By NewsCritic Reporters
Members of the Tricycle Owners Association Of Nigeria, TOAN, in Abia state arrested by the Police in renewed clampdown on the members of the union and by the Police and the Abia State Amalgamated Tricycle Operators Association, ASATOA, another dominant group have regained their freedom, the NewsCritic authoritatively gathered.
Inside sources told this reporter that the release of the members of TOAN by the Police in Umuahia followed the intervention of the Trade Union Congress, TUC, after the Police insisted that it would arraigned the union members who were arrested yesterday after they went to protest the detention of some of their members and impoundment of their tricycle by the Area Command.
It was gathered that the TOAN members were released without parting with the usual bail fee because the TUC executive who went to bail them refused to give the police any money for their bail, because according to TUC bail is free. Meanwhile, the TOAN had earlier raised some money for the bail as demanded by the Police but later went home with their money after the men were released on TUC terms.
There have been allegations of arrests of members of TOAN and their tricycle by the Police in conjunction with the ASATOA leadership in Umuahia and Aba. It was learnt that in spite of the National Industrial Court restraining order on the Police against the union and its members the Police in Umuahia refused to obey the court order to release some of the members of the union in detention or stop further arrests.
It was against this backdrop they some members went to protest against Police refusal to obey a valid court order that led to the arrests of some of the executive members of TROAN. According to sources, Police accused them of not obtaining permit before embarking on the protest.
There has been a pulsating battle between ASATOA believed to have the backing of the state government and TOAN, which is a registered trade union in the state over control of revenue. The ASATOA do not want the TOAN to operate in the state and this it has tried to enforce with the alleged help of the Police.
Members of TOAN are alleging that Comrade Eugene Eze Job and his leadership of ASATOA are threatening TOAN members, and using Police to arrest and detain their members who obtained the genuine MOT number.