From Tony Osauzo, Benin
The Edo State government announced at the weekend that it recognises only two unions in the transport sector — the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN).
The Deputy Governor of the state, Philip Shuaibu, who disclosed this following a peace move by the RTEAN, urged the unions to go about their activities peacefully.
Shuaibu also told journalists after presiding over the meeting of the state’s Revenue Committee on Local Government Councils’ Uniform and Harmonised Levies, Fees, Rates and Charges, said that government was mindful of the rights of its people to freedom of association.
He explained that the government introduced the harmonised levies and streamlined the unions in accordance with the plan of the administration to give Edo a modern city status and boost the revenue base of the councils.
He called on commercial drivers in the state not to allow themselves to be used to foment trouble as government remains committed to maintaining peace and order in the state, warning that government would not hesitate to ban any union whose members’ activities constitute threats to peace and order in the state.
The Deputy Governor advised drivers to liaise with their union’s leaders on any issue, saying that unionism remains a right to freedom of association and guarantees the welfare of members.
“I don’t think it will be in their interest if any of the unions is proscribed by government, which means they will not have any union to cater for their welfare or speak for them,” Shaibu said.
According to him, the idea of the new tax regime was as a result of the inability of the local councils to meet up with their statutory obligations to the people.