The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has given explanations to how the scheduled payment of severance packages to disengaged dockworkers could not hold on Monday.
The NPA had in 2015 sacked the dockworkers under the aegis of tally clerks and onboard security men. But after four years of fighting tooth and nail, the MWUN was able to prevail on the Federal Government to pay severance packages to the disengaged workers.
The payment was supposed to begin on Monday at the NPA Sports Ground at Bode Thomas in Surulere, Lagos but it couldn’t hold.
Our correspondent who was at the scene reported that thousands of dockworkers, most of them very old, had trooped out in numbers, only to be informed that the payment process cannot hold as planned.
Speaking with DAILY TREND NEWS yesterday however, President General of MWUN, Comrade Abdulwaheed Adeyanju explained that the NPA would not be paying the severance packages directly to the workers, but that it would be paid to the stevedoring contractors who would in turn issue the cheques to their dockworkers.
The PG said that despite the verification exercise that was conducted for the workers last year, government is being careful to ensure that only those who deserve the money gets it.
He said “The payment could not hold because the contractor does not want to pay this money directly to individuals, they want to pay it to the people that employed them which is the stevedoring companies”
“The stevedoring contractors were there on Monday to address all the dockworkers, as I speak with you now they are at NPA perfecting their document”
“Nobody is scamming anybody, the truth of the matter is that they are going to pay the dockworkers their severance package, but the minister has said that he cannot pay money to somebody he doesn’t know”
“We don’t want what happened in 2006 to repeat itself, a situation whereby lives were lost.
So it is the employer that would collect the money and pay to the workers, NPA is not the employer of tally clerks” he said
Also in his reaction to our correspondent, General Manager Corporate and Strategic Communications of NPA, Eng Adams Jatto said that the dockworkers failed to provide evidence and that was why the payment could not commence.
He said “Please let it be on record that the management of Nigerian Ports Authority has granted an approval for the payment of the severance package and as a matter of fact the sum had been sent to the treasury since yesterday to commence payment but evidence to receive payment on the part of the workers were not made available and as such payment could not commence”
“This present Management is one that cherish transparency as such necessary machinery must be put in place so that payment will not go to the wrong people”