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HISTORY OF MARITIME WORKERS UNION OF NIGERIA

In 1977 the Federal Military Government led by General Olusegun Obasanjo set up a Committee of Experts to restructure Trade Unions into Industrial lines. This led to the enactment of Trade Union (Amendment) Act No. 21 and No. 22 of 1977 and 1978 respectively which gave birth to the present Central Labour Organization, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). In the decree, 41 Industrial Unions were officially recognised as industrial Unions and Affiliates of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

In the Maritime industry, there were four (4) industrial Unions namely:

(1). Nigerian Ports Authority Workers Union (NPAWU)

(2). Dockworkers Union of Nigeria (DUN)

(3). National Union of Shipping (NUS)

(4). Nigerian Union of Seamen and Water Transport (NUSWAT)

The Pioneer Presidents and General Secretaries of these industrial Unions were:

1

Com. (Alhaji) Haruna Agbonikhana

President Nigeria Port  Authority workers Union.

Com. (Alhaji) Haruna Adebola

General Secretary

2

Com. (Chief) Joshua Ogunleye

President, Dockworkers Union of Nigeria

Com. J.K. Abam

General Secretary

3

Com. Agboola

President, National Union of Shipping

Com. Samuel Sambo                         

General Secretary

4

4. Com. Macauley Perebowei

President, Nigerian Union of  Seamen & Water Transport

Com. Albert Oservbue                       

General Secretary

AFFILIATION WITH INTERNATIONAL TRANSPORT WORKERS FEDERATION (ITF) LONDON

 

In 1984, the late Comrade Joseph K. Abam then General Secretary of defunct Dockworkers Union of Nigeria under the leadership of Com (Chief) Joshua Ogunleye through his efforts affiliated the then defunct Dockworkers Union of Nigeria with International Transport Workers Federation (ITF). By this singular act the defunct Dockworkers Union of Nigeria was the first affiliate of ITF in Nigeria.

 

In 1996, the then Military administration under the leadership of Late General Sani Abacha enacted Decree 4 of 1996 Streamlining the then 41 Industrial Unions into 29. By this decree, the 4 defunct Industrial Unions in the Maritime Industry as mentioned above; were merged to form the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria.

 

To kick start the merger, the 4 defunct Industrial Unions Constituted a 12- Man Constitution Drafting Committee made up of the following: –

 

1.     Com. P. A Oribabor                – Chairman

2.     Com. J. O. Ogbuehi                 Secretary         

3.     Com. F. N. Akamike                Member

4.     Com. O. Irabor                     – Member

5.     Com. S . A. Ubani                 – Member

6.     Com. C. I. Oguh                    Member

7.     Com. L. B. Ojedele              Member

8.     Com. A. Eroje                      – Member

9.     Com. C. Alieze                      Member

10. Com. J. E. Ekpo                   Member

11. Com. S. Osagiede              Member

12. Com. S. Abubkar                  Member

Prior to the merger conference, the 4 defunct Industrial Unions held their pre-merger Conferences to give final approval to the merger into the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria.

 

The President that led the defunct 4 (four) Industrial Unions in the Maritime sector into the Maritime Worker Union of Nigeria were:

 

1.     Com. G. B. Oro               – Nigeria Ports Authority Workers Union (NPAWU)

2.     Com. Uzoije Ukaumuna   – Dockworkers Union of Nigeria (DUN)

3.     Com.  Joseph Orji           – National Union of Shipping (NUS)

4.     Com. Joseph K. Ozorewor – Nigeria Union of Seamen and Water     Transport (NUSEWAT)

Prior to the Decree 4 of 1996, there was a crisis in the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) under the leadership of Com. Pascal Bafyau; due to his partisanship in June 12, 1993 General election. As a fallout of this, the National Executive of Nigeria Labour Congress was dissolved by the Federal Government under the Leadership of General Sani Abacha, and appointed a sole Administrator Honourable Hobobo who superintended the affairs of the Nigeria Labour Congress. However, on 20th May, 1995 Alhaji Ahmed Gusau Muhammed was appointed by the Federal Military Government to succeed Hon. Hobobo as the sole Administrator of the Nigeria Labour Congress to mid-wife the merger of 41 Industrial Union in Nigeria into 29.

