The PG of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju making his points at the meeting.
Story by Dili Utomi.
The Port Standing Task Team (PSTT), a Government Monitoring and Enforcement ad-hoc arrangement with the major function of bringing sanity into the operations within the Nigerian Ports system yesterday visited the office of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) at the Osho drive, Olodi Apapa headquarters of the Union. In the course of the well attended meeting, the national coordinator of the task team, Moses Fadipe requested that the MWUN join the team in order to bring sanity to the ports.
A major reason for the meeting may have been the recent discovery of the involvement of a dock worker in the attempt to smuggle hard drugs into the country through the Tin Can Island Port.
Comrade Adeyanju left and Mr. Fadipe in a warm handshake.
The president-general of the MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju in his opening speech said that the era of hooliganism and illegality among the ranks of the dock workers is far gone, that the Union is now refined and has some internal mechanism to inform and direct members on what is appropriate and that any member who decides to join any drug cartel seizes to be a member of MWUN and would be considered to be on their own. He advises that clean money is better than illegal money as they are generally contented with their pay and are also entitled to increase in pay every two years, he also warned that MWUN is fully willing to provide the necessary support so that the task team may succeed and that there should be no reoccurrence of the issue of the involvement of any member in such a thing terrible thing anymore.
Moses Fadipe, the Coordinator of the PSTT making his speech.
In his response, the coordinator of the PSTT, Mr. Fadipe commended the MWUN PG for what he called a thought provoking address. He said that his visit to the MWUN secretariat is geared towards interaction for better understanding. He noted that the maritime sector is a cash cow that can singularly provide the financial needs of the nation. Mr. Fadipe lamented that the cargo clearance time in our ports is about 22 days compared to the 5 days that is witnessed at the ports of Benin Republic. Mr. Fadipe reiterated that right now when a ship berths at our port, the port health is the first set of officials allowed on the ship and that they have only 45 minutes to do their job, followed by a 2-member Customs team with 3 immigration officials and that they have 30 minutes to spend on board the ship. This he said is to control the number of people boarding a vessel for check and to save time and cost. Mr. Fadipe said that this new method has endeared the Nigerian maritime sector to the rest of the world as the sum of #3.2 billion was saved through this prompt process last year. He said that the streamlining of the agencies boarding the vessels has improved the general services. Mr. Fadipe also warned that dock workers should stop making themselves available for government agency workers like the Customs to be used in moving ‘samples’ of items out of the ports. He noted that a lot of items have been recovered from people who claim that they are carrying those items (simples)for the officers, he advises that that dock workers should stop allowing themselves to be used. The coordinator said that in one month alone, the task team filled 2×40 feet containers with the so called samples and that pilfering and stealing are commited in the name of collecting samples, he said that they will start prosecuting people for this type of infraction.
The audience listening attentively at the meeting.
In attendance were presidents of the various arms of the Union like Comrade Mohammed Ohize of the Dock Workers Union and Comrade Ifeanyi Masili of the NPA branch of the Union among others, Comrade Oniha Erazua acted as the anchor at the occasion which witnessed the hall filled to the brim.
At an interview session with a few of the many pressmen in attendance, the PG of MWUN said that the day is a new dawn in the life of the Union in a bid to synergise with the Government Agencies in other to clean up the activities in our Port and avert the influx of illegal substances through the Ports into the country. He said that they have been engaging in signals and awareness for members not to engage in the importation or use of hard drugs and of course for them not to be used by Government officials for nefarious activities. On the fate of those caught in the act of hard drug smuggling last year, the PG said that the courts are handling the matter. He also dwelt on the issue of the International Oil Companies and their need to comply with the extant maritime law as it relates to the issue of having dock workers on their platforms, he said that right now, there is about 70% compliance level by the IOCs, this has thereby averted the impending strike action that the Union was determined to carry out. He expressed his pleasure that the 4 year old industrial dispute has been almost totally laid out to rest.
The coordinator of the PSTT on his own part while addressing pressmen said that when certain items come in as cargoes and samples are taking to be tested from it, if at the end of the testing and all the protocols carried out, if all the removed items are not brought back as part of the original consignments, that that automatically becomes an issue of theft and that it is their duty to forestall such acts.
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