By Victor Ahiuma-Young
The Federal Government has said repair works on access roads to the nation’s ports especially Apapa, will be completed in two months while awaiting the execution of the main contracts to .cushion the effect of the gridlock on the busy Oshodi-Apapa Expressway.
At a meeting between officials of the federal government and leaders of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, to avert the union’s threat to shut the ports, government officials and the union, agreed that a standing committee for the evacuation of tankers from the Apapa-Oshodi expressway would also be set up.
The meeting attended by three Ministers, Inspector General of Police, the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, and leaders of MWUN was to stop the strike threat by the union over the menace of tankers and other heavy duty trucks on the access roads Apapa-Oshodi Expressway and other ports, among others.
The meeting called by the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, was attended by Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umaru, Minister of State for Works, Prince Adedayo Adeyeye, Managing Director of Nigeria Ports Authority, Alhaji Habib Abdulahi, representative of the Inspector General of Police, CSP Olusegun Omojuwa, Force Marine Officer and leaders of the union led by its President-General, Mr. Anthony Nted.
Participants at the meeting appreciated “the maturity and understanding shown by the trade union at various times in the pursuit of its members’ welfare. Also the concern the trade union has exhibited in the nation’s welfare was equally appreciated. The meeting noted that some of the trailers have been moving out of the area gradually, and the Federal Government is already addressing the issues of concern to the Trade Union by the award of contracts to Julius Berger to do preliminary assessment, palliative measures, rehabilitation and reconstruction of the roads.
“In consideration of the demand by MWUN for immediate palliative measures/works while awaiting the execution of the main contracts, the meeting concluded as follows that sixty (60) days is slated for the completion of the palliative works, the meeting would reconvene in thirty (30) days time to re-assess progress made, and a Standing Task Force Committee would be put in place to ensure clearing of tankers and trucks from Port Access roads. The Standing Task Force Committee will have MWUN and other relevant stakeholders as members.”
“The meeting noted that the issues of removal of Tank Farms and Petrol Tankers would involve the input of the Minister of Petroleum Resources who was unavoidably absent due to some equally important official meeting, and also, the input and cooperation/action of other stakeholders would be needed. It was therefore concluded that the issues pertaining to the Tank Farms should be stepped down to allow the Federal Government time to address the issues.”