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MWUN threatens to shut down ports over arrest of dockworkers

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The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has threatened to shut down the nation’s seaports, terminals and jetties by Wednesday if nothing is done to release dockworkers arrested by the Rivers State government.

MWUN, which gave a 48-hour ultimatum, said the 20 dockworkers, who were on essential duty in the state were arrested at the weekend on their way home from work.

In a statement issued by President of MWUN, Adewale Adeyanju, he insisted that the dockworkers were returning from essential service operations to BUA/PTOL terminal, Port Harcourt and were arrested and detained by the Rivers State Taskforce on COVID-19.

He said all entreaties and explanation from the workers to the team led by Governor Nyesom Wike, that they were on essential services were ignored, even after they presented duly signed ‘Essential Duty Port Passes’ issued by the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA).

They pointed out that Governor Wike’s action contradicts Federal Government’s intention on jobs creation, adding that if the ports were not in operation, it would affect the operations of oil platforms and other maritime operations and consequently, induce several job losses.

Consequently, the union called on President Muhammadu Buhari, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and other maritime stakeholders to prevail on Governor Wike to release its members and others, who were arrested on Saturday, 9th May 9, 2020 on their way home from work.

They argued that due to the Rivers State government’s directive, most terminal operators, shipping companies and port users in Port Harcourt port have closed down operations until further notice leading to loss of jobs.

“Already, there is restiveness in ports across the country and the appeal to release the arrested workers is to douse the rising tension in the ports, which could snowball into full-scale industrial unrest if not quickly checked,” the statement added.


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