Lawmakers Seek To Sell Nigerian Ports, Harbour To Friends And Family
By Ebenezer William
The Leadership(s) of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government-Owned Companies (Maritime Branch – SSASCGOC: have raised an alarm notifying the general public of the renewed attempt by the National assembly to sneak the Port and Harbour Bill into Legislation through the back door.
The Bill which was earlier initiated by an Honourable member of the 8th National Assembly was quashed from becoming law through the intervention of well-meaning Nigerians, stakeholders and the exerted efforts of the two in-house unions- MWUN & SSASCGOC.
In a press statement released by both Unions signed by Comrade Adeyanju Adewale, the President of MWUN and Comrade Akinola Bodunde, President of SSASCGOC the following stated:
“We wish to note that this Bill if allowed to be passed into law will have terrible consequences on the security of the nation as it will cede harbour, jetty and terminal operations into private hands. ”
“We are therefore not surprised that the bill is being vigorously sponsored by certain unpatriotic individuals within the maritime sector, who are hell-bent on appropriating our commonwealth and cornering same into the lining of their pockets and that of their cronies”.
We would have thought that given our persistent cry and various notices pointing to the deplorable state of our various nation’s seaports, decrepit state of port access roads, collapsing quay aprons, and the general failure of infrastructures within our ports the focus of this 10th National Assembly would have been to find solutions to the myriad of problems bedevilling our ports, terminals, jetties and Oil and Gas platforms and even the need to dredge all the ports particularly Calabar, Warri, Onne etc for increased efficiency; and not to clandestinely and recklessly seek to misappropriate public infrastructure through unfriendly legislation for the benefit of individuals whose only interest is capital accumulation and not the general public good of all”.
“We are even further surprised that the sponsors of this bill outrightly ignored our demand to call the International Oil Companies (10Cs) operating in our sovereign territorial economic zones, who have snobbishly refused to obey our extant maritime regulations, standards and laws to order but, find it expedient to sit in the comfort of their hallowed chambers to push for laws that will be detrimental and inimical to the welfare and wellbeing of the working class, Nigerians and our nation’ security and sovereignty”.
“The Joint House Unions, MWUN & SSACGOC use this medium to convey our belief to the Executive, National Assembly and the new Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy that this is certainly not the right way to go as this ploy by these selfish individuals in the maritime sector will cause chaos and anarchy in the industry which has enjoyed sustained peace since the idea of projecting the harsh Bill was killed in 2018 will not be allowed to come to fruition”.
“We note that the bill as being proposed, if passed into law will render the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) employees jobless and endanger the productivity of other port users. Even more sinister is the proposed idea of the Bill to provide wholly, that will not be pensionable as well as not transferable and without access to terminal benefits. This is the height of inconsideration by the proponents of the Bill to the right of workers to the necessary payment for services rendered by a worker, in accordance to known law, industrial relations practice, equity and good conscience”
“It is our bWe believe this Bill to be passed into law will effectively institutionalize the evil concept of casualization of workers and negate the provisions of the Pension Reform Act 2004 as amended. This is in direct contrast to the avowed promises of Mr. President – Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR to ensure the provision of about 5 million jobs for Nigerians through the newly created Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy”.
“Having said this, We, the two in-house unions in the maritime sector – MWUN & SSASCGOC, will not fold our hands or rest on our oars AND allow few unpatriotic Nigerians within the industry to rip off the Nation’s commonwealth and render OUR sector unproductive via this infamous Bill that will only create poverty, hopelessness, hunger and generate avid bitterness amongst the already impoverished workers and Nigeria citizenry”.
“On this note, the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria – MWUN and Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government Owned Companies (Maritime Branch) – SSASCGOC: unequivocally REJECT the Bill seeking to repeal the Act that set up Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in its entirety”.
“Consequently, we confirm our absolute vote of confidence on the Nigerian Ports Authority ACT as it currently relates to the Nigerian state and the well-being of the workers in the sector and we will vehemently RESIST all attempts to push this hellish bill further. WE THEREFORE DEMAND FOR ITS WITHDRAWAL IN ITS ENTIRETY”
In addition, the Unions further drew the attention of the Federal government to the duplication of functions of MDAs within the maritime sector urging the government to define clearly the functions of each government Agencies to avoid unnecessary conflict of functions.
The union leadership said further that there is a need to ensure that the appointment of the headship of these Agencies is technocrats, vast in maritime operations in consonance with the laid down laws.