Apparently dissatisfied with the poor state of port access roads in the country, the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has issued a 7 days notice to down tools.
The leadership of the union said it was planning to embark on nationwide strike in protest over the poor state of ports access roads in the country.
According to MWUN, it will withdraw its services if the federal government fails to speed up measures that will see the roads fixed by February 5, 2018. Though the union was not pleased with the poor state of port access roads, it noted that Apapa port access roads have become a nightmare for port users in the past few years.
The President-General of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, said all the federal government needs to do is to remove all the trucks on the Oshodi-Apapa Dual Carriage Way, and fill the craters and potholes on the access roads to all the ports to make the roads motorable,
“If by Monday, February 5, 2018, the trucks are not removed and the craters and potholes filled, the union will withdraw all its members from the ports nationwide until these two demands are met”, Adeyanju said in the notice obtained by Maritime Bits.
While recalling several efforts to get the federal government address the issues of the roads which failed, MWUN said in May 2017 it had issued similar threat, a development that forced the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to plead with the leaders not to embark on strike as it was doing something on the road.
According to Adeyanju, “we were assured that remedial works would be done on the road because it was not captured in 2017 national budget. We decided to suspend our planned industrial action. We waited and endured very harrowing experiences on the access roads to the Ports in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Calabar and Warri, hoping upon hopes that the government will at least, do a quick fix on the roads to make them motorable. But, nine months after the union suspended its strike action, the roads have continued to deteriorate. In fact, we lost two of our members on the Oshodi-Apapa Dual Carriage Way.
He noted that while work was ongoing on the Apapa port from the Ijora area, Oshodi-Apapa Dual Carriage Way has remained unmotorable.
The Union added that most people working in Tin Can Island Port Complex, Apapa, Lagos have resorted to using commercial motorcycles which have claimed lives including two members of the union.
Continuing, Adeyanju said: “Today, only few vessels now berth at our seaports as most ship owners and businessmen prefer our neighbouring ports especially Cotonou. While our neighbouring ports are booming, our ports have been deserted because of the failed access roads to the ports, the gateway to the nation’s economy. Last week, we took an assessment tour of the road and to our dismay, the Apapa axis of the road said to be under reconstruction by a consortium of private individuals, which we understand that NPA has paid part of the substantial part of N270 million pledge it made on the reconstruction of the road, is at a standstill. In fact, from what we saw, at the rate the works on the road are going, that part of the road will not be completed in the next two years. Business activities at the ports are now next to nothing. We cannot continue like this. It is completely unacceptable to us as a major stakeholder”.