated.

Although Badmos was silent on the casualty recorded, she confirmed that a locally-made cut-to-size pistol and a live cartridge were recovered.

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