By DAPO OLAWUNI
The President General of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) Comrade Adewale Adeyanju has expressed surprise at the level of disregard that International Oil Companies (IOC) have for Nigerian laws and expecially the Minister of Transportation, Hon Rotimi Amaechi.
Recall that the union have been having a running battle with the IOC’s and their refusal to obey the laws regulating activities of stevedoring operations in Nigeria. The IOCs have continually rejected Nigerian Stevedoring firms and dockworkers from working on their platforms.
The IOC’s were being accused of non-compliance with the extant stevedoring regulation (Marine Notice 106, 2014)
Against this backdrop, the union had again called for a strike action which was supposed to commence on March 1st 2022, but due to intervention of Nigerian Ports Authority, the strike was called off.
At a press conference in his office recently, the MWUN President General said “We find it uncalled for, that a well respected minister of Transport in this country gives an order, a 7-days order, it is going to two months now that he directed the IOCs’ to comply, that means they have no regard for my Honorable Minister of Transportation”
He stated that the matter has been lingering for so long but stakeholders including the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) kept appealing to the union for calm.
The IOC’s have also repeatedly dared the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) even though the agency had severally notified all operators of ports, jetties, onshore or offshore oil and gas or bonded terminals, Inland Container Depots, ICDs, offshore dock terminals, dry ports and platforms, and other work locations to grant duly appointed stevedoring companies access to their premises for commencement of operations.
NIMASA issued consequences for non-compliance with the guidelines set out in the Stevedoring Regulation, 2014, saying that, in addition to other penalties, such as detention of vessels, sealing of operational area or work location, and prosecution.
The union have however expressed dismay that none of these sanctions have been meted out to the powerful IOC’s
The MWUN in a press statement has however announced that it has temporarily called off its impending strike action, giving the IOC’s two weeks to ensure compliance.
Management of NPA, representatives of the IOCs, NNPC, NAPIM and NASO at a meeting on 28th February 2022, unanimously agreed that two (2) weeks effective from 28th February, 2022 be given to the IOCs to complete all processes to comply with the stevedoring laws and commence implementation of engaging the stevedores and Dockworkers on their oil platforms and report back to the Authority and the Union for review.