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Disengaged Dock Workers Suspend Protest

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Disengaged dockworkers of Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) Port Harcourt Port that embarked on a peaceful protest on Monday following the non-payment of their entitlements since 1991 has suspended their protest and gave the management seven days ultimatum to work out the modalities for payment or to think a next line of action.

The protest was suspended as a result of the outcome of a meeting between the NPA Management and the union leaders of the aggrieved former workers held in Lagos and agreed to settled all their entitlements in the shortest possible time.

The Tide correspondent reports that the retrenched dockworkers numbering over 200 gathered at the entrance of the NPA, Port Harcourt Port Complex last Monday to protest against the inhuman treatment the management had been given to them, but decided to shelve their plans when their leaders after a deliberation with the authorities asked them to suspend their planned action as the authorities have accepted to meet up their demands.

Our correspondent further reports that during the protest last Monday, the branch Vice Chairman of the disengaged Dockworkers in Port Harcourt, Mr Okon David Okponung lamented over the plight of the members said several attempts made for the management to pay them their entitlement failed before they took them to High court in Lagos in 1996 and later to the Supreme Court, where on May 11, 2007, the presiding judge also ruled in their favour and ordered the NPA management to pay the retrenched workers their benefits including pension and gratuity, but that since after the judgement, the management refused to comply with the order.

It was also learnt that the case was also brought before the Attorney General and Miniser of Justice, Muhammed Bello Adoke, who requested the management of NPA to furnish him with details of payment modalities, his request was also turned down.

A similar protest was embarked upon on December 19, 2011 nationwide where the disengaged workers blocked entrances to the NPA gates, paralyzing work at the various ports.

Narrating their ordeals to The Tide correspondent during last Monday peaceful protest, some of the retrenched workers said it had been untold hardship and suffering for their families as they have no other means of survival.

Mr Acapu Thompson, a former Assistant fitter of Engineering Department of NPA, said the non-payment of their entitlements has seriously affected his daily living as he cannot even send his children to university because the wife who had been catering for the family up keep could not afford and appealed to the management to consider their plight.

A 57 year old former management services and development department staff, under Container Terminal as senior clerical officer, Mr Benard Ebom, who lost his wife, Olivia on January 13, last year due to the hardship also pleaded with the authority to obey the Supreme Court Judgement and pay their entitlements.

It was gathered that June 18, 2012 marks 21 years two weeks since their retrenched and over nine of their members lost their lives within this year because of hardship, as some have been thrown out of their rented houses.

 

Collins Barasimeye

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Maritime

Piracy: MWUN Tasks NIMASA On Security Of Inland Waters

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The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has called on the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to extend the activity wing of the Deep Blue Project to the inland waterways to curb piracy and other forms of criminal activities.
The Deep Blue Project consists of Nigeria’s maritime security assets commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari recently.
Despite the launch of the USD195 million maritime security assets, criminal acts have persisted in the Gulf of Guinea (GOG) and the nations inland waterways, witnessing the abduction of eight persons including five maritime workers, along the Kula-Abonnema River.
Speaking on the abduction, Deputy General Secretary of MWUN, Comrade Oniha Erazua, urged NIMASA to extend the coverage of the Deep Blue Project to the inland waters considering the incessant abduction of travellers along the waterways.
“It’s appalling that five of our workers were abducted suddenly. It took the intervention of some stakeholders to get them rescued eventually. Our coastal waters are essential to the economy of the country and should be secured.
“Should we now leave our inland waters insecure to the detriment of our workers? It shouldn’t be. We are begging NIMASA to extend the activity wing of the Deep Blue Project to the inland waters that are prone to kidnapping and all other maritime related crimes”, he said.

By: Chinedu Wosu

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Maritime

MWUN Members Relive Experiences In Kidnappers’ Den …Say They Were Fed With Garri, Flogged With Knives

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The five members of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Rivers State Branch, that regained freedom from kidnappers’ den last week say they were fed with only garri and flogged with knives and sticks while in captivity. 
The MWUN members said they were fed for three out of the six days in captivity in the hands of the suspected pirates.
Narrating their ordeal to The Tide shortly after their release in Port Harcourt, the victims comprising four men and one woman said they were set free and dumped at a mangrove forest near Abonnema between 8pm and 9pm.
“The experience at the mangrove was not easy, we were beaten with knives and sticks by the pirates.
“We were fed with garri for only three days through out our six days of captivity, once in a day”, one of the victims who did not want his name mentioned said. 
 The victims, however, declined to give reasons why they were abducted by suspected gunmen on their way to Port Harcourt on a commercial boat.
It would be recalled that the five members of MWUN were kidnapped two weeks ago by suspected pirates onboard a commercial boat from Kula, near Abonnema to Port Harcourt to attend a meeting. 
The MWUN gave their names as Comrade Wisdom Iderima, Chairman, MWUN, Kula Unit; West Opubo, Secretary, MWUN, Kula, Unit; Ajenina Daniel, Vice Chairman, and Madam Clementeba Clementeba Exco officio of MWUN, Kula Unit. 
One of the abductees, Madam Clementeba said she had been kidnapped three times by pirates.
She said she had 12 boats that used to ply Kula /Abonnema routes, but had all been stolen by criminals.
She said sea robbers had carted away 10 of her speed boats for no reasons.
Clementeba called on the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the state government to assist her recover her missing boats and curb sea piracy on the waterways.

By: Chinedu Wosu

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Maritime

NIWA Threatens To Arrest Fishermen Defecating In Lagos Lagoon

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The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has threatened to arrest and prosecute any fisherman that defecates into Lagos lagoon.
This was contained in a statement by Kelvin Eba, an official of the agency working at the Liverpool area of Apapa, Lagos while warning the fishermen.
Eba said the agency would no longer tolerate the practice, but insisted that it would arrest and prosecute any culprit.
He said NIWA had set up patrol teams to arrest offenders, most of whom he described as “illiterates and drug addicts”.
He said, “Defecating into the river, lagoon and such places is classified as open defecation, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), can lead to the outbreak of diseases including diarrhea and others associated with ingesting and exposure to human waste”.
The Tide reports that in October 2019, Nigeria became the number one open defecation nations in the world, overtaking India. 
An estimate of 10 to 50 million Nigerians are said to be defecating in the open space.

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