The Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has condemned the exclusion of onboard security men from the port by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
The President General of MWUN, Adewale Adeyanju, who made this known in a chat with journalists at a forum in Lagos recently, blamed the continuous importation of hard drugs into the country through the ports on the absence of the onboard security personnel.
He commended the operatives of the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for promptness at arresting cocaine and heroin found aboard a vessel in Apapa recently, noting that MWUN would not in any way support any form of illegality.
In his words; “If the onboard security men were on ground, they would have identified and intercepted such licit drugs imported into the country. The present crop of security operatives at the terminals were strange people that do not understand the terrain of the ports.”
“If you look at all the faces now, we cannot confirm who the onboard-gang way men are. If we have onboard-gangway, most of these things would be identified by the security men onboard the vessels, but as a result of the Nigerian Ports Authority flushing out tally clerk and onboard security men, we have been telling the whole world that onboard-gangway men are the international body recognised all over the world in line with the ILO on maritime.”
“They should bring back the onboard security men who will identify visitors onboard the vessels. As it is know we don’t know the people managing security onboard the vessels, they are illegal. The NIMASA, NPA and terminal operators should wake up and make sure that what belongs to the onboard-gang way men should be equally be given and bring them back. If all there are security men onboard the vessels, there would not be transportation of hard drugs and narcotics at the ports.”
Adeyanju called on officials of NDLEA to be mindful of the law in doing their jobs, saying it is unheard of to keep suspects in custody for two or three months without trials.
“We commend the efforts of the NDLEA for promptness in their actions. For some time now the leadership of the NDLEA has taken responsibility as the head of that agency, but while you are about doing that, you need to have human face in doing your jobs, that ordinarily there is no how you will keep somebody in custody for two to three months and that is our reaction to the case because you can’t hold those who are not responsible for an offence, while you ignore the culprit and not hold them under incapacitation.”
His words: “While we reacted against their detentions, we made it clear to the while world the union is not going to support the activities of some of our members getting themselves involved in illegalities. Whosoever that is caught is on his own. The NDLEA should realise that we are representing those who believe we need to protect their interest and welfare. While we are protecting their interest and welfare, they should equally look at where they are going to put the system that is the union and that of the Government.”
“We are not saying they shouldn’t do their jobs, we commend and support them, but there is need for us to partner with them because this country belongs to all of us and we can equally support the NDLEA to flush out those bad eggs, cartel, cabals that want to turn the Nigerian Ports to their base of importing and exporting hard drugs.
“We have not experienced this kind of thing in the past, it is a surprise to us that it is becoming the order of the day where vessels coming into the ports are caught with cocaine and other narcotic substances. The union is not in support, but the NDLEA should investigate this matter properly and charge whoever is involved according to the law of the land, not punishing the innocent dockworkers,” he maintained.