Not less than two people including one Lati Bashiru were on Wednesday shot and several others injured after members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) clashed in Igando, Lagos.
It was gathered that the violence which broke out around 7 am over the control of garage continued till about 2 pm when policemen from the Rapid Response Squad (RRS), Area M Command and Igando Police Division dispersed them.
Several shops were said to have been looted and road users robbed of their valuables as the hoodlums freely exchanged gunshots, bottles, charms and sticks which hit the road users scampering to safety.
According to witnesses, the hoodlums rough-handed a policeman who attempted to broker peace when the fight broke out and took him, hostage until reinforcements were deployed.
The Nation reports that both unions have been embroiled in bitter supremacy battles overtime but the situation had worsened since the new leadership emerged on both sides.
Sources said yesterday’s clash at Igando followed the alleged imposition of one Olorunfemi Ogunlaye, a loyalist of NURTW Lagos State Council Chairman Musiliu Akinsanya alias MC Oluomo.
It was gathered that Ogunlaye who left the NURTW for RTEAN some years ago was suspended by the leadership of the latter for alleged anti-union activities forcing him to return to NURTW where MC Oluomo gave him a top position.
Said to command a cult following among thugs in Igando, Ogunlaye was alleged to have attempted to use his position to hijack control of the packs from RTEAN, a move that was allegedly opposed by thugs loyal to one Jafo.
It was gathered that Jafo led RTEAN members numbering over 500 hundred from their old Akesan base to invade Last Bus Stop a busy junction that connects Isuti Road, Igando and Olowonla Bus Stops, to take over the sale of tickets by men loyal to Ogunlaye.
The move was however, resisted by the NURTW thugs alleged to have opened fire on the rival group which led to a free for all that escalated to eight bus stops in the locality.
Among those allegedly robbed was a woman said to have been fleeced of her N150, 000; the owner of a new car wash whose iPhone was snatched and a bar owner Mrs Jonathan Ifeoma whose cartons of beverages, chicken and goat meat were looted after her son was beaten up.
A source who refused to be named said about 10 pellets were removed from Bashiru’s body at a treatment centre along Old Akesan Road Igando. One Mrs Aberejo Olucho whose left leg was cut also received treatment.
The source alleged Bashiru was shot by one of Jafo’s boys known as Saka in retaliation of the shooting of the latter’s boy by thugs loyal to Ogunlaye.
“They also accused him of being friends with an NURTW member known as Taiye. The fight was very serious. Both sides had guns, charms and bottles. They started robbing and beating people when more police people came there and were shooting.
“So many people were injured. Some sustained injuries while running and they fell. Others were hit by bottle or knife while two people were hit by bullets.
“The police arrested about 10 suspects including Ogunlaye’s younger brother who was carrying a gun,” said the source.
Contacted, MC Oluomo said the fight started because RTEAN members saw Ogunlaye as a threat after he returned to NURTW.
He denied his members looted and robbed innocent road users, claiming that such action must have been carried out by thugs loyal to the other side.
“One of the RTEAN leaders called Jafo led boys to attack him (Ogunlaye). Jafo faction brought gun two of them were disarmed. They were handed over to the police with the gun they brought,” he said.
Police spokesman Bala Elkana said eight suspects have so far been arrested, adding that the investigation was ongoing.
He confirmed that two persons were shot in the fracas with pellets and they were responding to treatment, adding that the police have launched manhunt for the leaders of the groups who led the fight.