By Kenneth Jukpor
Following the expiration of the seven-day ultimatum, Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has grounded activities at the AP Moller Terminal (APMT) in Apapa over breach of Nigerian content law.
The union had issued a one-week ultimatum to the concessionaire asking it to reverse its plans to outsource security work of the terminal to foreigners.
Failure to respond to the ultimatum, the union blocked all entrances to the terminal this morning, even as it turns back staff from gaining entry into the terminal.
Present at the gates of APMT are the members of the union and the executives carrying placards with inscriptions as “We say no to racism”; “We say no to scrapping of any department in our terminal,” among others.
While the atmosphere is tensed as the workers say there is no going back until the terminal reverses to the status quo ante, the President General of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju has also pointed out other wrongdoings of APMT.
His words: “When we engaged APMT, they agreed and accepted that they brought in some people from Cotonou and other countries to do jobs that several qualified Nigerians can do. Will APMT say we don’t have qualified Nigerians as Chartered Accountants? Isn’t this a slap to Nigeria and its citizens? Why should the head of Accounts at APMT be a foreigner?”
“We can understand if they bring expatriates to train Nigerians for a period of time but this strategy of using foreigners everywhere is also a security threat and it’s against the laws of the nation.”
The MWUN President General, however, attributed the protest to the disposition of the APMT Country Manager, Mr. Klaus Laursen.
“It is obvious that the new APMT boss has no regard for Nigerian laws and the citizens. He expunged a whole department without discussing with the union and he is planning to do the same with other departments. The fact that Maritime workers haven’t protested in the last few years until his administration shows you the problem.”
“There is no job security in APMT and this wasn’t the idea behind the concession of the ports. The ports were not concessioned to kill Nigerians,” Adeyanju told MMS Plus.
He also lamented that the expatriate quota of APMT has been exceeded and blamed the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) for granting approvals for immigrants to take up jobs that should have been done by Nigerians.