Shipping Lines, Importers Responsible For Low Patronage At Eastern Ports
Shipping lines and importers have been accused of being responsible for the insufficient cargo traffic via seaports in the Eastern part of the country.
Despite major impediments such as shallow draft and insecurity challenges, port workers have called on importers and shipping lines to show willingness to patronize the ports in the region as government interventions would be futile without their support.
Port workers under Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) made this claim yesterday when the President of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Branch of MWUN, Comrade Ifeanyi Mazeli led his leadership team for a visit to the President General, MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju.
According to Mazeli, the reports of insecurity in the Eastern region is being overrated as he stressed that there are gross security challenges in almost every state in the country.
While he noted that NPA and other government agencies should do more in the bid to create an enabling environment for port business to thrive in the region, he assured Eastern ports stakeholders that patronage of the ports would dissipate youth restiveness which led to piracy and other crimes at sea.
At the meeting, members of NPA branch of MWUN expressly pledged their support for the re-election bid of the incumbent President General of MWUN, Comrade Adeyanju because he saved their jobs four years ago when he fought against the Ports and Harbours bill.
Speaking on behalf of the workers, Comrade Mazeli recalled that barely two months into Adeyanju’s administration, the bill was introduced and the provisions were against the welfare of the workers but Adeyanju stood his ground and used all his connections to quash the bill.
Mazeli’s words: “When we came into office about four years ago, we met that monster called Ports and Harbour bill though we are not challenging or opposing government to name its asset in whatever way it seems fit, we sought to clarify certain things that are contained in the bill. Some of the issues like the people that will remain would have a new condition of service without highlighting the details of the new conditions. It was vague.”
“Then, the union wondered if the new condition of service would be an improvement on the existing one or a drawback. If we are going to have a new one, it should not be less beneficial to the one subsisting but we couldn’t ascertain this.
“Another thing was that the people that were going to remain may not be pensionable. There were lots of ambiguities. How can you work in a system and not be pensionable? It means a situation of hire today and fire tomorrow, but we have an existing format.”
In his response, the President General, MWUN, Adeyanju thanked the NPA workers, stating that he was shocked by the enormity of support and had to reposition himself to maintain the peace in the union whilst addressing the areas of conflict.
Adeyanju noted that there were lots of challenges when the present administration came on board, but he expressed satisfaction that his executive team was able to surmount them which the collaboration of other divisions, especially the NPA branch.
He described the peace in the union as one of his greatest achievements in his tenure as President General, noting that the association would have been at the boiling point in the past with few months to the elections.
The President General also reserved praise for the leadership of NPA, under Ms. Hadiza Bala-Usman, adding that her regime has been a delight to workers and by extension the workers’ union.