BY LEKE ADESERI, S-WEST REGIONAL EDITOR & OLA AJAYI
IBADAN—FEW hours after the newly-sworn in Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi vowed not to allow lawlessness, the crisis-ridden Oyo State chapter of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, factions yesterday clashed leaving one dead and 10 others injured.
The bloody clash which has become a recurring decimal in the state sacked the ever-busy Iwo road end of Ibadan also led to the vandalisation of over 60 vehicles belonging to members of the union and other unidentified people. Most of the vehicles destroyed were commercial buses.
According to State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Baba Adisa Bolanta while briefing newsmen on the bloody clash that lasted over three hours, said 15 suspects had been arrested in connection with the melee.
But the embattled chairman of the union in the state, Alhaji Lateef Akinsola (a.k.a. Tokyo) told Vanguard yesterday that the Police Commissioner is the problem of the union.
According to him; “The police commissioner had given us go ahead to take over our motor parks that were forcefully handed over to the Mukaila Lamidi (a.k.a Auxiliary) faction by the immediate past governor, Otunba Adebayo Alao Akala.
“We did not know that he was laying a bait for us. After we took over the parks, Alhaji Bolanta came after my men killing one Dele Aiyeoba, a driver, in the process.
“It is the CP that is disturbing Oyo State because he is supporting the illegal faction of the union when all he needed do was to arrest Auxiliary.”
Tokyo also denied the allegation that his men started the crisis.
He accused the CP of bias, saying he had been witch-hunting his loyalists owing to the past frictions between him and the CP. Tokyo added that the CP was doing this to paint him as the mastermind of the crisis.
Meantime, CP Bolanta explained that the dead member of the union was shot dead when he allegedly attempted to attack the policemen sent to quell the riot with machete.
Bolanta gave the names of those arrested as Saheed Adekunle, Wasiu Muibi, Opeyemi Ogunjinmi (33), Olatunji Lawal (24), Sunday Omilani (20), Wale Ajayi (22) and Olayemi Omoolouwa (22).
Others were Rilwan Muritala (19), Taofeek babalola (35), Adam Rasheed (32), Olatunbosun Mufutau (45), Muniru Oladejo (40), Abass Ganiyu (27), Dauda Kolawole (28) and Bashiru Ibraheem (32).
Vanguard gathered that trouble erupted when some loyalists of the reinstated Chairman of the union, Alhaji Lateef Akinsola aka Tokyo allegedly stormed the Iwo road park and tried to send the other faction led by Mukaila Lamidi aka Auxiliary away.
On the arrests Tokyo said; “Those NURTW members arrested by the police whom the CP alleged belonged to my faction were picked up outside the parks, even with some nabbed in their residences. The CP, Bolanta never picked up any union member seen to be Auxiliary supporter. Needless repeating the obvious that Bolanta’s motive is to continue to support the Mukaila Lamidi a.k.a. Auxiliaty-led faction as he has been doing over the last one year.”
According to the information gathered, when they first clashed, Tokyo boys overpowered his rival and the latter went for reinforcement. It was gathered that they came with some men in military uniforms.
The Police Public Officer, SP Olatunji Ajimuda said a faction of the union narrated how they allegedly saw some men in uniform trying to help the Auxiliary faction.
Their intervention was said to have prevented the other faction from gaining control of the garage. Expectedly, the Iwo road interchange where the clash happened soon turned to a ghost town as many motorists and traders abandoned their wares and fled the troubled spot.
It was also gathered that some of the boys who ignited the clash were in the same uniform used by the union to mark the inauguration of the new governor on Sunday.
Police said they recovered dangerous weapons like cutlasses, axe, charms and other dangerous weapons and two Nissan cars and a commercial bus.
They gave the number plate of the vehicles as XY260 NRK (Oyo), XG 494 BDJ (Oyo) and XB 861 DDA (Oyo) were impounded from the hoodlums.
By OLA AJAYI, IBADAN