Maritime workers issue 7-day ultimatum to FG over failed ports access roads

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…Want trucks on Oshodi-Apapa Expressway removed, craters, potholes filled

By Victor Ahiuma-Young

Lagos—MARITIME Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, weekend in Lagos issued a seven- day ultimatum to the Federal Government to remove all trucks parked or abandoned on Oshodi-Apapa dual carriageway and make all access roads to the nation’s sea ports motorable.

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The union in a statement warned that if after seven days, the government did not remove all parked trucks  and filled all craters and potholes on all access roads to the nation’s ports to make them motorable, members would down tools and commence a nationwide indefinite strike.

In the statement by Adewale Adeyanju and Felix Akingboye, President-General and Secretary General respectively, MWUN threatened that if by Monday, February 5, the government failed to meet the union’s two demands, all ports formations nationwide would be shut from Tuesday, February 6.

The union recalled the earlier ultimatum issued on May 14, 2017, lamenting that it was suspended after assurance that the roads would be fixed, saying:  “We have waited and endured very harrowing experiences on the access roads to the Ports in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Calabar and Warri,  hoping upon hopes that the government will at least, do a quick fix on the roads to make them motorable.

“Nine months after we suspended the ultimatum, the roads have completely deteriorated and in addition, have claimed several lives and properties. In fact, we lost two of our members on the Oshodi-Apapa Dual Carriage Way.

The Oshodi-Apapa Dual Carriage Way has completely failed and unmotorable. From Berger Bridge, there are countless craters and potholes on the road. To worsen the already terrible situation, from Otto Wolff, the road has become parks and mechanic workshops for heavy duty trucks parked and abandoned by drivers or owners in the last few months.

People now defecate, sleep, cook, wash clothes, bathe and do whatever they like on the road. As a result, the road is now a safe haven for criminals who use every opportunity to attack, assault and rob innocent Nigerians including our members who trek to and from work daily on the road because it is no longer motorable.

“Today, only few vessels now berth at our seaports as most ship owners and businessmen prefer our neighbouring ports especially Cotonou. While our neighbouring ports are booming, our ports have been deserted because of the failed access roads to the ports, the gateway to the nation’s economy. Last week we took an assessment tour of the roads and to our dismay, the Apapa axis of the Oshodi-Apapa Dual Carriage Way said to be under reconstruction  by a consortium of private individuals, is now at a stand-still.

“In fact, from what we saw, at the rate the works on the road are going, that part of the road will not be completed in the next two years. Business activities at the Ports are now next to nothing. We cannot continue like this. It is completely unacceptable to us as a major stakeholder. We are afraid that if things continue like this, it will lead to retrenchment of workers among others and we cannot afford to lose any of our members to joblessness.”

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