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Apapa Gridlock: Maritime workers union orders members to shut ports operations

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Apapa gridlock

By Victor Ahiuma-Young – Lagos

Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, has directed members nationwide to shut ports operations and begin a three-day warning strike from Monday, December 7, to protest the total take over of the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway by heavy-duty trucks, inflicting untold hardship on other road users.

The Union is specifically disenchanted by the deplorable state of the access roads to the Apapa and Tin Can Island ports which have claimed several lives and caused incalculable man-hour loss among other dangers as a result of unending gridlock.

The three-day warning strike by Maritime workers is one of the resolutions of the Union’s National Executive Council, NEC, meeting held in Lagos State.

A communique issued at the end of the meeting, by the President-General and Secretary-General of the Union, Prince Adeyanju Adewale and Felix Akingboye, respectively, among others, said “the National Executive Council, NEC,  in-session wishes to draw the attention of the Federal Government once again to the deplorable state of the access roads to the Lagos Seaports, and the dangers this pose to lives and properties.

“To avoid the continuous and unnecessary deaths as well as a loss of man-hour on the failed roads, the NEC in- Session hereby calls on the Federal Government and the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, to urgently fix the access roads and make them motorable.

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“The NEC in-Session unanimously approves the Central Working Committee, CWC recommendation that the Union proceeds on a three-day warning strike to bring to the public space our disappointment over the total neglect of the access roads to Lagos Ports by the successive government and the urgent need for government to repair the roads.”

Speaking more of the planned three-day warning strike, Adewale told Vanguard that “the three-day warning strike starting from Monday, December 7, will be total.

“We cannot continue like this. From Second Rainbow to the ports in the last three weeks, it takes not less than five to seven hours to access the ports depending on when you get trapped.

“When you are leaving the ports, you even spend more hours from the ports to the same second rainbow. A lot of innocent lives have been lost, many have been maimed by hoodlums who rob and dispose victims of their belongings.

“At the end of the three-day warning strike, the response of government will determine our next line of action. On daily basis, our members going to work, go through torture to work, and going home after work.

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“Many of them do no get home until 12 am or more. The same thing happens to other road users on the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway.

“Many businesses have relocated out of Apapa and its environs to neighbouring countries because of the failed access roads. The implications are huge to the Nigerian economy and employment creation.

“The government must address the condition of the roads and find a lasting solution to the gridlock.”

Earlier, in his welcome address to the NEC, Prince Adewale had lamented that “the deplorable state of access roads to Lagos Ports leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

“It has not only affected businesses but the revenue of the government. We are not talking about the loss of lives, properties, and the health implications of the unending gridlock occasioned by the total take over of the access roads heavy-duty trucks such as containerised trucks, fuel tankers and others.

“Despite our previous calls, we once again, call on the government to see the problem of the access roads to Apapa and Tin Can Island ports complex as an emergency that should be solved and addressed permanently.

“I wish to call on the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing to hasten discussion with NPA, Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA and all the shipping companies responsible for the perennial gridlock that has bedevilled the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway with a view to finding a lasting solution to the problem.”

Vanguard News Nigeria

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