NURTW-RTEAN Clash Claims one Life in Minna

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By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna.
For three days running, the Abdulsalami Abubakar Central Motor Park in Minna has remained closed following an ugly clash between two rival groups at the park.
A member of one of the rival groups was hacked to death while no fewer than six others were injured in the clash of superiority over who should load commuters into commercial vehicles at the park.
Following the ugly confrontation, Niger State Government has waded into the matter and asked security to close up the park and monitor the activities of the two groups to avert further confrontations.
Our correspondent gathered that a mere misunderstanding between two members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, (NURTW) and the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, (RTEAN) led to a free for all fight at the Abdulsalami Abubakar Motor Park. The fight left one dead and scores of other injured while several vehicles and property were damaged.
 
The clash led to a hurried Security Council meeting of the state as members of the rival groups across the state were poised for more showdown in parts of the state.
Acting Governor of the state, Mohammed Ketso who presided over the meeting, directed security agencies to keep tab on the members across the state and to be vigilant at all motor parks to stem reprisal attacks and counter offensive by aggrieved members of the rival unions.
Ketso warned parties to the dispute against turning any part of the state into theatres of violence just as he asked law enforcers not to spare anybody that is out to test the might of the authority of the state by causing further breach of the existing peace in the state.
 
The Acting Governor also directed security agencies to immediately commence investigations into the bloody clash between members of the state’s chapters of the NURTW and their counterparts, the RTEAN.
He said anybody found to have played any role in the clash no matter how remotely connected or linked to the fight should be arrested and prosecuted. “Anyone found culpable in the disturbance must be brought top book no matter how highly placed”.
The clash between the two union members occurred Saturday afternoon and continued unabated till evening of the same day as more interested persons were dragged into the fight and was about to spread to other motor parks and garages within the state capital and other parts of the state.
The development led to the prompt closure of other business centres and shops on the fringes of the Abdulsalami Abubakar Motor park just as business activities therein in the park came to an abrupt end as members of the two unions engaged each other and deployed dangerous weapons including cudgels, swords, clubs, knives, daggers, sticks, iron bars of different sizes and shapes on each other to outdo one another.
Similarly, vehicular movements came to halt as the fight spilled out and over to the adjacent highway. Homes and even fuel pump stations closed ships as the fight escalated and people scampered for their dear lives.
The state government has now set up a committee to be chaired by the state Commissioner of Works and Transport which is expected to amongst other things identify parks and garages across the state. Identify the issues amongst the various unions and ensure maintenance of law and order in all parks and garages across the state.
Membership of the committee is also made up of representatives from the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, the National Association of Road Transport Owners and the National Union of Road Transport Workers as well representatives from security agencies in the state and the Permanent Secretary, Cabinet and Security who is to serve as secretary of the committee.

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