28-Years After: MWUN Commences Verification of Aged Seafarers for Wages Payment


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The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has began the verification of the disengaged seafarers of the Nigerian National Shipping Line, NNSL, after 28-years of liquidation over their unpaid benefits.

President General of the union , Comrade Adewale Adeyanju during the Seafarers Verification Exercise held in Lagos on Tuesday,17 May 2024, reiterated the union’s commitment towards ensuring that the right of all aged and active seafarers would now be given to them as at when due.

In a bid to determine the number of retired Seafarers waiting in line to be paid their pension after negotiations with the Federal Government of Nigeria, Adeyanju explained that the exercise has lingered for so long thus the federal government under the Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue has given directive for the verification

Addressing journalists on the sidelines of the event, Adeyanju noted that the number of aged seafarers’ are much but figure can be ascertained except after the end of the verification exercise.

The PG also disclosed that after the verification exercise, the Union will go into negotiations with the government to determine what would be paid to the seafarers as pension.

He also commended the federal government and the agencies under the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy for the intervention and support.

“There is no way to determine the number of the Seafarers involved until after the verification exercise, because some of them have died ,while some are still alive.

According to him, “The issue has lingered before I came on board,5 to 6 years ago but we want to thank the Honourable Minister of Blue Economy, Hon. Gboyega Oyetola, who has given this directive that the ages Seafarers be verified and their rights given to them.

Therefore, the event today,is to actually determine who the real Seafarers are. These are people who have contributed immensely to the growth of seafaring in Nigeria.We are talking about those who have served in the defunct NNSL.

“Some of them have died ,but the good news is that their next of kin will receive their pensions, because they have already being paid gratuity before they died.
This is why we are doing proper verification so that the rights that belongs to each one of them is given.”

” So,it is after the verification we can now determine their number” Adeyanju said.
He assured that even those who have died will still get their pension through their next of kin, adding that the exercise would last for one week and would hold simultaneously in all the States with Seaports in the country.

“Sometimes they feel we have been bought over .However ,we don’t count on that and we don’t believe on that either. As a unionist,your duty is to protect the interests and welfare of both the living and the dead.

Adding that, “essentially,the challenges we faced was because it was being unduly delayed. However, we thank God ,we also thank the Minister of Blue Economy, Hon. Gboyega Oyetola, the Managing Director of NPA, Mr Muhammed Bello- Koko, the former DG of NIMASA, Dr.Bashir Jamoh and the present DG,Dr Dayo Mobereola.They all have contributed to the success story of the Seafarers.

“So ,what you are seeing today,is a deliberate effort of the leadership of the Maritime workers Union of Nigeria MWUN. We are going to silence those who said we don’t have any right to collect money .But today, the government is saying that we have right to collect money,”
He said.

“There is no way we can determine how much would be paid until the union sits down with the government” Adeyanju submitted.

Also in an interview, some of the beneficiaries expressed gratitude to God and to the leadership of the MWUN for ensuring that this comes to reality.

Comrade Abdul Eroje,Deputy Secretary General organising, said the event of today is a dream come true.

His words,”The struggle for what is happening here today,has been on since 1991,when the retirees of the defunct NNSL,went to court .Justice Atilade ruled that they should be paid pension and gratuity.However,the court order was not obeyed.

” In 1995,we went to the National Industrial court ,and justice Adejumo equally ruled in our favour.In 2007, some batch were paid gratuity.And the second batch was paid in 2010. Over 1,700 were paid in these exercises.No, the pension was not paid.Successive leadership of the Maritime Workers Union had worked on this project but it did not materialise until the leadership of Prince Adeyanju.”

Eroje said Dr Adeyanju in order to achieve result, set up an in house committee to look into the issue and all the documents relating to the issue – including court rulings and judgements were rooted out,and report was written.” So it is a victory day for the Seafarers .But it is very painful that the Federal Government could not resuscitate the defunct NNSL” Eroje lamented.

He added ,” Nigeria is a cargo hub for both import and export,it is indeed painful.
“We have trained Seafarers locally and internationally and they go about looking for job.And if you look at our demography,we have sufficient man power to make this country a hub for Seafarers.

In a nutshell,we need a national shipping line.
So we give kudos to the PG Adeyanju,who during his tenure this dream came to fruition.
He informed that there is no condition attached to the verification exercise other than that those coming for the verification should come with their discharge book ,which shows they have worked on board vessel.

Another beneficiary, Comrade Sunday Ben ,former chairman , shipping coordinating Unit,who was responsible for feeding of all Seafarers in Lagos, expressed gratitude to God that he was alive to benefit from the pension payment.

He equally thanked the President General, Dr Adeyanju for making this happen.

” I thank PG Adeyanju for this great feat”. he said. He has been our pillar, he has continued to work assiduously to bring this exercise to fruition, we feel his pains and we will continue to pray that he succeeds in all he has embarked upon, especially this pension issue,” he said.

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