The merger Conference of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria was held at Zaranda Hotel, Bauchi. Unfortunately, however, the Conference was stalled due to court injunction restraining Com. G. B. Oro, then President of the defunct Nigerian Ports Authority Workers Union (NPAWUN). As a result of this, the Conference was re-scheduled for Yola, Adamawa State on 30th March, 1996 at Yola International Hotel. At the conference, there was a mild drama as the Delegates of the defunct Nigerian Ports Authority Workers Union and Nigerian Union of Seamen and Water Transport (NUSEWAT) protested Vehemently against the number of Delegates allotted to them by the then sole administrator of Nigeria Labour Congress Com.

(Alhaji) Ahmed Gusau Muhammed and staged walked out of the Conference; leaving behind the Delegates of the 2 defunct Industrial Unions. The officials of the Nigeria Labour Congress who officiated the merger Conference directed that since the Delegates of the remaining 2 defunct Industrial Unions has formed a quorum, the conference should go on while by-election will be conducted to fill the vacant positions thereafter to accommodate the 2 defunct Industrial Unions who staged a walked out. 

Accordingly, elections were held and the following elected National Officers emerged as the pioneer National Executive of the Union:

 

1.     Com. Uzoije Ukaumunna          –       President General

2.     Com.   Joseph Orji                      –       Deputy President General

3.     Com.  Lawrence B. Ojedele     –       Vice President  General

4.     Com.  Cletus Eweremandu     –  Vice President General

5.     Com.  Julius T. Ogundipe        –       National Trustee

6.     Com. Folorunsho Ologbama   –       National Auditor

7.     Com.  Joseph Ogbuehi              –   Secretary General

 

To filled the vacant positions reserved for the Nigerian Ports Authority Workers Union and Nigerian Union of Seamen and Water Transport Delegates; a by-election was held at the National Secretariat Headquarters of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria On Wednesday 24th April, 1996 and was conducted by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC).

 

At the by-election the following National Officers were elected.

 

1.     Com. Sabo A. Abubakar      –  Deputy President General

2.     Com.   J. K. Ozerewor                –  Deputy President General

3.    Com.  (Mrs) Juliet Ashibogwu  –  Vice President General

4.    Com.   Dennis Oyadoha         –  Vice President General

5.     Com.     Chukwudi Akujobi      –   National Treasurer

 

 

HISTORY OF NPA MARITIME WORKERS UNION OF NIGERIA

QUEST FOR LABOUR UNITY IN NIGERIA

The desire to achieve unity in the Labour circle pre-dated 1978. The first Labour Centre was the Federated Trade Union of Nigerian (FTUN) founded in 1942 and later changed its name to the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUCN). There have been irreconcilable differences by leaders arising from the political situation of the day and ideological bifurcation of the Labour Centre into Eastern and Western blocs on the international body to be affiliated and concerted efforts were made for reconciliation but to no avail.

The Apena declaration: At the burial ceremony of late Mr. John Adebayo Odeleye, the Treasurer of Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUCN), the leaders of the other Labour Centre: Nigeria Workers’ Congress (NWC), United Labour Congress (ULC) and Labour Unity Front (LUF) made a declaration to the formation of Single Labour Centre. Based on this consensus, a document to this effect was signed. This declaration had a legal backing in view of Trade Union decree of 1973 which aided the process for formation of Trade Centre Expectedly, the military administration of General Yakubu Gowon refused to accord it recognition and subsequently abolished the four Centres.

On 28th February 1978, the new Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) was reconstituted by the then Chief of Staff, Brigadier Shehu Musa Yar Adua at Ibadan, Oyo State. At the inauguration, the other house Unions numbering about 1500 were restructured.

This restructuring led to the emergence of a Single Labour Centre, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) which comprised of 42 industrial Unions, 15 Senior Staff Association and 4 professional Unions.

In view of the above, the following eight registered existing house Unions:

  • Nigerian Ports Authority Clerical Workers’ Union
  • Nigerian Ports Authority Workers’ Union
  • Marine Engineering Assistant and Allied Workers’ Union
  • Marine Staff Union
  • Hydrological Survey Workers’ Union
  • NPA Firemen, Greasers, Technical and General Workers’ Union
  • Marine Floating Staff Union
  •     Deck Staff Union merged together to form what is known and called the Nigerian Ports Authority Workers’ Union (NPAWU).

