The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has said that it may be forced to resume its suspended strike action that may ground port activities in Lagos ports if the Federal government fails to rehabilitate the Tin-Can Island end of the Oshodi-Apapa expressway by the end of June.
MWUN had in February suspended its strike action after a conciliatory meeting between the union, Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Power, Works and the Management of the Nigerian Port Authority with a pledge by the government to address the deplorable condition of the roads leading to the ports.
President-General of the union, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, in a chat with SHIPS & PORTS DAILY, in Lagos on Monday, said the government had at the end of the meeting signed an agreement with the union, to repair the Ijora-Apapa and Oshodi-Apapa expressway before the end of second quarter, but lamented that the Oshodi –Apapa road is still in a deplorable condition.
Adeyanju, who although acknowledged the effort made to reconstruct the Ijora-Apapa road, said if nothing tangible is done on the state of the road before the end of June, the union would issue a fresh ultimatum on strike action to the federal government.
“We signed an agreement with the government and they said by first or second quarter, they will address the road issue, we are still waiting for them, because we still observe that the Tin Can Island is still as bad as you can imagine. If the government is adamant on the agreement it signed with the union by the end of June and nothing is physically done, I think our last weapon will be to renew our ultimatum,” he said.
Adeyanju said the government, terminal operators and importers are losing a fortune to the bad state of the roads, adding that investors and business owners have abandoned the area leading to job loss to maritime workers.
“The management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) said they are ready to take up the road and repair but the ministry of Power Works and Housing said it is their baby and NPA hands down. Even though, when we issued an ultimatum, a committee was set up by same management of NPA, we all visited the bad roads to show that we are ready because we know what Nigerians, NPA, terminal operators are losing because of the bad roads,” he said.
He also disclosed that the union is in solidarity with the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) on the need for government to declare state of emergency on Nigerian roads.
“We are in line with NUPENG for government to declare a state of emergency on Nigerian roads but our position is different from theirs because they also contribute to the dilapidated state of the roads by indiscriminate parking on the shoulders of the roads.
“They don’t have right to park on the roads even if government repairs the road and it’s not being properly managed, the tanker drivers will park on it and will destroy the roads,” he said.