Several persons were wounded in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State, on Sunday as factions of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria  (RTEAN) engaged one another in a free-for-all over a leadership rivalry in the union.

At least 11 persons sustained injuries in the clash, which locked down a section of the state capital for several hours.

RTEAN had been in crisis since a faction loyal to the former chairman of the union, Rotimi Olabiwonnu, and six others were released from the prison through court judgment in January.

Olabiwonnu aka Mentilo and others were arrested over alleged connection with the murder of the former Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers in Ekiti (NURTW) Omolafe Aderiye.

Aderiye was murdered by suspected assassins in his office in Ado Ekiti on September 24, 2014 at the twilight of Dr Kayode Fayemi’s first term tenure.

Victims of Sunday’s clash were said to be supporters of the RTEAN Southwest Zonal Chairman, Isaac Fatimehin aka Ayinrin and Ekiti RTEAN chairmanship aspirant, Adebayo Aderiye aka Ojuigo.

The latest clash was fueled over attempts to change the leadership of the body following the last governorship election in the state.

ekti transport workers clash

Fatimehin accused Olabiwonnu of being responsible for the attack and destruction of his shopping complex.

His words: “We have been having violent attacks on our people since the day before yesterday. These attacks are led by a former state chairman of RETAN in Ekiti, Rotimi Joseph Olanbiwonninu, popular as Mentilo, who has been bringing thugs armed with guns and cutlasses and other dangerous weapons to attack our people.

“As I speak with you, eleven of our people are in the hospital now. They have sustained deep machete cuts on their heads and parts of their bodies.

“Mentilo is not happy that the national body of our union, headed by Musa Isewele, is considering Aderiye Adebayo, alias Ojuigo as the Acting Chairman for our union in Ekiti.

“This is why he is bringing many thugs armed with dangerous weapons to attack our people in my house. We were at the national meeting in Abuja and I arrived on Thursday.  Ojuigo and Mentilo had gone to Abuja before me.

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“The truth is that Olabiwonnu had chaired the state RETAN for over nine and half years now and this was why the national body is considering Ojuigo who has not tasted the leadership of the body in the state before.

Reacting, Olabiwonnu, who maintained that he is the RTEAN caretaker chairman in the state, denied involvement in the attack saying he has been trying his best to resolve the crisis.

Olabiwonnu said: “It is all lies,  I don’t have any hand in their crisis and I have been trying to intervene to bring an amicable solution to the crisis.

“I have been in the office since I was appointed Caretaker by the state and Abuja leader since 16th of July 2018. I have official letter given to me from Abuja.

“All I can say is that all these people that are struggling with me now, because they are too far away from the position (that is why) they are struggling with me."

Police spokesman Caleb Ikechukwu said he has not been briefed on the latest attack promising to get back as soon as official report gets to his table from the police station investigating the incident.

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