Several persons were on Monday injured after a violent clash erupted between some members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), and commercial motorcyclists at the Iyana-Iba area of Lagos.
Daily Times reports that the clash followed the enforcement of an outrageous toll increment by the union.
It was gathered that traders at the popular Iyan-Iba market fled during the clash leaving their wares, while commuters and motorists were also forced to turn back as the entire stretch of the road was taken over by the warring parties.
An eyewitness who gave his name as Adekunle Olaniyi told Daily Times that the commercial motorcyclists, who are predominant of northern extraction, went gaga after officials of the union mandated them to pay the new toll or cease to operate along the route.
Olaniyi said there were heavy gunshots during the clash, this is as he said the two groups also unleashed cutlasses, dagger, and broken bottles, which resulted in the injuries.
” The incident started at about 8 a.m. on Monday. I was walking to the bus park to take a bud to Iyana-Ipaja when the fracas started. We thought it would just end as a minor disagreement, but before we knew what was going on, Iyan-Iba became a war zone.
“The waring parties injured themselves and innocent passers-by were also injured. The gunshots were heavy and I doubt it was policemen shooting. I think it is time government intervenes in this outrageous toll collection by the various road unions. It is the commuters that suffer it because the more they pay, the higher the cost of transportation,” he said.
Speaking on the incident, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Olumuyiwa Adejobi, said normalcy has since returned to the area.
Adejobi added that security operatives deployed to the area are still on the ground, urging people to go about their lawful duties without fear.
He said: “The Lagos State Police Command has restored normalcy to the Iyana Iba/Alaba Rago and Ojo areas of the state where there was a disagreement between the members of the transport unions, okada units precisely, on the increment in tariff today, Monday.
“The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, CP Hakeem Odumosu, has ordered for immediate deployment of additional police personnel to the area to maintain law and order as he also directed the Area Commander, Area E Festac, to personally be on the ground to monitor the situation and invite the leaders of the affected Okada riders unit for an urgent meeting.
“The Command wishes to debunk the rumor that the disagreement, not violence as being peddled in the social media, was between some ethnic groups. Without mincing words, the incident has no ethic coloration whatsoever but a mere conflict between transport unions and their okada units on ticketing and increment in tariff.
“The Command, therefore, enjoins members of the public, especially those around the areas, including the students of the Lagos State University (LASU) Ojo, to go about their lawful businesses and studies respectively, as adequate deployment has been done to fortify security in the axis and by extension, in Lagos State in general.”