By Seun Ibiyemi
Except the federal government reconstructs the Tin-Can Island end of the Oshodi-Apapa expressway, the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) may give ultimatum for a fresh strike in the sector.
Speaking over the weekend, the President-General of the union, Com. Adewale Adeyanju said the government had in an agreement with the union earlier in the year promised to repair the Ijora-Apapa and Oshodi-Apapa expressway before the end of second quarter.
But, while Adeyanju acknowledged the effort made to reconstruct the Ijora-Apapa road, he bemoaned the dilapidated and abandoned state of the Oshodi-Apapa road.
According to the union leader, if nothing tangible is done on the state of the road before the end of June, the union would givenew ultimatum of strike to the federal government.
His words, ”We (FG and Union) have both signed a communique about the road and the government promised that by second quarter something reasonable will be done on all the access roads leading to the nation’s seaport.
“You can go to Area B to Apapa now the road is moving in faster pace than we have before but where we are having cross road with the government is that of Tincan island because nothing has been done on that road and it is part of our agreement.”
He also disclosed that the union is in solidarity with the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) on need for government to declare state of emergency on Nigerian roads especially trunk A roads in the country.
“We are in line with NUPENG for government to declare a state of emergency on Nigerian roads but our position is different from theirs because they also contribute to the dilapidated state of the road by indiscriminate parking on the shoulder of the roads.
“They don’t have right to park on the road even if government repairs the road and it’s not been properly managed, the tanker drivers will park on it and will destroy the roads.”
Adeyanju further stated that the intended strike to ground activities at the ports still subsist but was suspended after intervention by minister of Labour and Transportation.
“We only suspend our strike based on the intervention of the government especially the respectable minister of Labour, and transportation, Dr Chris Ngige and Rotimi Amaechi because of the respect we have for them but if they did not follow up with what the agreement says which was fixing the roads and making it motorable by second quarter of 2018 we will renew our ultimatum.”
Adeyanju who expressed confidence in the federal government to fix the Tin-Can Island roads before the end of the second quarter said government, terminal operators and importers are losing fortunes to the bad state of the roads.
He also said investors and business owners have abandoned the area leading to job loss to maritime workers.
“The management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) said they are ready to take up the road and repair but the ministry of Power Works and Housing said it is their baby and NPA hands down. Even though, When we issued an ultimatum, a commitee was set up by same management of NPA, we all visited the bad roads to show that we are ready because we know what Nigerians are losing, NPA, terminal operators are losing because of these bad roads. A communique has been signed and we are standing by it, by June we will exit second quarter so we are waiting for them.
“While Apapa is ongoing with lot of Improvement, there is still no improvement on the Tin-Can island Axis. The government can perform magic in one month because our agreement is there but if by the end of June nothing concrete is done, we renew our ultimatum because in the agreement, government promised that something will be done but we are waiting for that thing to be done, “ he said.