Four dead, many injured in Lagos NURTW clash

The presence of armed police officers has brought relative peace in the area. Photo by Ben Ezeamalu

Uneasy calm has returned to Lagos Island after days of violent clashes between rival factions of the Nigeria Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in the state which has left, at least, four people dead and many others injured.

Armed police officers have been deployed to Idumagbo, Adeniji Adele, Oyebanji, and other volatile spots on the island to forestall further breakdown of law and order.

At Idumagbo Avenue and Adeniji Adele Road, jagged pieces of broken bottles and smashed windshields of vehicles littered the street.

Local touts, usually called area boys, huddled in groups discussing in low tones.

Armed police officers and police vans were stationed at strategic locations.

The usual boisterous ambience at Idumagbo market was a shadow of itself as shops remained closed.

Ikechi Elemu, a trader at Jankara, said that most shops were locked because hoodlums usually take advantage of the chaos to loot their goods.

“They are killing our market with these fights because as soon as they start shooting and people start running, these boys will use the opportunity to rob,” said Mr. Elemu, who sells trash cans.

“They should settle their fights inside their parks, not where we are doing our business,” Mr. Elemu added.

An irksome announcement

Premium Times gathered that the upheaval began when the national body of the NURTW announced its plan to schedule an election for the emergence of a new Lagos State chairman.

The announcement did not go down well with some of the members, particularly the supporters of Rafiu Olohunwa, the former Lagos State chairman, stated a member of the union who did not want to be named.

“They had thought that their man would be selected as chairman, and not elected,” the member added.

The ensuing violence, which began on Friday evening, continued through the weekend and persisted till Tuesday.

As the fight erupted, Monday morning, heavy traffic stretched from Adeniji Adele into the Third Mainland Bridge forcing motorists coming to the island to be stranded for hours.

“For the past two days we have not opened our shops because of these area boys, said Mr. Elemu.

Phone calls to Joseph Jaiyeola, the spokesperson of the Lagos State Police Command, were not responded to.

However, a police officer at the Jankara Police Post, Lagos Island, told Premium Times that the heavy police presence in the area would nip any new violence in the bud.

“You can see there are policemen all over the place now and everything has calmed down,” he said

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