The Senior Staff Association of Statutory Government Owned Companies (SSASGOC), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) branch, has expressed worries over the determination by certain groups to hijack harbour operations from the port authority. Flowing from this, the union has vowed to oppose the revival of the Ports and Harbours Bill by the National Assembly.
The union also called on the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) to support the senior staff union in ensuring that the bill does not see the light of day.
Speaking to Business and Maritime West Africa, national president of SSASGOC, Comrade Adamu, said serious moves by politicians to revisit the bill has been initiated in the National Assembly. Labour unions in the maritime industry, he vowed, would always resist any serious deliberation in the National Assembly aimed at making the controversial bill to become law.
According to him, most of NPA’s operations have been taken over by interested parties with harbour operations remaining the major function left for workers of the agency. He disclosed that some interest groups are aggressively angling to take over the harbour obligations.
“There are local, national and international interests over harbour operations. The two unions must stand firm to protect workers under the department. The unions are fully ready to challenge any interest group seeking to raise issues about the bill,” Adamu said.
"We are watching because interest groups are coming back to take harbours operational activities from us. But we are on ground to oppose it. The coastal operations are seriously under threat; so many people I know who had worked with NPA are interested to hijack the operations from the agency.
"The Ports and Harbours Bill is one major challenge my predecessor left behind and we will continue to oppose the bill.
"The bill, they say, is under the carpet as it is. But any moment from now somebody will raise or move the motion to revisit the bill," he stated.
Adamu claimed the bill is anti-people. “There is no way we will allow such a thing to happen in Nigerian port operations," he vowed.
He also pledged that the union will continue to support the Hadiza Bala Usman administration in ensuring that properties of the NPA will not be taken away by any interest group.
He further described towage services as the backbone of the agency that must not be toyed with by any group of individuals.
Recall that the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) and NPA branch of the Senior Staff labour groups, insisted that promoters of the bill were enemies of the country.
According to the two unions, the bill if allowed to sail through, would have serious security implications as well as massive loss of jobs, arguing that the passage of the bill would worsen influx of illegal arms and ammunition into the country.