By DAPO OLAWUNI
President General of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) Comrade Adewale Adeyanju has registered the union’s support for the upward review of terminal operators handling charges, saying that the charges has been stagnated since the concessioning of the ports.
Comrade Adeyanju stated this in Lagos on Monday at the Quadrennial Branch Delegate Conference of the union.
According to him, the stagnated terminal charges by port concessionaires has affected the welfare of dockworkers finances.
He said “We call on the Federal Government through the Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigerian Shippers Council and the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Bureau for Public Enterprise etc, to consider increasing tariffs due to terminal operators which has been stagnated since the concessioning of the ports”
“We believe doing this will boost their financial capacity to enable them fulfil their financial obligations to our members and to government”
Comrade Adeyanju lamented the growing insecurity at Nigerian ports which according to him is occasioned by the nonchalance of the Federal Government towards activities of multinational companies doing business at the port.
He said that most of the multinational companies have outsourced security functions of their organization to foreign nationals such as South Africa, America, Togo. Uganda, etc, to the detriment of indigenous nationals who have same experience and expertise.
“I am therefore using this opportunity to call on all relevant Security Agencies to rise up to thelr Jobs before we are overrun by insecurity in our ports”
Comrade Adeyanju called on the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to expedite action on the reissuance of Biometric Identity cards to Nigerian dockworkers, saying that the ones in their possession has since expired.
He lamented that the union has since 2008 through year 2017 have consistently called out to NIMASA on the issuance of Bio metric cards to registered dockworkers, but that all it has gotten were mere promises from each successive NIMASA Management.
“Comrades, it is strange that a decade is gone and still counting, Dock workers are yet to be reissued with biometric identity card as promised. As a union we have gone through all the normal routes to get action on this matter but there seems to be a deliberate scheme put in place to deny our members this important document which is meant to serve as their legitimate means of identification as they are often embarrassed and mistaken for hoodlums because of lack of identity”
“Consequently, I wish to reiterate our demand that NIMASA should as a matter of urgency expedite action on the reissuance of Biometric Identity cards to dock workers to save them from incessant embarrassment of mistaken identity”
“We want to serve this notice to the general public that should NIMASA continue to renege on its over a decade promise to issue bio metric identity card to dock workers, we will have no option than to resort to any appropriate means to get redress” he warned
Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Muhammed Bello Koko, who was represented by General Manager Human Resources, Hajiya Hadera Muhammed commended Comrade Adewale Adeyanju for introducing scientific methods into today’s maritime unionism.
According to him, in the past, many past senior management of NPA are unable to come close to the union because of their violent nature.
He however commended Comrade Adeyanju for ensuring industrial peace in the maritime sector since his election four years ago.
Recall that Comrade Adeyanju was also reelected for another tenure of four years in April 2021.
Bello Koko commended the efforts of the union in ensuring that the COVID-19 scourge was controlled among Nigerian Port workers, even as he revealed that the dose of the vaccine have been made available to all NPA workers.
The Delegate Conference was also graced by dignitaries including the Port Manager, Lagos Port Complex, Apapa, Mrs Funmilayo Olotu and Managing Director, Micura Stevedoring Services, Michael Ubogu.
At the end of the conference, the NPA Branch President of MWUN, Comrades Ifeanyi Mazeli and the Dockworkers Branch President, Comrade Ibrahim Ohize were both reelected for a second term in office unopposed for another four years tenure.