The Lagos state Sheep and Goat Butchers Association and Lagos state Ram sellers Association have expressed displeasure over Road Transport Employment Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) extortion of its members in the state.
The State Treasurer, Lagos state Sheep and Goat Butchers Association, who was represented by Saka Akanji, in collaboration with Deputy Chairman, the Lagos state Ram sellers Association, Alhaji Hassan Abdulahi, and its General Secretary, Oladunjoye Adebayo, at a press conference, however, called on the Lagos state government to come to their rescue from members of RTEAN who are extorting members of the association in Alaba Rago market at Ojo.
They expressed that RTEAN has consistently collected illegal dues using coercive means.
The duo, Akanji and Abdulahi explained to newsmen, that members of RTEAN, a transport union, started the illegal dues collection after using forceful means to drive away officials of the accredited government revenue collector from the market, around mid-April.
According to Akanji, “The dues we are referring to is the epidemiology fee charged by the Ministry of Agriculture over every goat and sheep sold and slaughtered in Lagos state, which we have been paying to the government approved collector and appropriate receipts are issued in the case of verification by the state government.
“But these union people without any reason or affiliation to them just came with force and started tasking our members to pay that money to them arbitrarily.”
Corroborating what he said, Abdullahi said, “To be honest with you, the Hausa community in that market are not happy about the development.
“They are being coerced to make those payments, and if it is allowed to continue they could revolt and disrupt ram sales, especially in the coming Sallah celebrations.”
Speaking further, Adebayo said, “Our members are made to know that the order for the members of RTEAN to collect the fees came from Alhaji Sulaimon Adeshina, Oniba of Iba, led by a man called “Babane.”
The licensed government revenue collector, High Chief Olanrewaju Bashorun, Managing Director, Revman Best Nigeria Enterprises, also corroborated the account of the association, explaining that, “I have visited the Kabiyesi for three consecutive times to sort it out and he requested for a letter to confirm if I am the approved government agent before he can withdraw his boys, which the Lagos state Ministry of Agriculture graciously issued.
He stated that “I have been approved to collect the epidemiology fee on behalf of the state, the task we have been dutifully doing over the years until the brutal disruption by members of the RTEAN transport union some months back.
“I took the letter to the Kabiyesi, who promised to call his men to order, but he reneged, prompting me to report to the police, who called for an amicable resolution.
“I have made several entreaties to Kabiesi Oniba to please call these boys to order but up till now nothing has been done.
“The members of these association do not have anything to do with Road Union and are totally fed up with this flagrant extortion, minding the fact that part of stakeholders involved are the Hausas’ which by my efforts had been preventing Tribal violence coloration, hence they are calling on the state government to quickly intervene before they result to self help.”