June 19, 2024

MWUN Commences Verification of Aged Seafarers for Pension Payment

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MWUN Commences Verification of Aged Seafarers for Pension Payment

By Okezie Nnadi

The Maritime Workers’ Union Of Nigeria, MWUN has today, Tuesday,17 May 2024, began the much lingering Seafarers Verification Exercise to determine the number of retired Seafarers waiting in line to be paid their pension after negotiations with the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The President General, Maritime Workers’ Union Of Nigeria (MWUN)who was on hand at the NPA play ground ,Surulere – Lagos speaking with Journalists explained that the exercise today was to ensure that the right of the aged Seafarers be given to them.
According to him,
“The issue has lingered before I came on board,5 to 6 years ago but we want to thank the Honourable Minister of Blue Economy, Hon. Gboyega Oyetola, who has given this directive that the ages Seafarers be verified and their rights given to them.

“Therefore, the event today,is to actually determine who the real Seafarers are. These are people who have contributed immensely to the growth of seafaring in Nigeria.We are talking about those who have served in the defunct NNSL.Some of them have died ,but the good news is that their next of kin will receive their pensions, because they have already being paid gratuity before they died.
This is why we are doing proper verification so that the rights that belongs to each one of them is given.”

Continuing, the PG said that for now , there is no way to determine the number of the Seafarers involved until after the verification exercise, because some of them have died ,while some are still alive.
” So,it is after the verification we can now determine their number” Adeyanju said

He assured that even those who have died will still get their pension through their next of kin, adding that the exercise would last for one week and would hold simultaneously in all the States with Seaports in the country.

When asked about the challenges he has encountered while on this journey, Adeyanju said , ” As a leader you don’t come out to tell the whole world the challenges you are encountering in doing your job.Yes, we faced a lot of challenges, either from the same people we are representing: the retired workers themselves who are fathers and who are old, we must respect them.The attitude towards them and their own attitude towards us are part of the challenges.
Sometimes they feel we have been bought over .However ,we don’t count on that and we don’t believe on that either. As a unionist,your duty is to protect the interests and welfare of both the living and the dead.

Adding that, “essentially,the challenges we faced was because it was being unduly delayed. However, we thank God ,we also thank the Minister of Blue Economy, Hon. Gboyega Oyetola, the Managing Director of NPA, Mr Muhammed Bello- Koko, the former DG of NIMASA, Dr.Bashir Jamoh and the present DG,Dr Dayo Mobereola.They all have contributed to the success story of the Seafarers.
So ,what you are seeing today,is a deliberate effort of the leadership of the Maritime workers Union of Nigeria MWUN. We are going to silence those who said we don’t have any right to collect money .But today, the government is saying that we have right to collect money,”
He said.

The PG also disclosed that “After the verification exercise, the Union will go into negotiations with the government to determine what would be paid to the Seafarers as pension.
There is no way we can determine how much would be paid until the union sits down with the government” Adeyanju submitted.

Also in an interview, some of the beneficiaries expressed gratitude to God and to the leadership of the MWUN for ensuring that this comes to reality.
Comrade Abdul Iroje,Deputy Secretary General organising, said the event of today is a dream come true.
His words,”The struggle for what is happening here today,has been on since 1991,when the retirees of the defunct NNSL,went to court .Justice Atilade ruled that they should be paid pension and gratuity.However,the court order was not obeyed.
” In 1995,we went to the National Industrial court ,and justice Adejumo equally ruled in our favour.In 2007, some batch were paid gratuity.And the second batch was paid in 2010. Over 1,700 were paid in these exercises.No, the pension was not paid.Successive leadership of the Maritime Workers Union had worked on this project but it did not materialise until the leadership of Prince Adeyanju.”
Iroje said Dr Adeyanju in order to achieve result, set up an in house committee to look into the issue and all the documents relating to the issue – including court rulings and judgements were rooted out,and report was written.” So it is a victory day for the Seafarers .But it is very painful that the Federal Government could not resucitate the defunct NNSL” Iroje lamented.
He added ,” Nigeria is a cargo hub for both import and export,it is indeed painful.
“We have trained Seafarers locally and internationally and they go about looking for job.And if you look at our demography,we have sufficient man power to make this country a hub for Seafarers.

In a nutshell,we need a national shipping line.
So we give kudos to the PG Adeyanju,who during his tenure this dream came to fruition.
He informed that there is no condition attached to the verification exercise other than that those coming for the verification should come with their discharge book ,which shows they have worked on board vessel.

Another beneficiary, Comrade Sunday Ben ,former chairman , shipping coordinating Unit,who was responsible for feeding of all Seafarers in Lagos, expressed gratitude to God that he was alive to benefit from the pension payment.
He equally thanked the President General,Dr Adeyanju for making this happen.
” I thank PG Adeyanju for this great feat”. he said. He has been our pillar, he has continued to work assiduously to bring this exercise to fruition, we feel his pains and we will continue to pray that he succeeds in all he has embarked upon, especially this pension issue,” he said.

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