…Signs MoU with NARTO, NAMTOP
The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has said that it would no longer tolerate the extortion and constant harassment of truck drivers on port access roads, even as the union on Monday entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) and Nexus Association of Maritime Transport Operators (NAMTOP)
Apart from protecting truckers from harassment, intimidation and extortion by security operatives controlling traffic, unions insist that the MoU is to also truckers and Dockworkers welfare.
Speaking during the signing of the MoU held at the NARTO National secretariat in Lagos, President General of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju lamented that truckers spend more money per trip due to illegal payment ranging from N30, 000 and above at checkpoints created by security personnel that control traffic. This, he said, has continued to result in high cost of transportation as truck owners increase their bills, which at the end, is passed to the end user of the products.
Adeyanju warned that the union would no longer tolerate any form of harassment and extortion of truck drivers by Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) officials and other security agencies adding that MWUN may be forced to declare a trade dispute should the harassment of truckers, especially within the port access roads, continues.
“This is a new dawn in the history of truckers operation where we have leaders of the various maritime and transport unions coming together to form this collaboration. The Lagos state government should look into the extortion of truckers and make sure they organised the LASTMA management.
“With this collaboration, on behalf of MWUN, the era of impounding trucks on the roads against this collaboration stops as from today. We have signed a legitimate MoU and we are working within the ports. If any truck is arrested on the road, we might be forced to declare a trade dispute against the constituted authority in the Nigerian ports because the truckers have suffered enough in the hands of those that are supposed to protect them,” he warned.
Adeyanju also highlighted the importance of sincerity and commitment from all parties involved in the collaboration, stating that if there is no sincerity of purpose, the collaboration may fail.
On his part, National President of NARTO, Yusuf Othman, said the collaboration by the unions will enhance the operations of members.
“This collaboration is signed today so that we can have better operations. Transporters have suffered alot in the hands of non-state actors and security agencies. So this is high time we come together to get a better result,” he said.
Representative and Chairman, Board of Trustees of NAMTOP, Maroof Raheem said, “We have a reason to collaborate together for us to succeed in the face of the challenge we are facing in the industry. Truckers are facing a lot of harassment from security agencies despite being on the roads for weeks. That is why we are collaborating with MWUN because they are in the port 24/7.”
Also speaking, Patron of NAMTOP, Chief Remi Ogungbemi, expressed optimism about the collaboration just as he commended the MWUN PG for his efforts in transforming the union.
“We have never had it so peaceful with MWUN like the way we have it now, there was a time when a year will hardly pass without you seeing dead bodies on the road as a result of fighting and all that, but all that has changed now”, he said.
Ogungbemi commended the collaborative spirit that paves the way for a more harmonious working relationship.
Alhaji Salami Ishola, a trucker, and a key figure in the collaborative efforts, expressed joy and sense of triumph over past challenges, emphasizing the resilience required to bring these entities together.
“It’s been a while that we have been trying to come together, but it has been difficult. But I am happy today because we are coming together to speak in one voice to tackle issues affecting us,” he said.
On his part, Mr Aloga Ogbogo, the Executive Secretary of NARTO, provided a poignant perspective on the journey leading to this collaborative milestone. “The journey to where we are today has not been easy,” he admitted, reflecting on his proactive approach in initiating discussions with MWUN’s leadership. Ogbogo highlighted the relevance of trucks at the port to MWUN, emphasizing the need for collaboration to address shared concerns.
Ogbogo expressed deep appreciation to the MWUN’s President General, citing the transformative impact on the union’s history. “Today, history has been made in the maritime industry, and to God be the glory,” he declared.