On Monday, 30th January, 1978 its inaugural conference took place at the City Hall, Lagos under the chairmanship of Mr. M. O. Abiodun, then administrator for Trade Union Affairs, election was conducted into various offices and the following officers emerged to pilot the affairs of the Union from 1978-1987 under the able leadership of:

1.     Alhaji A. Agbonikhena                         –   President

2.    Com. (Alhaji) Haruna P. Adebola      –      General Secretary

3.    Com. O. Atie                                           –      Deputy President

4.    Com. S. A. Lisk                                      –      Vice President

5.  Com. J. Dikko                                        –      Treasurer

6.   Com. S. U. Ogaram                              –      National Trustee

7.   Com. A. I. Duru                                     –      National Trustee

8.   Com. M. P. Miri                                     –      Internal Auditor

9.   Com. O. Zudonu                                   –      Asst. Gen. Sec. (Later Gen. Sec.)

10. Com. S. D. O. E. Omaenikun             –      Asst. Gen. Sec.

11.  Com. R. O. Ajayi                                   –      Asst. Gen. Sec

The newly elected and other Union officials resumed duty at 97, Herbert Macaulay Street, Ebute Metta, Lagos, which served as its Secretariat.

The first Triennial Delegates’ Conference of Nigerian Ports Authority Workers’ Union (NPAWU) took place from 18th-20th August, 1981 at the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Headquarters, Yaba, Lagos. Officers were duly elected; based on the guidelines given by the Administrator for Trade Union Affairs.

CHALLENGES

From the onset, the problems that confronted the new Union was in form of finance, organization, men and material. The Herbert Macaulay office that serves as the National Secretariat could not accommodate all. However, within a period of eight months, the Union was able to establish eleven Districts and one hundred and two Units in all the formation of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).

The Imbroglio

At its Triennial Delegates Conference held at the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Secretariat, Imoudu Hall Yaba, a motion was moved to ratified the earlier decision of the Central Working Committee (CWC) to expunge the word “tenure of office” from the Union Constitution. This motion led to a major disagreement such that the aggrieved group led by Comrade Egba went to the Federal High Court, Lagos.

As a result, there was bickering between the Agbonikhena’s  and Egba’s Group. The Staff were caught in the cross fire as the intrigues continued, there existed a cloud of malice and resentment among them. This atmosphere of misgivings made the management of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Senior Staff Association and Joint District Chairmen to intervene. This intervention necessitated the consent judgment: a judgment settled and agreed to by parties to the action.

Based on this, an eight-man committee was set up comprising of four members each from Agbonikhena and Egba’s Groups respectively. This committee organized and superintended the election that user in the new administration in 1987-1991

  1.       Com. G. B. Oro                     –   President
  2.       Com. O. Zudonu                  –   General Secretary
  3.       Com. Peter Onwuchekwa  –   Deputy President
  4.       Com. E. C. Enwerem           –   Vice President
  5.       Com. Edwin Sambo             –   Treasurer
  6.       Com. O. Irabor                      –   Trustee
  7.       Com. Omoniyi Kaka             –   Trustee
  8.       Com. J. B. Jegede                  –   Internal Auditor

At the end of the first tenure election were held, the following were elected into office for the period

(1991-1995).

  1.       Com. G. B. Oro                –   President
  2.       Com. P. A. Oribabor         –   General Secretary
  3.       Com. N. Odinkalu             –   Deputy President
  4.       Com. S. A. Olowokere      –   Vice President
  5.       Com. O. Irabor                –   Treasurer
  6.       Com. (Mrs.) Juliet Ashibogwu –   Trustee
  7.       Com. James O.                –   Trustee
  8.       Com. A. C. Akujobi           –   Auditor
  9.       Com. F. Akamike              –   Asst. General   

Secretary

 

NIGERIAN PORTS AUTHORITY BRANCH

In 1996, another Trade Unions (Amendment) Decree 4 was enacted to restructure the affiliates of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC). This reduced the number to twenty-nine while Decree 22 structured the trade unions along industrial line.

