Maritime Workers Threaten Mass Protest over FG’s Policies

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• Want port’s access roads fixed, ban on car importation suspended for a month
Eromosele Abiodun
Maritime workers in the country have threatened to embark on a mass protest if the federal government fails to reverse some of its policies that they are claiming to be responsible for the untimely death and 70,000 of their members who have lost their jobs.

The President General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Anthony Nted Emmanuel, who stated this at a press briefing in Lagos yesterday, said the federal government’s foreign exchange policy had driven several shipping companies out of Nigeria, resulting to mass sack of maritime workers.

He said the abandonment of access roads to the ports which had been in the state of disrepair for several years, has led to the death of its members and caused delays in the ports.

According to him, “As we speak, the roads have become death trap to every road user despite strong assurances by the federal government and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) that contract has been awarded. In recent times, importers and manufacturers have found it extremely difficult to access foreign exchange and even when it is available, the cost is outrageous.

This has resulted to mass job loss, relocation of shipping companies to neighbouring countries. We can no longer seat down and watch our members die and thrown out of job. “We urge the federal government to urgently take steps to address these issues or we shall embark on mass protest until our demands are met.”

While commanding the federal government for the recent ban on importation of cars through the land borders, he appealed to the government to give a month grace to importers whose vehicles are trapped because of the policy to clear their vehicles.

“After the one month grace, the federal government should commence full implementation of the policy. In the same vein, we appeal to the federal government to have a stakeholders’ meeting with assembly plants and indigenous automobile manufacturing companies to identity and address the challenges of manufacturing of cars locally,” he said.