The 536 personnel trainedÂ by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) at its Technical Training Centre between 2003 and 2007 Monday stormed the Marina headquarters of the authority demanding that management should absorb them in line with the agreement reached with NPA before they were admitted for the programme.
Armed with placards with variedÂ inscriptions, the protesters said the NPA decided to throw them into the labour market after they had undergone four years of training in different maritime related fields.
Spokesman of the aggrieved protesters, Alex Ujong explained that the NPA had advertises requesting for application from qualified candidates to apply for the training programme.
Consequently about 536 of them from the 36 states of the Federation were admitted after passing the qualifying examination.On 30th January 2003, an offer of admission/appointment as a technical trainee in the Technical Training Centre was given to each of them.
The letter signed by one Mr. Luti Kure on behalf of the Managing Director on 30th January 2003, reading: â€œI am pleased to inform you that as a result of your performance in just concluded examination/interview of the above named centre, you have been offered an admission as a Technical Trainee in the authorityâ€™s pensionable service on a commencing salary of grade JSS in the authorityâ€™s salary structure.
â€œYou will be expected to spend a maximum of four years in the training centre.Â On successful completion, you will be deployed appropriately.
The one page letter further said: â€œyour first year of admission will be a period of probation and subject to termination by either side on one month notice or salary in lieuâ€.
The training which started on 3rd January 2003, was rounded up in 2007.However Ujong said the management reneged on the promise to absorb them after the training.
According to him it took the intervention of the Minister of Transport Dr. Abiye Sekibo to prevail by the NPA which stopped their payment at the middle of the programme.Â The school was established in 1935.
But the Assistant General Manager (AGM) Public Affairs, Mr. Musa Iliya said the Presidential Task Force on Privatisation had asked NPA to concentrate on its primary assignment, adding that some of them on completion of their training were recommended to the new terminal operators for employment.