By Jerry Aguigbo
The Maritime Workers’Union of Nigeria, (MWUN) has distanced itself from the crisis which rocked the Tincan Island over illegal toll collection and extortion of truck drivers.
MWUN made this clear when the President – General of the Maritime Workers’Union, Prince Adewale Adeyanju paid a visit to the Port Manager, Nigerian Ports Authority, (NPA) Tincan Island Port Mr Jubril Buba, on Friday 11 August, 2023. Apapa, on over the recent crisis within the port caused by extortion of truck drivers and illegal toll collection by some persons.
Comrade (Dr) Adeyanju exhonorated Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria and its members who are bonafide workers of any blame in the ensuing crisis of tolling. According to the PG, “our members are very well organized, and as such are in no way involved in the illegal toll collection and the chaos that ensued therefrom; as some faceless associations and unions are responsible for the upheaval and the unwanted crisis at the port by means of illegal sales of tickets and extortion from truck drivers,” he explained.
Comrade Adeyanju also made it clear to the Port Manager that MWUN has no business being on the roads since it is not its constitutional right to operate within the roads. The roads as it were belongs to the National Union of Road Transport Workers ( NURTW ) otherwise known as Lagos State Park & Management and Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria ( RTEAN ).
Adeyanju also made it clear that Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) are constitutionally guided to operate within the ports and its axis and not outside the ports. And that it is legitimately binding on the Union to always collaborate with the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority in all its activities at the port; hence, the Union will never engage in any illegality or collaborate with any association(s) or group of persons to embark on operation inimical to the development of the port and its operations, or to the detriment of the nation’s economy at any point in time.
He however warned that the Union will no longer tolerate any more targeted attack on innocent Dockworkers, who are out for their legitimate duty by hoodlums who parade themselves as association or union members within the ports to cause mayhem, citing the recent attack before now where four of the Union members were brutally attacked and murdered by these faceless associations and unions. “The union will from henceforth match force with force if by any means any Dockworker(s) is attacked again in the port.
He reiterated that the Port is the sole property of the Federal Government of Nigeria and is being regulated by same federal government agencies. Therefore, any entity with an interest to pursue at the Port can only come into the port through the appropriate channel if need be but not through coercion or under any guise of revenue drive without the approval of the Nigerian Port’s Authority (NPA). “Such illegitimate actions if not curtailed now will continue to brew crisis within the ports since the port is within the operational purview of the NPA and its regulators. The rules are very clear, hence, MWUN cannot operate on the roads, while the ports remain the operational jurisdiction of MWUN.”
Continuing, Prince Adeyanju explained that “as enshrined in the Constitution of the Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria , the Union has a Haulage District under a Chairman with eight units under it; all fall under the Dockworkers’ Branch of the union with its Branch President. This District is the only body that is empowered by the Union to collect check-off dues from the truck drivers who are members of the Union which is in line with the Constitution of the Union. The Dockworkers’ Branch are professionals at the harbour with skills of loading/offloading of goods and consignments from vessels; therefore MWUN has the exclusive right to operate within the ports without hindrance.
It is also on record that the Union has a collaboration with NARTO in this course, and the collaboration has since been made known to all Stakeholders in the maritime sector including the Lagos State Government, the NPA, Police, DSS, NIMASA, Shippers Council.
Having said this, any interested organization or parastatals must desist from unsanctioned incursions into the ports without the approval of the NPA, Shippers’ Council, NIMASA, and other relevant agencies of the maritime sector.”
He warned that “all other faceless associations and unions must stop henceforth from illegal toll collection and extortion from truck drivers as this act of criminality will not help to build the nation’s economy at the ports.”
The Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria, he said, “will continue to partner with the NPA and other relevant government agencies in all its policies towards making the seaports operational and friendly to all investors and maritime practitioners at all times towards the growth of the nation’s economy,” he stated.