New Union, TUSON replaces NURTW in Lagos, asks court to stop extortion of Lagos drivers
A new transport union, Transport Union Society of Nigeria (TUSON) may have emerged to replace the National Union of Road Transport Workers(NURTW), following the crisis that has rocked NURTW in Lagos State, as a lawyer, Olukoya Ogungbeje, has approached a Federal High Court, Lagos, on behalf of TUSON, seeking to stop all union levies collected by Alhaji Musiliu Akinsanya (MC Oluomo) led NURTW from Lagos State transport operators.
Others listed as Oluomo’s co-respondents in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/224/2022 are: Registered Trustees Of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW); Registered Trustees Of Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN); Registered Trustees Of Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO); Alhaji Musilu Akinsanya (a.k.a MC Oluomo); Alhaji Lawal Yusuf Othman; Lagos State Government; Attorney-General of Lagos State; Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and Director of State Security Service (SSS).
The lawyer, Ogungbeje, filed the suit for himself and on behalf of a new transport union, TUSON, pursuant to section 33, 36, 40, and 46 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria; Order 4, Rules 3; 4(4)(5) and 11 of the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure Rules, 2009. The motion Exparte was supported with 34 paragraphs affidavit deposed to by the lawyer.
Moving the suit’s Exparte motion before the court, today, Ogungbeje had asked the court for an order restraining the Respondents jointly and severally, whether by themselves, their agents, officials, servants privies, officers and/or whosoever called from forceful imposition, collection, extortion, further forceful imposition, extortion and collection of any transport Union levies. dues, fees or monies Motor-Parks levies, dues, fees or monies, Bus-Stop levies, dues. fees or monies, Vehicle Garage levies, dues, fees or monies or any Transport Union Monies, dues or levies from any person, commercial vehicle diver and or transporter that is not a member of the respondents in connection with the facts of this case pending the hearing and determination of the Substantive Originating Motion filed before this Honourable Court.
He also asked the court for an order restraining Lagos State Government and it’s Attorney-General, jointly and severally, whether by themselves, their Ministries, Organs, agents, officials. servants, privies, officials, officers and/or howsoever called from further enforcement ard or implementation of the N800, 00, Transport Union levy due and money imposed on every transporter and commercial vehicle driver in Lagos State commenced on the 1st of February 2022, in connection with the facts of this case pending the hearing and determination of the substarive originating motion filed before this Honourable Court.
He also asked the court for an order restraining all the respondents jointly and severally, whether by themselves, their agents, officials, servants, privies, officers and or howsoever called from arresting, detaining, harassing, embarrassing, humiliating, inviting, seizing and confiscating any commercial vehicle, disturbing and or interfering with the lawful Transport Business operations of the Applicant and his Transport Union members in connection with the facts of this case pending the hearing and determination of the substantive Originating Motion filed before this Honourable Court.
Justice Lifu after listened to Ogungbeje’s submissions, ordered all the respondents in the suit to show cause with seven days from today or from the day they were served with the application, why the orders sought for should not be granted. He however adjourned the matter till May 24, 2022, for further hearing.
Ogungbeje in his affidavit claimed to be the Interim National Chairman of Transport Union Society of Nigeria (TUSON), an association of Transport Unions in Nigeria and that by virtue of his call to the Nigerian Bar and having sworn to uphold the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in line with Rule 1 of the Rules of professional conduct for Legal Practitioners in Nigeria.
He also stated that he has a duty as a Minister in the Temple of Justice and Legal Practitioner to protect and defend the sanctity of the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from any constitutional contravention or infraction, violation and breach. And that his fundamental right to freedom of association guaranteed under section 40 of the Constitution has been and is being violated by the Respondents.
He stated that the varying imposition of forceful collection of levies, dues, monies and Transport dues at Garages, Motor-parks, Bus-Stops by the Respondents and the recent imposition N80O, OO (Eight Hundred Naira) transport levy imposed on all transporters and Drivers by the Lagos State Government and it’s Attorney-Generaland enforced on February 2, 2022 without recourse to section 36 and 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is clearly unconstitutional.
The lawyer averred that his transport Union members are NOT members of the respondents and are bound by the modus operandi of the respondents. While adding that for sometimes, the respondents especially the first, Second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth respondents have been forcefully collecting illegal transport levies, union dues and monies from any person, driver and transporter in Lagos State regardless whether the person, driver or transporter is a member of the:r association or not.
He averred that recently the Lagos State Government and it’s Attorney-General ordered the imposition of N800.00 (Eight Hundred Naira) transport levy on every transporter and Driver in Lagos State commenced on the 1st of February 2022. Stating that upon the commencement of his association in Lagos State, TUSON and its members are not exempted from the forceful collection of transport levies, Union dues, garage and motor-Parks and bus-stop dues and monies despite the fact that our members are not members of the Respondents.
Ogungbeje averred further that the first to sixth respondents have continued to use Lagos State Government, it’s Attorney-General and SSS to arrest, detain, seize, confiscate the vehicles of his members and disturb his members lawful business, adding that the agents and officials of the respondents have vowed and threaten that they would continue to restrict and hinder the business operations of our members until our members become their members.
He stated that it has now dawned on them and their members that the respondents are hell bent on forcing and coercing him and his Transport Union members into becoming members of the first to sixth respondents contrary to the provision of sections 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that guarantees right to freedom of association.
He also stated that “it is clear that Lagos State Government and Attorney-General are hell bent on enforcing the N800, 00 Transport levy on every transporter and driver in Lagos State commenced on February 1 2022.” While adding that the continuous violation of his and its Transport Union members) rights by the Respondents have reached it’s crescenco necessitating judicial intervention for appropriate enlightenment and redress in a court of competent jurisdiction.
He stated that first to eight respondents have vowed and threatened to continue to use policemen and other security agents to harass intimidate, detain disturb and extort the him and it’s Transport Union members under the guise of payment of association dues and coerce him and it’s members into becoming their members.
He averred that the respondents being creations and creatures of the Constitution are subject to the whims and caprices of the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. And that their acts and actions are not justified by law in the face of the brazen and oppressive violation on his rights and being Transport Union members to freedom of association.
He also stated that the acts and actions of the respondents have oppressively infringed upon him and his transport union members right to freedom of association guarantee under the Constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria
He stated that the above developments have precipitated the institution of the application for protection of fundamental rights and sanctity of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Adding that if the respondents are not restrained by the honourable court, there will be further infringement on his rights and his transport Union members fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He stated that the honourable court has the power and jurisdiction to jealously guard the provisions of Chapter IV and other provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. And that it is in the interest of justice that this Honourable Court of law intervenes to uphold the rights of Nigerians and the sanctity of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.