The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has condemned the burning of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) headquarters in Marina, Lagos by suspected hoodlums.
President-General of the union, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, who noted the rights of the youths to protest, however said that vandalism of a critical facility like NPA will not only affect the economic activities of the ports but also further demean Nigeria in the eyes of the international community.
While sympathising with the management of NPA over the destruction of its facility, Adeyanju urged the Federal Government to dialogue with the youths that are clamouring for good governance and an end to police brutality.
While speaking with SHIPS & PORTS, Adeyanju said, “The port belongs to all of us including the youths that are protesting. As an import dependent nation, it is the port that feeds the whole nation. If they now pull it down, what will they come to meet in the nearest future?
“The government should listen to their demands but destroying properties will not help us and the international community will be laughing at us. Some of them have invested a lot in this country and if they are seeing this kind of thing, they will run away. We just came out of COVID-19 and with this one happening, how will they come back? Because they will believe Nigeria is not secure for any business.
“If they are destroying the properties that belong to all of us and in the nearest future they become Governors or Ministers, what are they going to govern or be ministers for when all the properties have been set ablaze?
“The union condemns this act because that is where the hope of Nigeria is as a Federal Government parastatal in the maritime industry. For someone to wake up in the morning and set the place ablaze is totally uncalled for.
“The youths have every right to protest but they should also see the need for dialogue. Since the government has said they are going to attend to some of their demands, I want to appeal to them to listen to the voice of government and give them a chance.
“We are appealing to them to drop their weapons and let us dialogue with the government. As a union leader, we do protest but when there is need for dialogue, we embrace it.”
The NPA headquarters was set on fire by #EndSARS protesters on Wednesday.
While the inferno has been brought under control, the agency has yet to issue a statement on the incident.