There was wild jubilation among Lagos tricycle operators popular known as ‘Keke Marwa’ under the auspices of Tricycle Owners Association of Nigeria (TOAN), as an industrial court sitting in Ikoyi has pronounced the Association as the only Body authorised by the Registrar of the Trade Unions cap.14 of the 2004 of the Trade Union Act of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to regulate, coordinate and protect the interest of all tricycle workers nationwide.
It would be recalled that the matter, which had been in court since 2016 among the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Road Transport Employees Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) and Tricycle Owners Association of Nigeria (TOAN) when TOAN sought for autonomy of operation has generated a lot of controversies and crises in the past before the court judgment.
Also, due to the crises being generated among the factions, Lagos State government suspended ticketing activities of all the associations until the outcome of the court judgment.
Addressing journalists recently, at the Secretariat of the Trade Union Congress in Lagos, Acting Chairman, TOAN Lagos State chapter, Chief Tunji Oyeniyi said TOAN was registered as a Trade Union organisation on January 26, 2016 as an affiliate of Trade Union Congress of Nigeria by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment with its primary objective being to coordinate, regulate and monitor the activities of all three wheels in the country.
“It is noteworthy that this became necessary due to the challenges of undue exploitations and avoidable interferences by Bodies, individuals, groups or organisations who pretend to represent the interest of tricycle workers whereas the entire workers continue to wallop in abject poverty and degradation as a result of high level exploitation and negligence”, he said.
He said moreover, it is the opinion of the present body to reposition tricycle operations in the State and Nigeria at large by ensuring that tricycle operations are more acceptable, enduring, viable, effective and sustainable as a poverty alleviation programme that can be accommodated in a mega city plan towards a metropolitan city like Lagos.
The acting chairman called on members in the state and other tricycle stakeholders nationwide to identify with the body as soon as possible as well as to remain loyal and law abiding citizens.
Counsel to the Association, Barrister Femi Aborishade congratulated members of TOAN fundamentally for being law abiding and patient in the cause of proceedings since 2016 before the judgment was finally given, especially those that suffered various forms of attacks from the other factions.
He said since the judgment has been delivered in favour of TOAN, it means Lagos State government now gives the association due recognition as the body recognized by Trade Union Congress that can carry out profit making activities of tricycle operators in Nigeria.
“We now call upon the Lagos state government as a state created under the Nigeria constitution to also obey, observe and enforce the judgment of the court that is equally created under the same constitution, we also call on security agents to ensure that all other persons behave according to the rule of the judgment by not taking laws into their hands”, he said.
He said NURTW and RTEAN are no umbrella organisations as Nigerian Union Congress and Trade Union Congress stressing that NURTW and RTEAN cannot admit any other body according to law and if they do so, it is illegal because NUC and TUC are the only recognized body under the Law that any Body or Association can affiliate with.