By Bose Adebayo
He had spent a lot of money planning for the naming ceremony of his son, while his relations in Akure had assured him of their readiness to grace the occasion. But the ceremony later turned to a mourning session when six of his relations became victims of an outbreak of violence.
They sustained varying degrees of injury when the commercial bus that conveyed them from Akure, the capital of Ondo State was intercepted at OjuwoyeÂ and they were dispossessed of valuable items. Also, many of his friends and well-wishers who took off from different locations in Lagos could not get to the venue as they had to scamper for safety in a bid to escape from hoodlums who barricaded the entire area.
The hoodlums had almost all last week held sway in theÂ Mushin Olo-osa area of Lagos, unleashing terror onÂ residentsÂ as they fought for supremacy among themselves.Â In fact, it was said that Mushin in its entirety was embroiled in confusion as supporters of two factional leaders of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) engaged themselves in a free-for-all fight that saw them brandishing different kinds of weapons, forcing residents to flee their homes for fear of being injured or killed.
Mushin has since then become a no-go area to many commuters and motorists. The incident also affected other parts of Lagos as Mushin residents were stranded in most motor parks. The two factions of the NURTW had engaged themselves in a war of supremacy over some of the motor parks in the area.
They were said to have employed all sorts of weapons like machetes, guns, cutlasses, axes and charms such thatÂ many buses were destroyed as commercial drivers became the main targets of the warring factions.
A survivor of the attack, Nureni Olayemi recounted how the naming ceremony of his son was disrupted by the supporters of the two factions: â€œSome of my relations who arrived Ojuwoye from Ibadan becameÂ targets of the attack as they were disposed of valuable items. None of them died but six of them were seriously injured in the process,â€ he recounted.
Trouble started last Tuesday around Total and Ojuwoye when some supporters of a faction clashed with a rival group from Idi-Oro over the control of a motor park at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital Junction.
According to eye witnesses account, members of a faction were returning from court after receiving a judgment in their favour which led to dancing and jubilation in some of the motor parks. The rival faction intercepted them and launched an attack that left a number of their victims with serious injuries.
A factional leader who spoke on condition of anonymity said the mayhem started over a year ago since two factional chairmen of NURTW, Akeem No-Case and Toba, had been on supremacy tussle. â€œThey have engaged themselves in hot argument over control of one of the motor parks which created room for their supporters to always engage in a free-for-all fight anywhere at the slightest disagreement,â€ he said.
Another source from the union also said the fracas was borne out of the fact that the Mushin factional leader popularly called Alado was imposed on the members. Some residents who spoke with this reporter said some of these factional chairmen have turned themselves toÂ demi-gods in the area such that residents could no longer sleep with their eyes closed. â€œThe chairmen have become something else; many of them are happy that people are fighting on their behalf,â€ said Ayelabola Adelanwa.
An eye witness who refused to disclose her identity said she went to the market to purchase food items for her children who were returning to school that day. â€œI had finished buying the items and was heading to the bus-stop to board a bus when the fracas started. All the items I bought were trampled on the floor while my bag was smashed in the process,â€ she lamented.
When Vanguard Metro visited the area, there were armoured tanks in strategic locations, while most shops and stalls were under lock and key with few commercial buses in operation.