By Bimbola Oyesola
The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) at the weekend lamented the growing spate of insecurity in Nigeria, warning that the country was drifting towards anarchy.
This is even as the union has re-elected its incumbent president-general, Adewale Adeyanju, for a second term of four years.
Speaking during the union’s delegates’ conference, where he was re-elected, following a unanimous decision by members of the union, Adeyanju called on the Federal Government to rejig the country’s security architecture with a view to curbing the incessant killing of innocent citizens, kidnapping and piracy, among other crimes, before the situation goes out of control.
“It is no gain saying that the security architecture in the country has broken down. The incessant killings of innocent citizens, kidnapping, robberies, raping, piracy, brigandage and all other vices, which have been the order of the day, must be brought to a stop now. There is an urgent need to reverse this trend before it spirals out of control,” he said.
He promised to consolidate on the achievements recorded by the union under his leadership in the past four years.
The MWUN president listed some of the achievements by the union to include improvement in workers’ welfare, sustenance of peace in the ports, stoppage of the Ports & Harbours bill, payment of severance package to tally clerks and onboard security men and signing of a Collective Bargaining Agreement with port terminal operators.
He commended the chairman, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Princess Vicky Haastrup, for supporting the activities of the union and for seeing to the improvement of the welfare of dockworkers.
Lamenting the negative effects of the Apapa gridlock on the nation’s economy, Adeyanju called on the Federal Government to find a permanent solution to the situation, which he said has become a recurring decimal.
He equally called on government to commence payment of monthly pension to aged seafarers who were retired as a result of the liquidation of the Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL).
President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, in his speech, noted that the congress remains committed to the welfare of Nigerian workers adding that the move by the federal government to remove the national minimum wage from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent legislative list will be resisted.
In her remarks, Haastrup stated that Adeyanju had been instrumental to the sustainance of peace and industrial harmony in the ports, adding that dockworkers in Nigerian ports are now reformed and no longer what they used to be.
She pledged that seaport terminal operators under her leadership will always see to the welfare of dockworkers.
She said, “I am not surprised that you are returning unopposed because under your leadership, we have enjoyed peaceful coexistence between employer and the workers.
“The Nigerian dockworkers are reformed and it is because of the leadership. They are no longer violent. It is a thing of joy for me to be called mama dockworker. The Nigerian ports have really evolved.”