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Labour suspends planned strike, as Rivers frees dockworkers

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By Victor Young

Labour (Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN,) has suspended its planned nationwide strike, following the release of some dockworkers arrested on Saturday by Rivers State Task Force on COVID-19.

Recall that MWUN had given the Rivers State government a 48-hour ultimatum to release about 20 dockworkers arrested on their way from essential duties in the Port Harcourt port, failing which all maritime operations across the country would be shut.

It said they were arrested on Saturday by the state COVID-19 Task Force team led by Governor Nyesom Wike and that all entreaties and explanation by the workers fell on deaf ears.

ALSO READ: Labour kicks as Rivers govt arrests dockworkers over COVID-19 regulations

However, a statement by the President-General of MWUN, Adewale Adeyanju, said the 20 dockworkers and others had resumed their normal duties at the ports.

According to him, the Presidency and other well-meaning organisations and individuals including the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, had wadded in and intervened in the crisis.

Adayanju informed that President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, had personally written a letter to Governor Nyesom Wike on the need to avoid a shutdown of the nation’s ports in this delicate period, because of its graze consequences to the economy.

According to the statement, “based on our demand, well-meaning Nigerians intervened and consequently prompted the release of our dockworkers, members and all charges against them dropped.

The prompt response and intervention of the Presidency, Executive Secretary of Nigeria Shippers Council, Hassan Bello; President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba; Managing Director of Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman; Director-General Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dr Bashir Yusuf Jamoh; Chairperson, Seaports Terminal Operators Associations of Nigeria, Princess Vicky Haastrup; Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Adamu, among other well-meaning Nigerians facilitated the release of our hitherto incarcerated colleagues.

Given this development, the leadership of the union hereby suspends the planned withdrawal of its members in all the ports nationwide, jetties and terminal.”


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