MWUN Dares Lagos State Govt, Kicks Against Phasing-Out Of Wooden Boats, Registration

The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has raised an alarm that the decision of the Lagos State Government to phase-out wooden boats on the state’s waterways would affect the livelihood of its members and put many out of job. The union has appealed to the state government for dialogue with the union in order to fashion out acceptable modalities with the wooden boat operators who are also members of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria,  in phasing out the wooden boats. Speaking with Shipping Position Daily in Lagos yesterday, Secretary of the Lagos Commercial Boats District of MWUN;Comrade Owolabi Omotayo said that the Lagos government should adopt a model of the road transportation whereby a mass assisted water transport system is established to create jobs for his members before the wooden boats are phased out. Also speaking with our correspondent on the development, Chairman of Liverpool Unit of the union,  Comrade Aiyeyemi Omosuyi said that the union would fight if the right thing is not done by the government.  He said, "We are definitely going to fight because this is the way we have been sustaining a living and we have no other job to do". On the introduction of ferry by the state government, Comrade Owolabi said that it is a welcome development for the state to modernise the waterways transportation system but he noted that the waterways transportation sector in Lagos state does not have enough man power to safely and effectively man and operate the proposed ferries services. Speaking, he said "The phasing out of wooden boats on the waterways in Lagos state is a welcome development. Lagos been an aquatic state, if you look at most of these wooden boats being used to ferry Lagosians from one place to the other, it is an eye sore, it does not befit the mega state status which Lagos state is striving to become" "But the Lagos state government should put into consideration the employment opportunities the wooden boats transportation on the waterways in Lagos has created over the years, before the decision of phasing it out completely. This action will definitely affect employment and means of livelihood because most of the boat operators and boat workers are automatic members of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria" "The Lagos state government should as a matter of orderliness and rule of law liaise and be in consultation  with the union to fashion out modalities which are acceptable to the wooden boats, boat operators, the union and the Lagos state government”  Making reference to a similar situation with road transport, he said: "Take for instance, on the road, we have government assistance to the road transport workers and operators such as the Federal and State Mass Assisted Programme, So these programmes can be extended to the waterways transport operators" He added that this will go a long way in sustaining employments and assisting the wooden boats operators to acquire a standard NIMASA approved fibre boats for the waterways transportation. Continuing he said that, "if it is going to be a private sector driven then the Lagos state government should make it as a matter of priority to liaise with the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria for the training and retraining of the boat workers in the state through NIMASA as being done to the seafarers who professionally man the ships, tugboats" "The State government must make it a mandatory compliance for any private boat operators with at least 2-3 boat upward to ensure that all workers in his or her fleet are NIMASA-trained and certified. "Modalities should be put in place for the private boat operators to be able to acquire the propose ferries" he said