The National Industrial Court sitting in Lagos has nullified the appointment of an ad-hoc committee put in place by Gov Babajide Sanwo-Olu to run the affairs of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) in the State and re-instated the elected leadership of the Union.
Justice Maureen Esowe made the order while delivering judgment in the suit marked NICN/LA/381/2022, filed by RTEAN to challenge its dissolution by the Lagos State Government in October 2022.
The first three of the 27 defendants in the suit were Lagos State Governor, the state’s Attorney-General; and the governor’s Special Adviser on Transportation, Sola Giwa.
Members of the RTEAN besieged the court in their numbers to witness the proceedings. Police officials were also on ground to keep the peace.
Justice Esowe, in her judgment, dismissed the defendants’ preliminary objections, challeging the court’s jurisdition to hear the case.
The Judge held that the act of the Lagos State in suspending RTEAN’s operations in the state and setting up a caretaker committee was unconstitutional.
The judge rejected the argument by the state government that it suspended RTEAN over a fracas, saying rather than suspend the union, the state should have got the police involved.
Recall in Sept. 2022, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu had ordered the immediate suspension of all activities of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) in the state.
The government said the suspension become necessary following some pockets of violence recorded in Ojo and Lagos Island areas of the state.
The state government, later in October, set up a 35-man ad-hoc committee, to take over activities of the Union.
The Committee known as “Lagos State Park Administrators Ad-Hoc Committee on the Operations of Commercial Road Transport Workers Activities Within Garages and Motor Parks” was headed by Hon. Sulaiman Adeshina Raji with Bamgbose Oluseyi as Deputy Chairman.
The RTEAN subsequently instituted the suit in Oct. 2022 to challenge the lagos state government for dissolving the elected executive committee of the union in the state and appointing the ad-hoc committee.