The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has had enough of the federal government and their trail of unending failed promises and therefore resolved to commence strike action next week Monday, February 5, 2018.
In a released statement signed by its President General Adewale Adeyanju and Secretary-General, Felix Akingboye, the union promises to withdraw all its members from seaports across the nation if the government fails to fix all access roads to ports, particularly the Oshodi-Apapa dual carriageway.
“If by Monday, February 5, 2018, the federal government fails to meet the unions’ demands; trucks removed from the road and the craters and potholes filled, the union will withdraw all its members from the ports nationwide and all seaports will be shut.”
The impending strike action appears long overdue; one was recalled nine months ago in May 2017 after the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority stepped to plead and promise that the roads were going to be fixed. Yet, nothing was done. “We were assured that remedial works would be done on the road … We decided to suspend our planned industrial action,” said Comrade Adeyanju.
“We waited and endured very harrowing experiences on the access roads to the ports in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Calabar and Warri, hoping upon hope that the government will do a quick fix on the roads to make them motorable,” he added.
Currently, the roads are worse off and have become a death trap claiming the lives of some of the union members. Others have been turned into vehicle parks, swarmed by mechanic workshops for abandoned heavy-duty trucks. They have also become havens for criminals and criminal activities.
Worse still, the terrible roads have led to decreased activities at the ports, as most ship owners and businessmen are choosing to berth at neighbouring ports, especially Cotonou. This, the union deeply regrets amidst fears of possible retrenchments if port activities fail to pick up.
“While these ports are booming, ours have become deserted because of failed access roads at the gateway to the nation’s economy. We are afraid that if things continue like this, it would lead to the retrenchment of workers and we cannot afford to lose any of our members to joblessness.”
According to the statement, a recent assessment tour of the Oshodi-Apapa road shows that a part that is supposedly under reconstruction is at a standstill despite the fact that NPA has paid the substantial part of a 270 million Naira pledge it made on the reconstruction. Comrade Adeyanju is of the opinion that the road will not be completed in the next two years considering the pace of the supposed reconstruction.
Hopefully, there is a positive response from the government to the MWUN in the next seven days as a strike action is sure to result in less or zero operations throughout ports nationwide. Consequently affecting economic and commercial activities across the country.