You can’t suspend our activities, RTEAN tells Sanwo-Olu
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The National leadership of the Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria has asked the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to unseal its Lagos State office which he shut following the crisis in two out of the over 320 chapels of the association across the state.
The governor had reportedly sealed the state office, suspended the entire Lagos State branch of the association and appointed a 35-member caretaker committee to run the affairs of the branch shortly after the isolated incidents in two chapels.
A statement made available to The PUNCH on Sunday by the association’s Deputy National President, Abubakar Bishara, said the governor has no power to suspend the activities of any trade union, describing his action as unconstitutional.
The statement read in part, “None of the provisions of the Trade Unions Act confers or gives any power to any state governor to suspend the activities of any Trade Union, nor empowers the governor of Lagos State or any other state to appoint a caretaker committee for a Trade Union as a branch of it. The action of the governor is therefore ultra-vires and unconstitutional.
“We wish to further inform the members of the press that the constitution of RTEAN, which has been tested before the National Industrial Court, has made elaborate provision for chairmen of branches of the association to contest elections in the National body either as President or any other office and if elected, could also hold the two positions without hindrance by any law as the provision of the constitution of the association.”
“The association said the governor should have advised aggrieved members to approach the court “and not for the governor to delve into resolving constitutional issues embedded in the RTEAN constitution. It is not his responsibility.”
It added, “In any case, it is unfortunate that the very members who engineered and carried out the fracas are part of the people the governor appointed as members of the caretaker committee. It shows clearly that the governor took sides with those contesting the issue of the president of RTEAN doubling as the chairman of the Lagos branch of RTEAN.
“We, therefore, appeal to the governor of Lagos State to rescind his decision to suspend the activities of the Lagos branch and allow the RTEAN national body to look into the matter in line with its constitution.”