The National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) secretariat in Abuja descended into chaos as rival factions clashed, sending residents fleeing in panic amid gunshots.
The long-standing feud between two factions within the NURTW, led by Musiliu Akinsanya, also known as MC Oluomo, and Tajudeen Badru Agbede, erupted in a violent showdown on Tuesday. This feud, stemming from a simmering leadership crisis spanning over a year, has been marked by MC Oluomo’s rebellion against the national leadership of the union.
Reports suggest that Tajudeen Badru Agbede mobilized a group of thugs from Lagos state to launch an attack on the national officers of the union, including the current president, Tajudeen Baruwa. The attack, according to Sahara Reporters, appears to be a strategic move by MC Oluomo, who recently rejoined the NURTW, abandoning his role as chairperson of the Lagos State Parks and Garages Committee (LASPARK) to reclaim his national prominence within the union.
During the clash, Agbede’s group seized control of the national secretariat, forcing the officers out of their premises. Surprisingly, the officers of the State Security Services (SSS) and the Nigeria Police Force, deployed to maintain order, remained passive spectators, adding an unsettling dimension to the chaotic scene.
MC Oluomo had previously faced suspension in 2022 due to a series of allegations, including insubordination. Although he was later pardoned, his refusal to apologize as per union protocols led to the dissolution of his executive cabinet by the national leadership. In a calculated move, MC Oluomo threw his support behind Agbede to lead the interim caretaker committee, aiming to oversee the union until the next election.
It is anticipated that Agbede will reintegrate MC Oluomo into the union while seeking to maintain his grip on the empire he rules with the backing of state authorities in Lagos, often disregarding national-level coordination and obligations.
As tensions escalated, the Baruwa camp rallied its youth members in an attempt to regain control of the secretariat. However, their efforts were thwarted by police intervention, which resorted to firing warning shots to disperse the crowd, exacerbating the volatile situation.
Days prior to this violent clash, MC Oluomo had released a video announcing his return to the NURTW, citing disagreements with the Baruwa leadership as the reason for his previous departure. This incident leaves the union and its leadership in a precarious state, with uncertain prospects for its future direction and stability following this explosive confrontation.