Union threatens Nigeria port worker stoppage

The MWUN has threatened to remove all its members from the country's ports if the Nigerian federal government fails to resolve problems on all port access roads – especially at the Port of Lagos (image is of Victoria Island in Lagos) Photo: OpenUpEd/flickr/CC BY 2.0 The MWUN has threatened to remove all its members from the country's ports if the Nigerian federal government fails to resolve problems on all port access roads – especially at the Port of Lagos (image is of Victoria Island in Lagos) Photo: OpenUpEd/flickr/CC BY 2.0

The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has threatened to remove all its members from the country’s ports if the Nigerian federal government fails to resolve problems on all port access roads – especially the Apapa port.

The Wires section of the Daily Mail website described Apapa as “the catch-all name for Lagos’ two seaports of Apapa and Tin Can Island”.

In a letter signed by MWUN president-general Adewale Adeyanju, the union gave the federal government until February 5 to comply with its demand that it remove all trucks on “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 these developments have not taken place by February 5, the letter said, the MWUN “will withdraw all its members from the ports nationwide until these two demands are met”, with a strike from this organisation having the potential to effectively cripple port operations across Nigeria.

According to the MWUN, strike action has become necessary because of the Nigerian federal government’s inability to fix access roads into ports across the nation.

In May last year, the union gave the federal government a 21-day ultimatum to repair the roads, but decided to suspend planned industrial action following assurance from the Nigerian Ports Authority that repair work would be undertaken.

“But nine months after the union suspended its strike action, the roads have continued to deteriorate,” said Mr Adeyanju, who added that two union members had died on the Oshodi-Apapa Dual Carriage Way.

“Today, only few vessels now berth at our seaports as most ship owners and businessmen prefer our neighbouring ports, especially Cotonou [in Benin],” he also explained.

“While our neighbouring ports are booming, our ports have been deserted because of the failed access roads to [them], the gateway to the nation’s economy.”

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