MAURICE OKAFOR writes that the National Industrial Court, Enugu division has awarded a ten million naira damages against the Enugu state government, the state attorney general, an association of tricycle riders in Enugu which the court declared as illegal and unregistered association etc in favour ‘Tricycle Owners Association of Nigeria (TROAN),Enugu state chapter, whom the court declared as the authentic organization of tricycle riders, registered with Trade Union Congress (TUC) of Nigeria.
After delivering judgement in the suit with No NICN/EN/22/2019, the Presiding Judge, Justice Oluwakayode Arowosoegbe of National Industrial Court, Enugu division, said the ten million cost against Enugu state government and others are damages for undue interference and inhibition of the operations of the claimants and their members in Enugu state of Nigeria.
The judge further stressed that while the judgement which entails recognition of the Leadership of TROAN, Enugu state chapter, as the authentic leadership of tricycle riders in the state is with immediate effect, the exemplary reliefs(ten million naira) must be complied within 30 days of the judgement. The failure of which must attract ten percent simple interest rate per annum.
The AUTHORITY South East post gathered that the Enugu state Ministry of transport was said to have imposed a parallel leadership of tricycle riders known as Association of Tricycle Riders Union (ATRTU) on tricycle operators in Enugu state in 2017, against TROAN which is an affiliate of Trade Union Congress (TUC),and duly registered.
Briefing news men in Enugu on the outcome of the judgement, the chairman of TOAN, Comrade Kingsley Edeh and the Secretary, Comrade Mesachi Udeh said based on the judgment they obtained from the National Industrial Court sitting in Enugu on Wednesday, December 9, 2020, delivered by Justice O. O. Arowosegbe, they are to operate without molestation and interference from the Enugu State Government or the security agents.
They said they are pleading with the state ministry of transport to accord them the recognition as ruled by the court, promising they will work harmoniously with every organ of the state government in projecting tricycle operations and the state transport sector positively. They equally extended the same hand of fellowship to all security agencies in Enugu state.
“In line with the Court judgment, the Union has concluded arrangement to commence full operation with effect from 1 January, 2021.
” Considering the incessant harassment and intimidation we have experienced in the field perpetuated by the purported Association of Tricycle Riders Transport Union, we request for protection by the security agents to avoid the denial of our rights,” they pointed out.
Ede told newsmen that they were using the opportunity to let the Enugu state government know that they were a legitimate and registered trade union.
“We want the government to know that the Industrial Court has given judgment in our favour as the authentic union,” adding that the court has told others to stop selling tickets.
The TOAN chairman disclosed that court granted them damages to the tune of N10.2 million which must be paid within 30 days of the judgment or it would accumulate interest of 10% peace annum.