By David Oladimeji
The recent threat by the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) to shut down the nation’s ports would have cost Nigeria about N10million per day.
In an exclusive interview with our reporters in Lagos during the handing over ceremony to his successor in Lagos, the outgone President of the Senior Staff Association of Corporate Government Organization (SSASCGOC), Comrade Benson Adegbeyeni, said the grievances of the workers about the deplorable state of the port access road is justified.
Though the Union had later called of the planned strike, he said the deplorable state of the port access road had almost paralysed businesses in the ports.
Comrade Adegbeyen, who became the first President of SSASCGOC Maritime branch to hand over to his deputy in a hitch-free occasion, enumerated his achievements during his tenure.
He said the issue of ceding of towage services to a third party in Calabar, Port Harcourt, Onne and Delta Ports, which was outright farming out of its core jobs including mooring services, as anchored by “our various harbours and dockyards department with NPA had already reared its ugly head before we came onboard.
He said their protest letters to appropriate authorities yielded positive result as the exercise was eventually suspended.
Comrade Adegbeyeni also said his tenure was able to normalize promotion exercise for the workers, who had hitherto remained stagnant.
He said the Ports & Harbour Bill was stopped in conjunction with MWUN, adding
“I can tell you that the committee constituted by the management on gratuity is really working hard to see to the actualization of the proposed percentage. I implore the incoming President not to relent on their effort to maintain the stand”.
On the issue of contract staff, he said it was not the best if the organisation must move forward, adding that a letter had already been forwarded to the management expressing their displeasure on the situation.
He regretted that many people had died as a result of the deplorable access roads to Lagos Ports Complex, Tin Can Island Port, and Onne Ports Complex and urged the incoming President to engage the NPA management on ways to improve the road.
In his acceptance speech, the new helmsman, Comrade Adamu Yau, said his executive would pursue issues already on the front burner left behind by his predecessor.
Yau said maritime sector in Nigeria was hoping to be the hub of in the West Africa sub-region soon but however noted that this would not be achieved where the workforce was surcharged and also denied their rights.
In his remark, the Deputy President-General of SSASCGOC, Comrade Omar Omeizah Jimoh, regretted that the port access roads had immensely affected the revenue of the maritime sector.