RTEAN crisis: Soldiers deployed to Ekiti

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Soldiers were yesterday deployed to Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State capital, over the protracted crisis rocking the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) over demand for removal of the State Chairman of the association.

On Wednesday night, drivers took to the streets shortly after mobile policemen deployed to the Okeyinmi office of the association left, and stormed Okeyinmi, Okesa, Old Garage of Ado-Ekiti, where they blocked major roads with bonfire.

Also, the drivers blocked other major streets, like: Ajibade Lane and Oke-Ila areas, while armed with dangerous weapons.

Policemen deployed to stop the protesters could not, as the warring drivers dangled their machetes and guns in a militant manner.

A source said that Governor Kayode Fayemi instructed the policemen not to shoot, while others said the police did not want any casualty among themselves because they knew that the warring drivers have charms against guns and therefore would not get injured.

With the deployment of soldiers yesterday, peace has been restored to the state capital.
Police spokesman for the Ekiti State Command, ASP Victor Babayemi, told Daily Sun: “Though there was civil disturbance in Ado-Ekiti yesterday (Wednesday) by members of the RTEAN, the situation has been put under control. We are now on top of the situation,”

On number of arrest made since the RTEAN crisis started last Friday, the PPRO said: “I can’t confirm that now.”
On reasons for deployment of soldiers to the area, he said the Army authorities know why they sent their men there.

Efforts to get the state government to comment on why soldiers were invited failed, as the state Commissioner for Information and Civil Orientation, Mr. Tayo Ekundayo, could not be reached on phone.
A source from the state government, however, said the soldiers may have been deployed to prevent the crisis from escalating.

Meanwhile, the aggrieved RTEAN members have declared: “No retreat, no surrender, except the man leaves the office. He has spent nine years, contrary to the eight years stipulated by their constitution.”

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