...Charges NIMASA on compulsory engagement of dockworkers at jetties
The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has raised an alarm over the current state of insecurity at Nigerian jetties, even as the union hinged the deteriorated security level on the refusal of operators to employ registered dockworkers and seafarers at such facilities.Speaking at the 4th Quadrennial Delegates Conference of the union’s Shipping Branch and the NIWA and Seafarers Branch in Lagos yesterday, President General of MWUN; Comrade Adewale Adeyanju alleged that weapons and other prohibited items are being smuggled into the country through the private jetties.He called on the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to fully implement its Act, especially the area that affects the establishment of jetties with a view to ensuring that registered dockworkers are engaged there. He said there was need to "improve security at the jetties which has in recent times become loose loops through which means offensive matters and weaponry are smuggled illegally into our interior environment, thus undermining our internal security and galvanising terrorists’ activities"."We call on government and its agencies to enforce the NIMASA Act which stipulates that registered dockworkers should be granted access to the operations of private jetty owners", he appealed."NIMASA has a role to play, look at the jetties, nobody is there, they are not employing our members including the seafarers and the Dockworkers, they have placed us under unemployment”, he lamented He assured that these were some of the challenges confronting the union which his administration intends to tackle urgently.He said that the union is going to have a meeting with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) NIMASA and other relevant stakeholders over the unemployment of dockworkers and casualisation of the seafarers.Adeyanju lamented that most of the private companies which own jetties do not employ registered dockworkers and seafarers. He said that instead, they employ people randomly to work for them without any standard. "Anything can happen at the jetty if we don't have bonafire dockworkers and seafarers working there, there would be trouble. There is an Act that establishes dockworkers and there is also a fine for those who refuses to employ registered dockworkers, it is N1 million or six month imprisonment"Adeyanju also assured that the national secretariat under his watch would undergo total revamp, saying that new blood would be injected into the system.At the end of the Seafarers and NIWA Branch election, Comrade Francis Bunu and all his executives were re-elected unopposed. He is now the branch President for his second term while Comrade Ekpeyong .O. Ekpeyong emerged as the new President of the Shipping Branch.Ekpeyong succeeds Comrade Uche Igwe Onu who is now the treasure of the MWUN. Other officers elected alongside Ekpeyong unopposed are;Comrade Olufemi Oluyinka as Vice President, Comrade P. Olodo as Secretary, Akpidama David as treasure, James Ironkwe and Nora Ozaizi as trustees of the branch and Rosemary Otikpere as women leader.Meanwhile, the union has said that elections into its NPA Branch would hold on Friday 28th of April in Lagos, while the Dockworkers Branch election was postponed indefinitely. Recall that Shipping Position Daily had reported exclusively last week that 13 candidates had picked forms to emerge as dockworkers branch president of the MWUN.Speaking with journalist in his office yesterday, Comrade Adeyanju said that the union intends to hold a final talk with all the contestants so as to reach a consensus on sharing the available positions.He said that the meeting would hold immediately after the May Day rally in Abuja next week, even as he added that the union is trying to avoid falling into crisis as a result of its branch elections.