The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has raised the alarm over influx of unregistered and illegal dockworkers at the nation’s seaports. It would be recalled that the responsibility of regulating seaport labour is vested in the Nigerian Maritime Administration & Safety Agency (NIMASA).
Speaking with the Nigerian Tribune exclusively in his office in Lagos, the newly elected President-General of the MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju said the association is set to open talks with the NIMASA to exploits ways of checking the menace of this illegal persons claiming to be dockworkers at Nigeria’s seaports.
According to him, “We are going to write NIMASA over the activities of these fake dockworkers. We have found out that some people who have been paid off by their former employees are still besieging the ports, parading themselves as dockworkers. They are no longer dockworkers because they have no jobs at the ports.
“We are writing NIMASA on this issue because we cannot allow this set of people to tarnish our image with their nefarious activities.
“Who is a dockworker? A dockworker is anybody that has employment with a particular stevedoring contractor at the port. A dockworker is somebody that is being engaged by the terminal operators. However, we have found out that many people who do not have these criteria are flooding the ports.
“This people have been paid off. They don’t have any business being at the ports. But they always come around, calling themselves dockworkers. The moment any dockworker has been paid off by his or her former employee, that person ceases to be a dockworker and should not be seen in or around the ports.
“As I am talking to you now, the registration of dockworkers working inside the ports have lapsed. How is a dockworker registered? It is the job of the stevedoring company that a dockworker is attached with, to send the names of dockworkers attached to it to NIMASA.
“As I am taking to you, it is almost a year since the registration of dockworkers has lapsed. We are currently having a running battle with these miscreants who call themselves dockworkers.
“We will be meeting with NIMASA to re-register bonafide dockworkers so that we will be able to differentiate original dockworkers and these miscreants calling themselves dockworkers.
“We had issues with these miscreants during our last national elections. They almost hijacked the electioneering process, but we had to inform our members that these miscreants were no longer our members because they have been paid off by their employees and have no business at the ports.
“These are the same people that will galvanise idle miscreants like them to picket some government organisations and operators under the pretext that they are members of MWUN.”
On the embittered elements in the MWUN who were writing petitions prior to the elections of the association, Adeyanju added that, “Some of those people that wrote petitions against the association prior to the elections have started congratulating us.
“When 21 petitions are written against you, it is a lesson of life. My house was besieged by the Federal SARS. I am not a criminal and do not have anything to hide. The Federal SARS came to my house, did their job and found nothing on me. I was arrested by the DSS. They interrogated me.
“We have moved forward and will work with the petitioners. It is a lesson for the leadership of the union that those that wine and dine with you are not your true friends. The association has to move forward. We have put those petitions behind us.”