Fear Grip Freight Forwarders Over Plans by MWUN to Shutdown Nation’s Ports, APFFLON Calls for Caution
By AYO OLAYIWOLA
Following the two weeks ultimatum issued on Friday to the Federal Government by the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) and plans to shutdown port operations after, freight forwarders have expressed fears over the hardship this action would have on the economy.
This is even as the Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON) has urged the leadership of MWUN, to explore a better option to seek Federal Government’s commitment to workers welfare.
The Nation President of APFFLON, Otunba Frank Ogunojemite, made the plea following the order given to the leadership of the Union by Nigeria Labour Congress- NLC to shut down the seaport over the Federal Government’s failure to improve the welfare of workers in the Maritime industry.
The President of NLC, Comrade Joe Ajaero, during a courtesy visit to the President General of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju,on Friday, 24 th of February, 2023, directed the leadership to issue a two week ultimatum to the government to review worker’s salaries and address myriad of issues affecting the sector, adding that failure to take action, the Union would have no other option than to shut down the nation’s seaports.
The leadership of MWUN alleged that letters had been written to the Federal Government since 2021 seeking its intervention but has got no response whatsoever. Ajaero berated the Federal Government for snubbing the Union saying that “every illegal action requires an illegal approach.”
Speaking, the National President of APFFLON stated that the current economic situation was not giving anyone any joy, adding that Nigerians are being held down by very unfriendly trade and monetary policies that need to be urgently reviewed to enable the citizens have their lives back.”
According to Ogunojemite, “Nigerians are frustrated and do not have the latitude of patience to keep enduring the hardship and that is why the Government should carefully weigh the implications of every policy before implimentation, and leaders of various groups must not take any action that could worsen the situation.
” As we plead with Labour Union to explore a better option for reconciliation, we also urge the Federal Government to speedily look into the matter since it concerns the welfare of workers. Workers deserve their wages and entitlements and any ploy targeted at denying them such right is not in the interest of the nation.” Ogunojemite stated.
Meanwhile, Comrade Ajaero called on the ministries concerned, including the Ministry of Transportation and Labour to do their jobs, assuring that if they don’t take action, NLC would join the protest. “We are going to give you a solidarity support, take the necessary action and the people who are supposed to act on it will hasten up”.
The APFFLON President lamented the level of hardship and deprivation associated to bad policies, stating that the Federal Government has succeeded in emasculating private businesses as importers now find it very difficult to take delivery of their consignments especially vehicles due to unimaginable increase in export duty.
“While we hope that the incoming administration will look into these areas and make life better for citizens, APFFLON earnestly plead with the Labour Union and leadership of MWUN to consider the very difficult economic situation and explore a better way of bringing the Federal Government to the negotiation table instead of shutting down the ports.”