The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, has refused the Federal Government plans to re-float the Nigeria National Shipping Line, NNSL, 28 years after its liquidation by the government of Olusegun Obasanjo.
The Union workers argued that, besides not carrying organized Labour along, the benefits of disengaged and other former employees of the obsolete NNSL are yet to be paid by the same government that liquidated the national carrier 28 years ago.
The General-president of MWUN, Prince Adewale Adeyanju, in his statement, insisted that the fallouts of NNSL liquidation, especially the unpaid benefits of its former employees, should be resolved amicably before any re-floating under whatever guise could be discussed.
Recalling that the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, informed the ministry’s first Stakeholders’ Roundtable Engagement on Advancing Sustainable Development in Nigeria’s Marine and Blue Economy sector on Tuesday in Lagos that the ministry plans to re-float the NNSL through a strategic public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement.
The General-president Adeyanju said in a statement that the Union’s Head of Media, John Kennedy Ikemefuna, among others, said, “The Union is now having a different view of the Minister when he did not speak about the aged seafarers who navigated with the defunct national carrier vessels over the new NNSL proposal.
“The Maritime workers union of Nigeria, whose major challenges have not been resolved over the years with several Ministers of Transportation as regards the settlement of retiree-aged seafarers and other issues confronting the blue economy, which has not been given a clear-cut definition and mode of operation, is still worrisome to the Union as we speak.
”Re-floating of a new NNSL will be a mirage if our retired seafarers, who worked tirelessly with a deep sense of patriotism for the country, are not given their due rights after 28 years of service on the national carrier vessels. This will only amount to human injustice of the highest order. It will also be tantamount to placing the cart before the horse if such a proposition is in the pipeline without first thinking of the aged seafarers.
”As a Labour Union, we will not fold our hands and watch our aged seafarers suffer unnecessary penury after many years of service to their fatherland. It is true that some of the elderly seafarers have died from various ailments, some from psychological torture and trauma, mental degradation, abject poverty, and so on, that weighed them down in depression.
“The President-General, who doubles as the Deputy President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, had before now prayed for the Minister to look into the nagging issue of the seafarers to see how he could bring it to a logical conclusion.
“However, Prince Adeyanju who promised the Minister of the Union’s support towards making sure that the nation achieves much in the sector in his tenure, also frowned at the Minister’s projection on the re-floating of a new NNSL when he visited Lagos without putting into cognisance the plight of the disengaged aged seafarers, who were parts and parcels of the defunct national carrier as it were.