Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), has urged the federal government’s on rehabilitation of the nation’s access roads to the ports in order to save workers from untimely death.
The orgainsed Labour union said: ’We have watched with total disbelief government continuous neglect and abandonment of the access roads to the nation’s seaports, the gateway to the nation’s economy, especially the Oshodi-Apapa Dual Carriage Way that leads to the nation’s two major ports of Apapa and Tin-Can.
The workers added: ‘’We have written several letters, made several appeals and even threatened industrial actions all in our efforts to ensure that the Federal Government and Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), live up to their responsibilities and do the needful on the access roads to no avail. As previous governments have abandoned the roads, so also has this current government.”
The workers consequently gave the Federal Government a 21-day ultimatum to fix and make the access roads especially the Oshodi-Apapa Dual Carriage Way motorable.
At the expiration of the 21 days ultimatum, if the road remains the same, we will have no other choice than to ask our members to stay at home until the federal government and NPA are ready to make the ports function by fixing the access roads.
The President of MWUN, Comrade Adeyanju Adewale, lamented the poor state of the roads and other infrastructure at the ports, which he said, might have been responsible for the high cost of clearing goods in the country.
“Maritime plays important role in the economy because the port is the gateway for investment inflows into the country. Why for instance, would people want to clear goods through other West Africa countries? This is because our cost is high. For example, freighting from Geneva cost 1000 CF to Nigeria as against 600 CF to other West African countries”, he said.
He charged the federal government to find a way of addressing the bottlenecks on the roads to the nation’s ports.
His words: “Why is it difficult to fix our roads after so many years? The problems of Nigeria are systemic. What works in other countries do not work here. In Ethiopia, the government runs the airline and it works. It is not a matter of whether the enterprise is private or public. Here we lack prudence, accountability and trust.”
He argued that the federal government had failed the maritime sector of the economy, adding, “People lose their lives everyday due to the bad roads leading to the ports. It is the road to the nation’s economy. Clearance in the port is stagnating as a result of the bad roads.”
He urged government to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive and create jobs, adding that those in the position of leadership should stop playing on people’s intelligence by missing politics with business.
”We can no longer accept and live with the abandonment of access roads to the ports which have been in the state of disrepair for years despite our efforts at drawing the attention of government to fix the roads. For a long time now, Oshodi-Apapa Dual Carriage Way as well as other port access has become death traps to road users and recording very fatal accidents on daily basis. In December last year, the NPA told us that the contract for rehabilitation of the Apapa-Oshodi Dual Carriage Way had been awarded. We are in May 2017, nothing has been done. The sad thing is that no sign that contract has been awarded.”