The violence occurred in Ogun State, South Western Nigeria.
About twenty vehicles were damaged, while nine people were injured on Thursday in Abeokuta when members of a transport union engaged themselves in bloody clash.
The incidents occurred at the Ita Oshin and Kuto motor parks, where various dangerous weapons, charms and other missiles were used by members of the Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria, RTEAN.
Residents of the two areas were seen running helter-skelter for their lives, and scampered to safety in order not to be caught in the violence.
At least three suspects have been arrested by the police for taking part in the violence.
A witness of the Kuto incident said the violence broke out when some members loyal to a rival state chairman of the transport union, Lateef Oriola, stormed the motor park and attempted to seize control of it.
The witness said the members of the Oriola-led faction of the union were resisted by the drivers at the park, which led to the violence.
“They caught the drivers at Kuto who were mainly drivers of Abuja-bound buses by surprise. Nobody expected them at that time. They created fears and panic amongst the residents of this area. It was like a war zone,” the witness said.
In his reaction, a rival state chairman of the transport union, Mugisu Akinpelu, told journalists, that he had secured a court judgment against the Oriola-led faction. He displayed a copy of a letter from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity confirming him and three others as the authentic executives of the association in Ogun State.
He said it was illegal for members of the Oriola faction to attempt to seize control of the motor parks from the “authentic executives” of the RTEAN in the state.
The garage boss expressed regret that many members of the association were injured and several vehicles belonging to them were vandalized during the violence.
“If we had known that they were coming, we would have removed all our vehicles from the motor parks. They have vandalized many of our vehicles worth hundreds of millions of Naira. We could not engage them in a fight because of our huge investments in these vehicles. Some of them were procured from loans obtained from banks,” he stated.
“We have a case against him (Oriola) in the Industrial Court. We don’t want any crisis or violence in Ogun State. These people causing problems can run away but I as the RTEAN state chairman have nowhere to run to,” Mr. Akinpelu said.
He appealed to the state government and security agencies to save the members of the association from “Lateef Oriola and his boys,”
“We know him as a land speculator and not a transporter,” he said.
In his reaction, the General Manager of the Ogun State Parks and Garages Development Board, Ayo Ogunsolu, said that the government was not in any way involved in the crisis between the rival factions.
Mr. Ogunsolu warned the RTEAN factions to settle their differences amicably, warning that anyone caught disturbing the peace of the state would be made to face the wrath of the law.
The police also read a riot act to the members of the association warning that the command would not tolerate any act of violence.
The Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, in a statement said that three suspects had been arrested in connection with the violence at the two motor parks.
“The Commissioner of Police, Ogun, CP Ikemefuna Okoye has warned the transport unions in the state to maintain law and order as the command will not condone any act of hooliganism or violence,” he said.
The spokesperson said it was the quick response of the police that restored normalcy to the area and that “the police rescued five injured ones to the hospital.”
“The Command will investigate this (violence) and bring to book anyone found wanting. The command assures the good people of Ogun State adequate security,” he said.