By Oluyinka Onigbinde
The Nigerian Labour congress (NLC) has said the controversial ports and habours bill which has passed the second reading in the house of representatives is set to jeopardize National Security and portends
great negative effect on the Nigerian economy, if allowed to see the light of the day the president of the Congress, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, said this on Thursday when he and some executives paid a courtesy call on the National secretariat of Maritime Union of Nigeria (MWUN) in Apapa Ayuba described the bill as one driven by greedy politicians, capable of throwing chunk number of maritime workers into the unemployment market.
According to him “greed was the drive behind concessioning of important sectors to private hands which was not in the interest of the masses and the nation this kind of move jeopardizes national security and this is why we must not allow the bill to see the light of the day, because it will worsen insecurity in the ports and the country in totality.
“The management of our ports is about security, if you take away the responsibility of NPA now and put it in private hands, especially now that we have seen arms and ammunition being imported into this country daily, we are putting the lives of Nigerians on the line.
“I therefore urge government to look at this very important scenario because a lot of other countries want to undermine our security interest, national interest, economic interest and this bill will actually aggravate that particular problem.
“The services that the bill is out to outsource is a service that is
being paid for in dollars; so, instead of this money to be paid into our national account or collected by NPA, they now want few individuals to corner the dollars into their pockets,” The NLC leader also stated that if the bill is passed workers will lose their jobs, thereby compounding the challenges facing the country as unemployed youths will engage in vices, including kidnapping and other insecurity issues. “I am aware that the bill is going to throw many of the workers in the maritime industry to the labour market and when this occurs, it will lead to economic disaster.
“Therefore, because of these reasons, I don’t think this bill is
desirable and we are going to partner you to advance this issue and see how best we can salvage the situation,” he stated.
Ayuba noted that NLC would engage the NASS in ensuring that the bill does not see the light of the day. Earlier, the President General of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, had complained about the bill which he referred to as an obstruction bill.
He however expressed high hope that the congress will help fight the cause.
“We have a lot of challenges at hand, the issue of Ports and Harbours Bill currently before the House of Representatives. It is an obstruction bill but workers in NPA still have confidence in you. We believe that in your tenure that the bill will not see the light of the day,” Adeyanju said.