By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has threatened that, any moment from now, it would embark on another round of nationwide strike action over the delay and slow pace of construction work on the roads leading to the Tin Can Island Port and around Apapa Port in Lagos.
President General of MWUN, Comrade Abdulwaheed Adewale Adeyanju stated this in a chat with journalists in his office yesterday.
He also stated that the union would be declaring a state of emergency against all the shipping companies operating in Nigeria as many of them, despite interventions by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) have failed to acquire holding bays to store their empty containers.
The MWUN boss recalled that the Federal Government had agreed to embark on the road construction when the union threatened to go on strike, but he expressed disappointment at the slow pace at which the contractor of the roads; Messrs Dangote Group was handling it.
Adeyanju said the union has continued to lose its members, while life has been completely unbearable for those seeking access to the port.
“The pace at which the construction work is going at both Apapa and Tin Can port is nothing to write home about”
“The contractor is not working fast enough on the job, and if you remember vividly, we only suspended our ultimatum and the way things are going now, we would be forced to renew the ultimatum and commence our normal strike”
“This time around, the strike is going to be total, it is better for the government now to talk to the contractor handling the job to speed up because it is affecting the life of our members” he said
Comrade Adeyanju also said that the Presidential Task Team on Apapa gridlock should not be blamed for the traffic gridlock as many port stakeholders are doing.
According to him, rather than blame the Presidential Task Force, shipping companies and terminal operators should be held responsible for the chaos at the port.
“We need to blame the terminal operators and shipping lines because some of them do not have holding bays to store their empty containers, they have turned the trucks at the port into their holding bay”
“The shipping companies are riding at the back of terminal operators to carry out these illegality”
“I was here on Saturday and I know what I went through, I spent three hours before I can enter Apapa, so blaming the Presidential Task Force is not the issue, we need to blame the shipping companies as well”
“Very soon, we would declare a state of emergency against all the shipping companies in the port, we are working towards that, because the master plan of Nigerian Ports Authority is not working, I know the number of dockworkers that we lost between last year and this year”
“You will see our action any moment from now, I am going to call an emergency meeting of my executives so that we can come out with another strategy we can use on this strike” he said