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Strike: Group backs Lagos drivers, condemns abduction, torture

The Socialist Workers & Youths League has declared support for the ongoing strike action of the Joint Drivers Welfare Association of Nigeria.

JDWAN started a seven-day strike action on October 31, 2022 across the length and breadth of Lagos State to press home demands against extortion on roads allegedly by the motor parks and garages management in the state.

In a statement on Monday, signed by its National Chairperson and Secretary, Frances Akinjole and Kelvin Ayemhenre respectively, the SWL condemned the alleged abduction and torture of one of the drivers, identified as Ashimiyu Idowu.

“The SWL fully supports this historic action by this radical independent body of commercial drivers, which has risen to challenge the arbitrariness and extortionist transport workers’ which are aligned with different sections of the ruling class.

“The SWL further calls for justice for Ashimiyu Idowu, a leading member of JDWAN who was abducted earlier this morning by agbèròs (as touts of the pro-establishment transport unions are called), beaten up and tortured, and several other members of JDWAN who have been attacked by these touts, in different parts of Lagos.

“The JDWAN is protesting the multiple and excessive extortions of its members by the management of the Lagos State Transportation Parks and Garages Management Committee, led by Musiliu Akinsanya aka “MC Oluomo”, a well-known ‘millionaire thug’ and supporter of the ruling All Progressives Congress in Lagos,” the statement said partly.

The league noted that JDWAN members were exercising their constitutional rights to withdraw their services faced with exploitation and oppression. “The brutal response of the pro-government thugs is utterly condemnable. Riding on motorbikes and wielding weapons, they swooped in on JDWAN activists, monitoring the strike at strategic bus stops in the city, wounding quite several radical members of JDWAN,” it stated.

The PUNCH has also received reports of alleged attack on some of the striking drivers allegedly by some yet-to-be-identified persons.

The SWL condemned the attack, saying “We place the responsibility for these attacks squarely at the doorstep of the Lagos State APC government led by Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

“These discredited politicians of the ruling class must be brought to book for the violence being meted out to JDWAN members, alongside their over-pampered minions led by “MC Oluomo.”

The league made the following demands:

• Immediate stop of all arbitrary and extortionist charges by the Parks and Garages management committee and the NURTW.

• The immediate release of Ashimiyu Idowu and compensation for the torture he has been subjected to.

• Prosecution of everybody involved in the brutalisation of Ashimiyu Idowu and any other members of JDWAN, including their masters at the government house.

• Full respect for the right of JDWAN to organise, and the promotion of independent unions in the transport sector.

 

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