•Says govt has no stay of execution to stop industrial pronouncement
•Demands release of seized vehicles, opening of trade union’s office
•We have filed an appeal against the judgment, government insists
Members of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) yesterday, marched on the streets of Lagos to protest the takeover of motor parks by the Lagos State government.
The peaceful protest was also staged over the proscription of the Road Transport Employees Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) and the seizure of their vehicles by the Lagos State government.
The protest started early in the morning from Ikeja roundabout to the Lagos State House of Assembly, where the protesters were received by some lawmakers, led by the Deputy Majority Leader representing Ikeja Constituency 2, Hon. Adedamola Kasunmu.
President of TUC, Festus Osifo, while speaking with newsmen at the Lagos State House of Assembly during the solidarity protest with RTEAN, said the protest became necessary as the government had failed to yield to court judgment and the request of the union on the matter.
According to Osifo, the RTEAN was proscribed sometime last year and afterwards, the Lagos State government went ahead to seize all their equipment and took over their offices, including their vehicles, “and we believe that this is not acceptable.”
He explained further that, “We know that trade unionism is not in the concurrent list and so a state government does not have the power to proscribe a trade union. This is absolutely the responsibility of the federal government.
“We approached the industrial court for judgement and it was clearly stated that the Lagos State Government has no right to proscribe trade unions.
“We wrote a letter to the State Governor to open the office of RTEAN, which they forcefully took over and release their vehicles, which were seized by government officials, but I can tell you that the government is already using the vehicles.”
Speaking further, the TUC President added: “The actions of the government amount to criminality and stealing. We wrote to them that what they did is not good, but the government failed to yield to our request.”
When reminded by journalists that the state government said that they had appealed the case, he said that the governor knows what to do.
“As at today, they don’t have a stay of execution from the court. We will make our voice heard,” Osifo said.
Earlier, in a statement made available to journalists, the Commissioner of Information, Mr. Gbenga Omotosho, said the state government had filed an appeal against the judgment and has a pending application for stay of execution of the said judgement.
He maintained that the protest would be in breach of the rule of law, which expects both parties to maintain status quo, pending determination of the application for stay of execution and appeal.
“TUC/RTEAN should embrace dialogue. It is better and safer for our economic and social well-being,” he added.