This involved classifying and demarcating the jurisdictions of each Union to a particular industrial classification. Hence, in the Maritime industry, the following former industrial Unions merged to form the Maritime Worker’s Union of Nigeria in 1996, the Nigerian Ports Authority Workers Union (NPAWU), Dock Workers’ Union of Nigeria(DUN), Union of Shipping, Clearing & Forwarding Agencies Workers’ (USCFAW) and Nigeria Union of Seamen/National Inland Waterways Authority and Water Transport Workers (SEAMEN/NIWA)

The Pioneer NPA Branch Officers include the following:

  • Com. A. U. Nwosu             – President
  • Com. R. O. Cottrel             – General Secretary
  • Com F.S. Akingboye                  “
  • Com. S. I. Awuhe              – Vice President
  • Com. P. B. Edem               – Treasurer
  • Com. F. Farquah                – Trustee
  • Com. C. B. Atima               – Trustee
  • Com. S. A. Ojo                  – Internal Auditor
  • Com. (Mrs) Vivian Ahanmisi – Women Representative
  • Com. Edwin Sambo            – Asst. Gen. Sec.
  • Com. F. S. Akingboye         – Asst. Gen. Sec.
  • Com. J. O. Orogun             – Asst. Gen. Sec.

2001 – 2005

  1.         Com. Z. O. Balogun            – President
  2.     Com. F.S.Akingboye              – General Secretary
  3.     Com. S. I. Awuhe                    – Vice President
  4.     Com. E. E.Igbara                    – Treasurer
  5.     Com. I. A. Onuoha                 – Trustee
  6.     Com. (Mrs) C. B. Atima        – Trustee
  7.     Com. (Hon.) Moses Ogbewe    – Internal Auditor
  8.     Com. (Mrs) F. N. Ibrahim        – Special Fem. Rep.
  9.     Com. J. O. Orogun                     –  Asst. General Secretary

2005 – 2009

  1.         Com. Z. O. Balogun            – President
  2.         Com. J. O. Orogun             – General Secretary
  3.         Com. S. H. A. Otaye           –  Vice President
  4.         Com. S. K. Ufere                 – Treasurer
  5.         Com. A. A. Sanni                – Trustee
  6.         Com. A. U. Akpan              – Trustee
  7.         Com. O. O. Fashanu          – Internal Auditor
  8.         Com. (Mrs) V. K. Okafor  –  Spec. Fem. Rep.

2009 – 2013

  1.         Com. A. A. Sanni           – President
  2.         Com. J. O. Orogun         – General Secretary
  3.         Com. S. H. A. Otaye       –  Vice President
  4.         Com. O. O. Fashanu       – Treasurer
  5.         Com. C. E. Idagbonre     – Trustee
  6.         Com. Tonye L. Harry      – Trustee
  7.         Com. I. E. Mazeli           – Internal Auditor
  8.         Com. (Mrs) S. A. Ogunrinde –  Special Fem. Rep.

2013-2017

  1.         Com. A. A. Sanni           – President
  2.         Com. J. O. Orogun         – General Secretary
  3.         Com. C. E. Idagbonre     –  Vice President
  4.         Com. I. E. Mazeli           – Treasurer
  5.         Com. Tonye L. Harry      – Trustee
  6.         Com. O. O. Fashanu       – Trustee
  7.         Com. B. A. Ajayi            – Internal Auditor
  8.         Com. (Mrs) Matina Njoku –  Special Fem. Rep.
  9.         Com. J. E. Ekpo             –  Asst. General Secretary

2017 TILL DATE

  1.         Com. Ifeanyi Edward Mazeli – President
  2.         Com. John Effiong Ekpo  – General Secretary
  3.         Com. A. Akingbaso         – Vice President
  4.         Com. B. A. Ajayi            – Treasurer
  5.         Com. Monday Ahamba    – Trustee
  6.         Com. Edward Ogbotor     – Trustee
  7.         Com. Benjamin Adamu   – Internal Auditor
  8.         Com. (Mrs) Habibat Osomode –   Special Fem. Rep.
  9.         Com. Okoro Kalu    –  Asst. General Secretary

 FOUNDING PRESIDENT OF DEFUNCT FOUR (4) INDUSTRIAL UNION IN THE MARITIME SECTOR

 

  1.     Com. (Alhaji) Haruna A. Agbonikhana  –  NPAWU
  2.     Com. (Chief) Joseph Ogunleye                –  DUN
  3.     Com. Macaulay Perebowei                       –     Nigeria Union of Seamen and Water Transport   
  4.     Com. (Alhaji) Agboola                             –      National union of Shipping