MWUN to shut down seaports over arrest of 20 dockers by Gov Wike


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The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has threatened to shut the nation's seaports over what it described as "unlawful arrest" of 20 dockworkers while returning home after the day's work at BUA/PTOL terminal in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

President General of the Union,  Comrade Adewale Adeyanju,  in a statement on Sunday,  said the task force team led by the Rivers State Governor,  Nyesom Wike, refused to acknowledge the duly signed 'essential duty port pass' given by the Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA), which the dockers had presented.

The statement reads in part that " All entreaties/explanation made by our members to the task force team led by the Governor,  Nyesom Wike,  that they were on essential services,  fell on deaf ears in spite of the fact that they presented duly signed 'essential duty port pass' issued by the NPA.  Instead the governor mocked them that they should go to Abuja and work."

The PG disclosed that terminal operators, shipping companies and port users in Port Harcourt had resorted to closing down their operations as a result of the difficulties they have to deal with while making efforts to keep the port running for essential supplies.

"As a direct consequence of Gov Wike's action, some terminal operators have closed down their operations till further notice, leading to loss of jobs by Nigerians dockworkers.”  

Adeyanju called attention to the guidelines on COVID-19 by the Presidential Taskforce that the ports should remain open for essential service operations, while dockworkers and others at the ports should be exempted from movement restrictions. 

He said the development in Rivers was sad because other littoral states including Lagos, Delta,  Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Cross River allow maritime operations without harassment like what happens in Rivers.
 
While nothing that the actions of the Rivers governor was at variance with what the Federal Government purposed,  Adeyanju noted that oil platforms and other maritime related operations would definitely suffer as a result of the development.

He, therefore called on the President, the Minister of Transportation and other well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the governor for immediate release of the dockers and other workers. 

Adeyanju however warned that industrial action would be taken as next step should the arrested dockers and other workers remain detained within a given time.

"We wish to use this medium to state that if in the next 48 hours starting from Monday, May 11 2020 , nothing is done to effect the release of our members,  the Union will have no option but to withdraw our services in the entire nation's seaport,  terminals and jetties in solidarity with our detained members,  as an injury to one is an injury to all. "