Members of Nigeria Automobile Technicians Association (NATA), Lagos State Chapter staged a protest on 8th day of June, 2021 at the Lagos State House of Assembly over alleged encroachment of the mechanics’ villages in the state.
They said the mechanic villages were allotted to them by the late Governor of the State, Lateef Jakande, to curb the menace of roadside mechanics, littering Lagos neighbourhoods.
This is even as the association said eight of its members have died in the last six months, some suffered strokes and other ailments with over N500 million lost due to loss of their sources of income.
The technicians who earlier gathered at the Allen Round About, Ikeja around 9a.m had disrupted the free flow of traffic on the Obafemi Awolowo way as they marched on to the state secretariat on their way to the state Assembly.
The protesters led by NATA Chairma, Jacob Fayeun were seen chanting various solidarity songs and carried various placards with inscriptions, “Lagos State government stop killing us”, “Stop illegal demolition of mechanic villages in Lagos now!”, “Destroying people’s livelihoods contribute to crime & insecurity, stop it”, “Ifelagba mechanic village was sold for N300 million, where is the money”.
The technicians who got to the state House of Assembly around 10 in the morning were denied entrance by the security agents who put up a barricade, but in spite of that they continued with their songs demanding to see the governor or the speaker of the house of assembly.
Speaking with the press, Jacob Fayeun said the association decided to visit the governor and the law makers as the present government have taken over all their mechanic villages which have resulted in the untimely death of many of their members.
He said: “We are here to protest the illegal demolition of our mechanic villages given to us in 1981 by our late governor, Lateef Jakande.
“The time it was given to us most of those areas were swamp, but we developed, maintained and make them habitable for our work, now the ministry of physical planning has taken over, demolishing our workshops and selling the places to highest bidders,”
Fayeun lamented that over 11 of the mechanic villages, cutting across, Surulere, Abule Odofin, Ifelagba, Ikorodu, Ladipo and others have been taken over by the government without due consideration to the wellbeing of the workers.
“All these are because of shock, when our villages were destroyed they took vehicles of our customers away and we were forced to pay N100,000 on each of the vehicles before they were released, you can understand our predicaments.
“We want our mechanic villages back. This is just the beginning, next week we are coming out again until there’s solution to our problem. Without us the economy will paralyse.
“We are fighting this battle for the future generation, so that all our youths, our children in technical schools can have a place to work,” he added.
Addressing the association, some members of the State Assembly, Nurudeen Solaja-Saka, Jude Idimogu and Victor Olusegun Akande, advised the technicians to submit their letter of protest with all their demands assured them that it would be read, deliberate upon and appropriate action taken when next the members sit the following Thursday.
“Justice shall be done to your petition. The House seats on Thursday. The House is well represented and we are here as your representatives,” the law makers assured.