MWUN, SSASCGOC Moves to stop Controversial Port and Harbour Bill

MWUN, SSASCGOC Moves to stop Controversial Port and Harbour Bill 

... Says it is Dead on Arrival 

Kathy Kyari

The National Assembly has been attacked and taken to court by the leadership of the two internal unions in the maritime sector, the Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government Owned Companies (Maritime Branch) (SSASCGOC) and the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN)

They did however emphasize that if the aforementioned Bill were to become law, the private sector would take over management of the country's harbor, jetty, and port operations, which would have grave and far-reaching consequences for national security. 

The two unions explained at a joint news conference on Monday in Lagos that the proposed horrible Bill had been initially put forward by an honorable member of the 8th National Assembly, but that it was prevented from becoming law by the intervention of well-meaning Nigerians, stakeholders, and the tireless efforts of the two internal unions, which had mutually and vehemently affirmed their opposition to it.
The President of SSACGOC Marital Branch, Com. Akinola Bodunde, and the President General of MWUN, Prince Adewale Adeyanju, addressed the media and stated that if the aforementioned Bill is allowed to become law, it will have severe and profound implications on the security of the country because it will transfer control of the harbor, jetty, and terminal operations to private entities.

The unions stated that they are not shocked that certain disloyal individuals in the maritime industry are actively pushing the measure. These individuals are determined to siphon off Nigerians' collective money and use it to enrich themselves and their friends.

Their belief that this is not the right course of action—that is, that this ploy by these self-serving individuals in the maritime sector will cause chaos and anarchy in the industry that has enjoyed sustained peace since the idea of projecting the harsh Bill was killed in 2018—was communicated to the Executive, National Assembly, and the new Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy through the joint conference.

The unions bemoaned the fact that, if approved, the proposed bill will render the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) employees jobless and endanger the productivity of other port users. 

"Even more sinister is the proposed idea of the Bill to provide wholly, employments that will not be pensionable as well as not transferable and without access to terminal benefits. This is the height of inconsideration by the proponents of the Bill to the right of workers to the necessary payment for services rendered by a worker, in accordance to known law, industrial relations practice, equity and good conscience.

"It is our believe that allowing this Billed to be passed into law will effectively institutionalize the evil concept of casualization of workers and as well negate the provisions of the Pension reform Act 2004 as amended. This is in direct contrast to the avowed promises of Mr.. President - Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR to ensure the provision of about 5 million jobs for Nigerians through the newly created Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy.

"Having said this, We, the two in-house unions in the maritime sector - MWUN & SSASCGOC, will not fold our hands or rest on our oars AND allow few unpatriotic Nigerians within the industry to rip-off the Nation's common wealth and render OUR sector unproductive via this infamous Bill that will only create poverty, hopelessness, hunger and generate avid bitterness amongst the already impoverished workers and Nigeria citizenry.

"On this note, the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria - MWUN and Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government Owned Companies (Maritime Branch) - SSASCGOC: unequivocally REJECT the Bill seeking to repeal the Act that set up Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in its entirety.

"Consequently, we confirm our absolute vote of confidence on the Nigerian Ports Authority ACT as it currently relates to the Nigerian state and the well-being of the workers in the sector and we will vehemently RESIST all attempts to push this hellish bill further. WE THEREFORE DEMAND FOR ITS WITHDRAWAL IN ITS ENTIRETY.

"As addendum, we wish to further draw the attention of the Federal government to the duplication of functions of MDAs within the maritime sector. To this end, we urge the government to define clearly the functions of each government Agencies to avoid unnecessary conflict of functions.

"Also, there is need to ensure that the appointment of the headship of these Agencies are technocrats, vast in maritime operations in consonance with the laid down laws," the union leaders argued.

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