…Commuters suffer untold hardship .Transporters lament .I lost over N80m to clashes – Istijaba
Commuters residing in some parts of Lagos ranging from Fagba, Mushin, Ayobo, Ekoro, Oke-Odo, Meiran/Ijaye and Abule-Egba to mention but a few now hold their hearts in their hands as unexpected clashes may erupt unexpectedly.
This has been so for some time but aggravated in April as there have been consistent shootings which has affected economic, vehicular and human activities. People now go about in fear of the unknown.
Residents of the affected areas claim that there were pockets of criminal activities ranging from stealing and vandalisation of property as hoodlums have taken advantage of the ongoing clashes between the loyalists of the suspended Chairman, National Union of Road Transport Workers NURTW, Lagos State, Alhaji Musiliu Akinsanya popularly known as MC Oluomo and Lagos State Chairman, Tricycle Owners and Operators Association of Nigeria TOOAN, Alhaji Azees Abiola popularly known as Istijaba over the management of various tricycle parks in the state.
The clashes assumed another dimension on Sunday as there were shootings at different times of the day in Ekoro, Kola, Mosalasi, Command, Ajasa, Meiran and Abule-Egba to mention but a few as commuters and residents scampered for safety while activities in the areas were paralysed for hours.
Eye witnesses’ account said property worth millions of naira were destroyed, stolen and snatched.
It was gathered that about 30 commercial vehicles were damaged by the warring parties.
While this lasted, commuters were stranded at various bus-stops as transporters hurriedly closed their business for safety of their vehicles.
Narrating the situation on Sunday, a transporter at Meiran, Samuel Benedict said the fight began on Saturday evening when some loyalists took to tricycle parks to sack the existing park managers amidst intimidations.
According to him, the constant clashes in the area have resulted in hoodlums having their field day by extorting and harassing the transporters. ’Istijaba’s faction collects N800 daily as stipulated by TOOAN while MC Oluomo’s faction has no specific fee as they collect their daily fee based on their mood although their daily fee is not less than N2,100, sometimes they collect even more and failure to comply may amount to harassment.
A resident of Abule-Egba Bunmi Awodehin said the constant clashes have generated tension around the area as nobody knows what happens next. ‘’I am planning to relocate my business from the area because I am tired of gunshots all the time,’’ she said.
Recall that last Friday, there were pockets of violence around Ekoro, Agbele, Ile-Iwe and Abule-Egba axis which paralysed commercial and vehicular activities when some of the loyalists engaged in exchange of gunshots.
Similarlly, Ayobo area of Lagos witnessed violent clashes on Wednesday when the warring parties engaged in forceful taking over of tricycle parks. As at press time, residents of the affected areas were living in fear although spokesperson, Lagos State Police Command, Benjamin Hundeyin has assured residents to go about their businesses peaceably. It was gathered that the clashes have led to increase in fares as some area boys have hijacked the situation to cause increase in fares.
Efforts to reach Alhaji Akinsanya were unsuccessful as calls to his cell phones were left unattended to.
However, Istijaba said so far, he lost property worth over N80m to the clashes.
‘’Over 20 vehicles including cars, buses and tricycles were destroyed on Sunday between Abule-Egba and Oshodi while millions of naira were carted away when the rival group attacked my pump station on AIT Road, Agbado-Ijaiye area.
‘’While the attack on my pump station took place over the weekend, the rival group went to the house of one of my loyalists on Friday night and stabbed him severally while they traced another of my loyalists to Ifo, Ogun State and hacked him to death,’’ he said.
He did not mention whether the matter was incidented with the Police.
Earlier, Spokesperson, Benjamin Hundeyin said Policemen have been deployed t strategic places.