Maritime workers threaten to shut down ports activities over new bill

A coalition of two maritime unions has threatened to cripple activities in the nation’s seaports effective tomorrow over contentious amendment of the Nigerian Ports Authority Act.

The protest, planned to take place simultaneously in all the nation’s seaports, is being jointly organised by the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) and the Senior Staff Association of Communications, Transport and Corporation (SSACTAC), Maritime Branch.

The Secretary-General of MWUN, Felix Akingboye, confirmed yesterday that the groups were already mobilising members in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Onne, Warri and Calabar for the demonstration scheduled to hold simultaneously in all the ports from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday.

The unions had written a letter in June expressing opposition to the Ports and Harbours Authority Bill, 2015, which seeks to repeal the Nigerian Ports Authority Act 1955 as amended.

MWUN had earlier petitioned the Speaker of the House of Representatives over the passage of the bill, saying that it spells doom and that it would lead to massive job losses. Akingboye said: “We are opposed to any attempt to further strip Nigerians of our patrimony through further concession in the guise of amending the NPA Act 1955 as amended.

“Government should avoid the same mistakes of the ports concession of 2006 which led to the sack of 12,000 NPA workers.

He added that if passed into law, “the proposed bill has great security and revenue risks for the Federal Government and it would lead to mass sack of NPA workers.

Also, President-General of MWUN; Adewale Adeyanju, said that the workers would not allow politicians and their cohorts to further strip the ports through the bill.

“We are aware of their plans. When the bill was being debated, there was no invitation to critical stakeholders, especially public hearing. How can you be amending the Ports Act without taking the opinion of ports workers? We are not going back on this,” he said.

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