Laleye Dipo in Minna
There was pandemonium and panic in Suleja town of Niger State on Tuesday morning following a clash between two transport unions, National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN).
The clash was over the control of a motor park in the Kantoma area of the town.
According to an eyewitness, an NURTW member, Sani Abdullahi, had loaded his vehicle for the trip to Abuja and was about departing the park when an unnamed RTEAN member accosted him and demanded N50 commission.
The witness said Abdullahi declined giving the RTEAN member the money, saying that the Kantoma garage did not belong to any of the transport unions.
An argument was said to have ensued between them, which degenerated into fisticuffs.
It was said that about 15 members of RTEAN beat Sani Abdullahi which eventually resulted in him losing consciousness.
The situation became riotous and led into a free for all during which dangerous weapons were freely used by the combatants.
As a result, traders around the Kantoma area hurriedly shut down their shops and fled the area.
The timely intervention of the police however saved the situation from escalating.
The police blocked the entry and exit points to the park with their vehicles and also deployed heavily armed personnel to the park to stop the fight from escalating.
The Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Muhammad Abubakar, confirmed the clash, saying it was caused by a disagreement between two union members over N100 commission.
DSP Abubakar said the police had taken charge of the situation though no arrest was made because the union members had “fled the scene”.
“We are patrolling the area to ensure we sustain the peace,” he said.