The Tricycle Owners and Operators Association of Nigeria (TOOAN) on Saturday called for a different identity for tricycle riders to enable them to address their peculiar issues and improve their welfare.
The Lagos State chairman of the association, Mr Azeez Abiola, said the time is ripe for a separate and independent association for tricycle riders.
Abiola made the call while addressing journalists against the backdrop of recent clashes between members of TOOAN and members of the Nigeria Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in Lagos State.
He appealed to the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to wade into the matter.
“Our union has been existing for over 20 years now, but there was a time we experienced leadership crisis and we were called upon to choose between NURTW and Road Transport Employers Association.
“We were then affiliated with the NURTW, and since then we have been paying our dues and other levies directly to the union. It spanned the two previous administrations of NURTW executives.
“However, while we are affiliated with the NURTW, we have our activities controlled by our local executives until recently when the newly-appointed NURTW boss, Mr Musliu Akinsola, called for the dissolution of our executive committee.
“After the dissolution by the incumbent administration of NURTW, caretaker administrators were imposed on us, those that are not directly involved in our business,” he said.
Abiola said that the TOOAN had to write a petition to the national body of NURTW in Abuja, to state its plight and it was resolved amicably.
“We wrote a petition to the national body of NURTW in Abuja and we were called for a parley together with the NURTW Lagos executive; we stated our claims, and we, as TOOAN members, were asked to go back to status quo.
“The resolution of the meeting which had in attendance all the management of the NURTW national body, was that we should choose executives among TOOAN members for Lagos chapter since we are an affiliate of NURTW.
“We were also instructed to pay all our dues and levies to the Lagos State chapter of NURTW; we all assented to a copy of the resolution in the meeting.
“Under the new arrangement and resolution, I was chosen to be the new chairman of Lagos State Chapter of TOOAN on February 9, and the national body of NURTW directed that we should continue to operate in our existing state office,” he said.
Abiola, however, alleged that the Lagos State chapter of NURTW failed to honour the resolution made in Abuja and sealed TOOAN’s office in Lagos.
“After the successful deliberations with the national body of NURTW in Abuja, I was summoned by the Lagos State chapter of NURTW for a meeting which turned out to be a different reaction from the Abuja parley.”