By Eguono Odjegba
The President General of the maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, has banned dockworkers in the category of tally clerks and onboard security men, from engaging in unauthorized protests under whatever guises henceforth.
The directive coming on the backdrop of recent protests at the corporate headquarters of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, over delay in the payment of their entitlements, warns that any dockworker found wanting will be shown the way out.
The union leadership directed both district and unit chairmen to ensure full compliance or be held responsible.
Meanwhile the union has distanced itself from an online video which attributed footage of theft of cars and tyres by dockworkers at an unidentified port to Nigerian dockworkers.
Adeyanju said that following the online report of the incident, the union went into painstaking investigation to ascertain the port and identity all those involved, but discovered that the recorded incident did not take place in any known Nigerian ports.
He stated: “When our attention was drawn to the video online, we got competent analysts to help us study the video and identify the port the stealing took place and also identify those involved. We discovered that we don’t know any of the dockworkers.
“Also the port is not in Nigeria, we know RORO terminals, our dockworkers are registered and known to us, those faces in the video are strange faces.
“They are not Nigerians; the Port is not our port, so we like to disassociate our dockworkers from that unfortunate report. It is false.”
On the ban on unauthorized protests, Adeyanju said the union is the only acceptable channel through which dockworkers can air their grievances, while it is only the union saddled with the responsibility of safeguarding the interest of dockworkers that may decide on the need for protest.
He explained that the union has gone far with the matter and urged those affected to exercise a little more patient, announcing that the leadership of NPA has demonstrated sufficient commitment to ensure that the dockworkers get their due reward.
He said, “The dockworkers we have today are a responsible like every other worker. From today no group of workers without due authorization should engage in carrying placards under the name of protest at the corporate headquarters of the NPA.
“It is the union that gives directives and it is the union that regulates the activities of dockworkers. You voted for us to provide leadership, and we have been doing that. We must respect the rules of engagement and the rule of laws.
“WE have taken this matter up with NPA and the Managing Director, Ms. Hadiza Usman have given us listening ears. She has been more than a mother, she has considered the matter and where we are today is the modality for payment.
“Nobody should take laws into his hands. All district and unit heads should ensure that this directive is adhered to. We will hold you responsible for any breach, today’s dockworkers are responsible, and nobody must attempt to soil our hard earned reputation.”