Legal proceedings at the Federal High Court, Adeoyo in Ibadan came to an abrupt end on Monday when two factions of the state branch of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) clashed outside the court premises.
The clash involved supporters of the ousted chairman of the union, Alhaji Lateef Akinsola popularly known as “Tokyo’’ and Alhaji Taofeek Oyerinde, popularly known as “Fele” who is the incumbent caretaker chairman of the union in Oyo state.
The clash occurred barely after the case of contempt of court was adjourned by Justice Abimbola Obaseki-Adejumo
A team of policemen outside the court premises fired canisters of tear gas to curtail the violence thus resulting in pandemonium.
Mr Yomi Ogunlola, the counsel representing the caretaker committee, described the clash as a show of shame that should not have been allowed to take place.
“At the last sitting on June 24, the court ruled that Mr Michael Lana representing the caretaker committee should withdraw from the suit because he had earlier represented Akinsola in a sister case.
“I was recently briefed to take over from him in this contempt of court proceeding.
“All that took place in court today was the application for change of counsel and the matter was adjourned to 21 October.
“However, what we are seeing outside now is a big surprise to me. This should not be allowed to happen in a civilised society,” he said.
He expressed disappointment in the police for not being able to prevent the violence.
“I am disappointed because the police from the outset were out there to maintain peace. Why should it degenerate to this level if the police were truly at work?
“As you can see, proceedings in the court had been disrupted because of the teargas fired. It should not have gotten to this level,” he said.
Akinsola, however, accused the Oyerinde faction of being responsible for the clash.
“My supporters were staying away from them, but they went over to my people and started beating them. I am worried that they may have injured or killed one of my boys and to think that the police were present makes it sad.
“If the police knew they would take sides, it would have been better they did not come. What is the importance of the armoured vehicle they brought?
“They could not even arrest one person to serve as a deterrent,” he said.
But speaking with NAN, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, Christopher Luke, said that he was inside the court and came out when he heard some noise.
“I got down and saw that the whole place had been disorganised which made me to order that teargas be released.
“I wouldn’t know which of the parties started the fight, but we have been able to calm the situation,” he said.
Akinsola was in court because the state government was yet to abide by a court judgment which directed that he should be reinstated as the chairman of the union. Those wounded were taken to University College Hospital, Ibadan, for medical attention.