By Godwin Oritse
A group of dock workers, under the Delta state branch of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN has sent a petition to President Goodluck Jonathan over alleged plans by the Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA to sack more than 10,000 Nigerian dockworkers.
The group, known as Concerned Dock Workers, alleged that the NPA is making moves to reduce the number of dockworkers in the nation’s seaports. The group accused the Managing Director of NPA, Mallam Habib Abdulahi, of being the brain behind the moves, and consequently called for his removal from office.
Those who signed the petition on behalf of the Concerned Dockworkers include: Comrade A.F Jack, Comrade, T.T Longjohn and Comrade Lasisi Lamidi. The Save-Our-Soul (SOS) letter also alleged that the NPA had concluded plans to replace dock workers with cargo surveyors.
According to the statement, the targeted labour workers include, tally clerks, and cargo security men operating in Nigerian ports, midstream, jetties and terminals.
The petition stated, “It make no sense at all to sack over 10,000 tally clerks and security category of dock workers only to be replaced with less than 80 persons employed as cargo surveyors. It would be interesting to know the identity of those behind the cargo survey outfits for whose benefit we are threatened with sack. Our job as an on-board tally clerk and cargo security men have been in existence since the commencement of the pot industry in Nigeria as internationally accepted.”
The letter further informed President Goodluck Jonathan that the maritime industry has the capacity to employ both skilled and unskilled labours, stressing that it is the most potent weapon to curb vices like piracy, cultism, kidnapping and militancy.
The concerned dock workers further expressed dissatisfaction with the management of NPA over the looming mass loss of jobs in the ports, pointing out that it is against the Transformation Agenda of the President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
“The entire dock workers in Lagos, Niger Delta, terminals, jetties and the Nigerian seaports in general call on you (the President) to please critically consider the negative multiplier effects on the economy of our great nation and the attendant impact this action would have on the local population who do not have other skills or source of livelihood. On behalf of the entire on-board tally clerk and cargo security men working in Nigeria seaports, we are constrained to bring to your attention the eminent massive ethnic cleansing by economically impoverishing the South-South men and youths by way of initiating the sack of over 10, 000 dockworkers that have been operating within the Nigerian ports and replace us with so called ‘Cargo Surveyors’ who are his cronies and friends thereby throwing legitimate tax-paying, law-abiding Nigerians out of jobs.”