Transporters in Lagos State are to meet with the state government over the new traffic law which bars the National Union of Road Transport Workers from collecting tolls from public car parks and bus stops, among other restrictions on Monday (tomorrow).
The state Commissioner for Transportation, Mr. Kayode Opeifa, who disclosed last Friday, had said the union should carry out its daily operations from its office, like other unions.
He explained that the step was based on the report by the Justice Dolapo Akinsanya-led panel in 2008 on the functions of the NURTW.
Opeifa had said, “The report, which was given by the panel, comprises what Lagosians have been saying about the activities of the union: fighting and misuse of parks, collecting money on the roads indiscriminately, stopping passengers, abusing alcohol, among others.”
But, a former Chairman, Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, Lagos State Chapter, Bishop Law Edema, who spoke to our correspondent on the telephone on Saturday, said even though he had yet to be briefed about the development, the new state law could not stand.
He said, “What I know is that the Federal Government established the two transport unions, National Union of Road Transport Workers and RTEAN. Whichever law a state makes that is against the federal law will not stand. The state law must bow to the federal law.
The state Chairman, National Union of Road Transport Workers, Lagos State, Mr. Tajudeen Agbede, told SUNDAY PUNCH that he would keep mum on the issue until after a meeting with Opeifa on Monday.
He said, “We have informed the commissioner on our stand and we are meeting him on Monday. Whatever decision we reach will be made known to the public.”
The founder of Oodu’a Peoples Congress, Dr. Frederick Fasehun, however, lauded the government over the new policy, which he said was long overdue to check the menace of transporters in the state.
He said, “The law is right enough and very much in order. If Lagos State does not make laws that will check the menace of the transporters, its economy will just collapse. There is still more to do on the Okada (commercial motorcycles); there should be further checks on their operations because the menace it also constitutes is worrisome.”
Speaking on the barring of the NURTW officials who collect tolls from motorists, he added, “Why do people want to reap where they did not sow? If you ask Lagosians of their reaction to this, 80 to 90 per cent of them will say the step is in order.”