The Lagos State chapter of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) has been reinstated by the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN).
The court in a sitting on Tuesday led by Justice Maureen Esowe voided the Lagos State Parks Administrator Caretaker Committee headed by Musiliu Akinsanya aka MC Oluomo.
Why The NICN Annulled the Lagos State Parks and Garages Caretaker Committee
The court noted that there has been interference from the Lagos State Government in the matters of the Union and this is illegal hence warned the LASG in interfering with the Union’s Executive.
Furthermore, the RTEAN in the State was mandated to be reinstated because the state government and the Police ought to have intervened by arresting and prosecuting those behind any fracas purportedly involving union members and not inquiring into the dispute.
While the police was forewarned from intimidating persons from the RTEAN by the judge, the suit from the defendants was also thrown away because the case was assumed to be straightforward.
Flashback To How The Hustle Started and Lagos RTEAN Was Dissolved
Following pockets of violence recorded in Ojo and Lagos Island over dispute on tickets sales in September 2022, the State Government had dissolved the union then setting up a Caretaker Committee.
The president of the union then kicked against how the members had been compelled to buy the union’s tickets despite the suspension of operations.
According to him, the committee set up by the government had hijacked their operations.
How RTEAN Won The Case
The Association in October 2022 had challenged the Lagos State Government over the dissolution of elected officers for the Union and a Caretaker Committee thereafter set up known as the Parks and Garages Administrators and then headed by MC Oluomo – a figure on the opposing side of the Union.
The suit was marked NICN/LA/381/2022 and the defendants in the case are the Lagos State Governor, the Attorney-General of the State, Moyosore Onigbanjo, and the Special Adviser to the governor on transportation, Sola Giwa.
Also, there is the 4th to 37th defendants which had included the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, and all the members of the caretaker Committee.
When the matter was heard in January 2023, it was argued by the counsel, Elisha Kurah, that a state cannot interfere in the affairs of a trade union which has been registered under the Trade Unions Act of 2004.
Cases as such are expected to be handled by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.l and not the State Government.
On the part of the State Government, the counsel, Adebayo Haroun contended that the government neither violated the law nor dissolved the national body’s operations in the state, but had sought to maintain law and order by creating the ad-hoc committee when violence ensued between the union’s.
Furthermore, Taiwo Kupolati (SAN), who was the counsel for the 5th to the 37th defendants said Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu had the power to maintain peace in the land.
There was a crisis and the governor exercised his authority as the Chief Security Officer of the state and put up a committee to be in charge of garages for peace to reign.