If for too long the Management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) had allegedly ignored the demands of retirees under the aegis of the NPA 2006/2007 Severed Retirees, yesterday was time for a quick rethink, as these particular set of the NPA retirees, in their numbers, blockaded the Lagos Port Complex (LPC), Apapa.
The retirees had earlier served notice of their intention to occupy port locations across the country indefinitely, beginning from yesterday, until their demands were met by the NPA Management.
In keeping to time-table, the protesting retirees had been sighted by SHIPS & PORTS DAILY camped at the LPC gates as early as 6:00am yesterday.
The action of the retirees had completely locked-down the LPC, preventing movement in and out of the nation’s premier port.
At about 7:00am, SHIPS & PORTS DAILY had sighted top officials of the NPA, including the Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Mr. Olumide Oduntan; and the Port Manager, LPC, Mr. Nasir Anas Mohammed, in talks with the leadership of the protesting retirees, notably the National Chairman, Mr. Charles Ayo Binitie.
Consequently, at about 10:00am, the protesting retirees agreed to vacate their blockade of the LPC gates, and normal movement in and out of the port resumed, even as the protesters maintained their vigil in the vicinity.
Thereafter the representatives of the NPA Management and the NPA 2006/2007 Severed Retirees leadership had departed the scene, proceeding to NPA House, Marina, Lagos, for a closed-door meeting.
Subsequently, a press release titled: NPA MANAGEMENT COMMITTED TO THE WELFARE OF ITS RETIREES, and signed by the Assistant General Manager, Public Affairs, NPA, Mr. Musa Iliya, was issued by the NPA Management.
The release stated: “The Management of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has expressed its commitment to ensuring that the welfare of its employees both retired and serving is not compromised.
“Speaking, while addressing the representatives of the 2006/2007 disengaged staff of the Authority who had earlier embarked on a peaceful demonstration at the Lagos Ports, the Managing Director of NPA, Mallam Habib Abdullahi, who was represented by the Executive Director Finance and Administration Mr Olumide Oduntan, expressed his commitment to the plight of the retirees.
“He stated that since assuming the present Management of the Authority has remained focused on the efforts to resolve all pending industrial issues of the disengaged workers.
“He however said that the retirees should appreciate that there was a policy of government giving rise to the port concession which led to their disengagement in 2006.
“He further said that in view of procedures guiding implementation of such policies, due process must be followed by all relevant levels of government.
“He assured the representatives of the retirees that the Board will speedily address their issues.
“Meanwhile, he said a letter has been dispatched to the Federal Ministry of transport with a view to ensuring a speedy response to the demands of the retirees.
He appealed for calm by all affected persons while advising that they should not take the laws in to their hands by disrupting port operations.
“Further discussions between Management of NPA and the disengaged workers is scheduled for a fortnight.
“Management also uses this opportunity to assure port users and other stakeholders of uninterrupted port services.”