Hundreds of commuters were stranded yesterday in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, when operators of the popular Micra cabs protested the introduction of new fees by the state branch of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW).

Some operators, who addressed reporters on the matter, called for the abolition of NURTW.
They described the union as a burden to operators.

They urged the government to intervene in the face-off to avert a crisis.

The operators, mostly youths, were said to have descended on NURTW officials before security agents were called in to restore peace.

Following the clash, the commercial cab drivers instructed their members to protest what they called the inhuman treatment meted out to them.
Hundreds of commuters were stranded during the protest, while others were forced to trek long distance.

Commercial motorcyclists took advantage of the crisis to charge exorbitant fares.

Hundreds of Micra car operators were seen parked at both sides of the dual-carriage way.
Some security agents, including policemen, were on hand to check the protesters.

An official of the NURTW, who spoke in confidence, told newsmen the matter was about the union.
The union member said it had been settled.

He said: “This is a union matter; it has been settled. Let me give you my phone number. Call me back and meet me in the office.”
The union official declined to make further comments.

A union leader, who identified himself simply as Tajudeen, said: “I left there when I realised that the trouble was becoming too much.”
One of the aggrieved Micra operators, Mr. Saheed Wasiu said: “What happened today is that the NURTW wanted to introduce another fee. They have pushed us to the wall. They are fond of establishing illegal motor parks where they collect money from us – from junction to junction.
“This morning, they said they wanted to start collecting money from us. Each side is to pay N100, making both sides’ charges N200. The money will be collected in the morning, afternoon and after (evening).”

A angry operator, who pleaded not to be named, said: “We want their leaders to intervene. We don’t have any money left to take home.
“From Ojoo to Dugbe, we pay 200 every day. Now, they want to introduce another one.

“In essence, we don’t want the union again. We don’t want them anymore. It was not like this before.”

Source:Nigeria News Today. Your online Nigerian Newspaper