The Nigerian Police Force (NPF) has arrested the President of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Tajudeen Ibikunle Baruwa, and three other top officials of the union. The union’s Deputy President, Isa Ore, confirmed this to SaharaReporters on Saturday.
Ore said that Baruwa, the General Secretary, Anthony Asogwa Chukudi; the National Trustee, Olayi Odion; and the Principal Assistant Secretary, Abdulrasak Yemi, were detained at the Wuse Zone 3 Division in Abuja since Friday evening.
He said that the arrest was carried out by armed policemen and personnel of the Department of State Services (DSS), who stormed and sealed off the union’s National Secretariat at Garki 2, Abuja, around 5 pm on Friday.
He said that no reason was given for the invasion and that all the occupants were ordered to leave the premises.
Ore said that the arrest came as a surprise to the union, which had requested police protection from the Federal Capital Territory Police Command to prevent any violent protest or disruption of its inauguration ceremony scheduled for Saturday, August 12.
The union had earlier issued a statement on Wednesday, August 9, alleging that some disgruntled elements were planning to stage a protest at the secretariat against the outcome of the delegates’ conference that elected the new officials in May 2023.
The union said that it had followed due process and conducted a free and fair election that produced Baruwa as the new President and other members of the National Administrative Council (NAC), who were supposed to be sworn in today (Saturday), August 12.
The union appealed to the authorities to release its leaders and allow it to conduct its inauguration ceremony peacefully. It also urged its members to remain calm and law-abiding in the face of the provocation.
Meanwhile, The Nigerian Police Force (NPF) has confirmed the arrest of four top officials of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), including its President, Tajudeen Ibikunle Baruwa. The arrest was made on Friday, August 11, 2023, a day before the union’s inauguration ceremony in Abuja.
The NPF spokesperson, Frank Mba, said that the arrest was based on intelligence reports that the union leaders were planning to cause violence and disrupt public order during the ceremony. He said that the police acted swiftly to prevent any breakdown of law and order and to protect lives and property.
Mba said that the union leaders were being interrogated at the Wuse Zone 3 Division in Abuja and would be charged to court soon. He said that the police also sealed off the union’s National Secretariat at Garki 2, Abuja, where the ceremony was supposed to take place.
He said that the police had received a request from the union for security protection for the ceremony, but had also received credible information that some disgruntled elements within and outside the union were plotting to stage a violent protest against the outcome of the delegates’ conference that elected the new officials in May 2023.
He said that the police had advised the union to postpone the ceremony until the issues were resolved amicably, but the union leaders refused to heed the advice and insisted on going ahead with the ceremony.
Mba said that the police would not tolerate any act of lawlessness or breach of peace by any group or individual and would deal decisively with anyone found culpable.