For years, fraudulent activities of unions and associations in Ondo State have been on the increase, thereby causing pain on unsuspecting members of the public.
Perhaps, these are the reasons Ondo State government barred all trading unions and associations under the umbrella of Ondo State United Artisan Group, from fixing and enforcing uniform prices of goods and services being sold/rendered by their members and non-members.
The move according to the Ondo State government, was taken as measures to protect residents in the state amid soaring costs and incessant increases in prices of goods and services by artisans including farm produce and food items.
A statement by the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Donald Ojogo said the decision was taken in the overall socio-economic interest of the people of the state.
He said, “Government had before now, watched with discomfort and dismay, the economic suffocation of the people with unimaginable increases in prices of goods and services in markets, shops and other sales outlets across the state.
Also, on August 18, 2021, for failing to revert to the old price, the Ondo State government suspended the activities of the state chapter’s Association of Tippers and Quarry Owners of Nigeria until the members return to the old price.
The showdown between the government and the association unfold, following the latter’s unilateral increase of the price of sharp sand by over 100 per cent.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Special Duties and Strategy, Doyin Odebowale, said the state government would not allow any association to extort the people of the state.
However, the association had cited the high cost of motor spare parts and fuel as reasons for the new increase. It increased the price of a big tipper-load of sharp sand from N30,000 to N60,000, while the smaller ones, which was sold for N20,000, is now N30,000.
Going down memory lane, on the 1st of June, 2021, a fish seller, Dorcas Ajayi alleged to be hiding from members of a task force in Akure, Ondo State for owing them the sum of N1000 met her death untimely alongside two others.
The two other women, also fish sellers were killed when the building which they were also hiding suddenly collapsed on them. The deceased were said to be hiding from a task force of the Fish Sellers Association of Nigeria.
Dorcas and the two victims are now dead and lonely in their grave, leaving members of their family to suffer the pains of her untimely exit from the stage of life. These people were victims of the excesses of trade unions in Ondo State.
Taxi drivers in February hiked intra-city shuttle fares by 100 percent. This was in response to the decision of the leadership of the National Union of Road Transport Workers to increase prices of tickets for commercial vehicles in the state.
The state government, however, directed them to revert to the old price of fifty naira. It also asked the NURTW leadership to stop collecting money from taxi drivers and other commercial drivers in the state. Odebowale, who gave the directive on behalf of the government, said new tickets would be purchased directly from government. The drivers have since then reverted to the old fares.
It is imperative to state that the ban must not only be in paper, government really needs to look into the activities of unions and associations in the state in order to put a lasting end to the unwholesome and fraudulent activities of the body.