The Block Industries Association of Delta State have appealed for the timely intervention of Governor Sheriff Oborevwori over the continued intimidation, harassment and assault of its drivers by officials of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Delta Chapter.
Officials of the NURTW in Delta State are also being accused by the Block Industries Association in the state for illegally collecting unauthorised levies and dues from its members despite two judgements in their favour by the High Court of Otor-Udu Division and the Court of Appeal, Asaba Division.
Addressing a press conference yesterday Monday in Udu Local Government Area, the President, Block Industries Association of Delta State, Chief Lawrence Akatakpo was flanked by the association’s State Secretary, Mrs Grace Ejebba, State Public Relations Officer, Comrade Lawrence Erhigbare and State Director, General of Task Force, Mr Timothy Ighorhiunu, said the need for Governor Oborevwori to halt the unwarranted assault and illegal collection of levies from drivers of the association by NURTW Delta State Chapter is to forestall imminent hostility between by bodies.
Chief Akatakpo explained that members of the Block Industries Association of Delta State do not render the services of conveying passengers and perishable goods and wondered why members of the NURTW in the state have continued to harass and intimidate them as well as force them to buy tickets.
The state president of the Block and Concrete Industries Owners Association explained that they do not offer the services of carrying passengers and perishable goods but wondered why members of the NURTW have continued to harass and intimidate them as well as force them to buy tickets despite the court judgement.
He revealed that after the court ruling in their favour they also took further step to approach the Delta State Ministry of Justice and the Delta State Police with headquarters in Asaba to seek the interpretation of the judgement which clearly indicates that members of the National Union Of Road Transport Workers have no right or any law backing them to sell tickets to members of the association since they are not members of their Union but belong to Trade and Investment.
He presented relevant documents to substantiate their claims one of which was a letter by the Delta State Directorate of Transport dated July 7, 2023, addressed to the State Chairman, National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Asaba, Delta State with the title, RE: OBNOXIOUS TAXATION BY N.U.R.T.W AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT COUNCILS: APPEAL FOR AN URGENT INTERVENTION.
The letter reads in part, “Consequent upon the meeting held on the 14th of June, 2023 between the Members of the Block Industry Association, the Representative of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and the Management of the Directorate of Transport, I am directed to formally request you to suspend the collection of fees/levies under any guise from the Members of the Block Industry Association for now.”
Chief Akatakpo lamented that the illegal activities of the officials of the NURTW have drastically hampered the growth of their businesses as they are not allowed to move their goods freely appealing to other relevant authorities to prevail on members of the NURTW to desist from the incessant harassment of their members.
While describing their members as peace-loving people, Chief Akatakpo disclosed that all protest letters written to the twenty-five council chairmen in the state yielded no positive results saying that if no drastic measures are taken to the nefarious act by officials of the NURTW they will be left with no other options than to stop the supply of blocks to all parts of the state.
He further revealed that most of their members particularly drivers have sustained severe injuries inflicted on them by members of the National Union Of Road Transport Workers and appealed to Governor Sheriff Oborevwori to come to their rescue by directing the officials of NURTW to stop further intimidation of their members.
The public relations officer of the body comrade Lawrence Erhigbare while describing the act by members of the NURTW as sad appealed to the Government to immediately wade into the issues with a view of resolving the issue.