By Victor Ahiuma-Young
Lagos—Shocked by the complete breakdown of law and order by truck drivers on Apapa Oshodi Expressway and the unmotorable condition of the road, leaders of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, have handed down a 21-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to clear the road of gridlock and make it motorable or rsik industrial unrest.
The union threatens to shut down ports operations nationwide should government fail to address its demand, even as it commended the efforts of Messrs Dangote Nigeria Limited, Flour Mills Nigeria Limited and the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, at fixing the Ijora/Apapa Wharf Road.
In a communiqué issued at the end of its National Executive Council, NEC, meeting in Lagos, leaders of the union lamented that the government had breached the agreement reached with it six months ago to make the road motorable for users, arguing that the road had completely collapsed and now death trap.
The communiqué reads in part; “while NEC-in- Session wishes to commend the efforts of Messrs Dangote Nig Ltd, Flour Mills Nig Ltd and the Nigerian Ports Authority at fixing the Ijora/Apapa Wharf Road, it however condemns in its totality the Federal Government’s failure for not making efforts to fix the Mile 2/TCIP/Apapa Road in spite of the communiqué signed on February, 6, 2018 that the Road will be fixed before or at the end of the second quarter 2018.
“NEC-in-Session having considered the Federal Government’s failure to keep to its promise hereby renewthe earlier ultimatum of 21 days notice to fix the deplorable Mile 2/TCIP/Apapa Road which has now become a death trap failing which the union will have no option than to pull its members out of the ports till the access roads to the ports are motorable.”
President-General of the union, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, while addressing the NEC last Friday had hinted that industrial unrest appeared to be the only option left for the union, accusing the government of breaching the agreement both parties reached that the road would be fixed and made motorable on or before six months.
According to him, “This is not acceptable to the union. The ports deals with containerized goods so when you have trucks carrying containers in a deplorable road, how do you expect such goods to get to its destination. We once gave ultimatum to the Federal Government. There was a meeting with Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA, Managing Director, Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, officials of Ministry of Transportation and other stakeholders over the road in February 2018 that the road would be fixed on or before the end of second quarters. That has not been done and now the situation of the road has worsened since then. So there is no way business can thrive in a place that the road is not accessible.
”The gridlock has become unbearable to everybody concerned. We the workers; business owners, residents among others can no longer cope with the situation. The road, especially the Tin-Can end down to Otto Wolff has completely failed. You cannot quantify the cost and losses operators, road users, business owners are losing daily because of the situation. To monetise this, you are talking about billions of Naira losses beside the health implications to those being trapped daily in the gridlock.”