Union demands immediate release of dockworkers detained by NDLEA
The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) on Monday demanded the immediate release of its members said to be arrested and detained by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
In a statement, President General of the MWUN, Prince Adewale Adeyanju, said that the two groups of dockworkers that were arrested on board ships where they worked as of the time of arrest, had been detained without being charged to court.
Adeyanju made it known that neither the first group of 13 dockworkers nor the second group of four were found with any suspicious item or substance, yet they were arrested and unjustly detained.
“The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) is informed of the arrest and continued detention of 13 dockworkers and crew by the National Drug Law and Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) since the 13th of October, 2021.
“The workers were reportedly arrested whilst on duty on board MV Cha Yaree Naree, which berthed at the Greenview Development Nigeria Limited Terminal, on which narcotics was said to be found.
“There was no information that the drugs were found on the workers.
“Surprisingly, the poor workers who were neither the Ship Agent nor the consignee of the vessel were arrested and kept incarcerated by the NDLEA since 13th October 2021 rill date, without being released or charged to court as would have been done in line with the tenet of the Rule of Law,” the statement read in part.
The Union President General continued that the suspicious bag said to have been found on board the second vessel with an undisclosed content, was not found on any of the arrested dockworkers.
He said: “Similarly, the Union is informed that on Sunday, 7th November 2021, another four Dockworkers who were on duty on board MV Karteria were arrested by the NDLEA operatives for a bag said to have been found on the vessel. The content of the bag was not disclosed.
“Again, the bag that is found with undisclosed content was not found on any of the innocent workers arrested and kept in detention for days without being released and charged to court. Their cell phones were also said to have been arrested by the NDLEA operatives.”
Adeyanju expressed worry and angst why members of the Union were being targeted unjustly when the ship agent, and the consignee should actually be in good position to answer to such queries.
His words: “The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria is worried as its members seem to be targeted for arrest, whilst the ship Agent and the consignee, who are in possession of the ship manifest, are not even interrogated, let alone arrested.”
The PG added that while the Union is totally against drug peddling in whatever form, a best practice should have been to charge the arrested dockworkers to court and not just have them detained for as long as it is now.
“The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria is not in any way in support of either the importation or peddling of hard drugs into the country, but frown on the continued harassment, intimidation , arrest and detention of our members who have been kept incommunicado for over two weeks without being released or charged to court. This is in tandem with global best practices.
“Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria hereby calls on the NDLEA to immediately release its members in its detention or charge them to court accordingly.”