The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has raised fresh alarm, that not less than 200 jetties across the country are currently unmanned and that this posts security risk to the nation.
Speaking with journalists in Lagos last week, NPA Branch President of MWUN, Comrade Ifeayin Mazeli blamed the situation at the jetties on lack of employment of new staff into NPA in the past decade. He said that currently, the NPA is operating an inverted pyramid structure whereby the senior staff are more than the junior staff.
Mazeli also disclosed that in the recent recruitment exercise into the NPA, more than 300 people have so far been employed.
The unionist however commended the Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, saying that she had done well within her two years in office.
He said: "We have more than 200 jetties unmanned, if you look at the concessionaires, there is no NPA staff to monitor whatever they are bringing into the country, so even when cargoes are declared lower than what was imported, you have to accept whatever figure they give you because you don't have your people there ascertain the actual figure"
"This is the job of the junior workers and in a situation where you have more senior workers than the junior ones, then it is not the best"
"So far, the last figure I am aware of is 300, myself and the senior staff president were there to address them in ASCON some few weeks ago.
They just started working, but we are meeting with management to get the actual figure, as president of the workers, I need to know the number of my members"
"Much as we welcome the employment going on, let it be used to correct the anomaly.
If you look at the system now, we are not maintaining a pyramid structure, we have a situation where the up is heavier than the down, the officer cadre is heavier than the junior staff cadre that is doing the work. As much as there is a window of employment now, we are saying that we should use the opportunity to correct the anomaly." he said
Comrade Mazeli noted that the issue of promotion into NPA in the past was an herculean task, but that since Hadiza Bala Usman came onboard, three promotion examinations have been conducted and promotion given as at when due to those qualified.
He said that before arrival of the incumbent managing director, promotion was done the wrong way and this was largely responsible for the inverted pyramid structure in the agency.
Speaking further, he said "Before now, you can see someone employed just yesterday being promoted above somebody that has been here for ten years and even with the best certificate. She has set up a committee to correct the problems; the wrong promotions were part of the reasons the top is heavier"
"This employment is a welcome development and we really applaud the management of Nigerian Ports Authority for this good gestures and we are extending our gratitude to the federal government for giving her the permission"
"I have been saying it and I will keep saying it that we have never had it this good, since she came into office, there has been a lot of significant changes, especially in the area of workers welfare, productivity base of the organization"
"We are partners in progress and not an opposition party, when someone does well, we must say it", he said.