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‘Every dockworker is entitled to gratuity, pension’

President-General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Adewale Adeyanju, in this interview with GLORIA NWAFOR, talks about the need for government to bring back tally clerks and onboard security men, who are integral part of dockworkers to save Nigeria from losing revenue daily due to insecurity at the seaports. He also talks about measures put in place to reposition the union to compete internationally, among other issues.

You mentioned that government was losing huge revenues over the absence of onboard security men and tally clerks. Can you give more insight?
Of course, Nigeria is losing huge revenue in the maritime sector over the absence of onboard security men and tally clerks.
The onboardgangwaymen and tally clerks form an integral part of dockworkers. There is no way you will phase them out without passing through the law. The onboard security men, otherwise known as ‘onboardshipgangwaysecuritymen’ should be reinstituted to restore security onboard vessels in the ports. They were disbanded by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA). Over the years, there is no way vessels will enter the Nigerian ports without being checked. As it is now, we don’t have onboardgangwaymen. That is why we have a lot of negative things happening in the ports. They want to turn the port into a dumping group for drugs-related offences.

However, the union is working in synergy with NPA and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to make sure they resuscitate the pool system and bring back onboardgangwaymen. We appeal to the government to look inward and see how they can bring back the onboard security men and tally clerks. If the government wants to achieve more, they should bring them back. The vessels coming into the Nigerian ports are so porous. Anything can go out and come in. With onboard security men, we will be able to restore security onboard vessels. The Federal Government does not know what is happening in the port. We do know more because we are on standby and receive information from our men on the field. They should be reinstituted so that illicit drugs, dangerous vessels and stowaways don’t come into Nigeria. There is a need for NPA to review their conditions of service. You are promoting senior cadres, while doing that they should employ Nigerians to fill up vacant positions and review salaries of all cadres across the board. In all our private jetties, a lot of things are going on there.

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