By; RAYMOND TEDUNJAYE, Lagos.
President General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) Comrade Adewale Adeyanju has warned that any member of the union who gets involved in illicit drug deal would forfeit his membership and be made to face the full wrath of the law.
Adeyanju, who gave the warning in Lagos when he played host to the Port Standing Task Team(PSTT) under the office of Vice President , Prof Yemi Osinbajo, however described the dockworkers as very reformed and transformed professionals.
He reiterated the union’s resolve to always ensure its members avoid involvement in illicit drug and other unlawful deals in the ports.
Addressing the Coordinator of the team, Mr. Moses Fadipe and members of his entourage, Comrade Adeyanju said the union is very much behind the laudable job being done by General Muhammad Buba Marwa, Chairman National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in ridding the country and ports of illicit drug trade.
Adeyanju who described the dockworkers as very reformed and transformed professionals also threatened that any member of the union found to be involved in drug business under any guise will lose their membership and be made to face full wrath of the law.
He described dockworkers as very decent and hardworking people duly registered with specified conditions of service.
He said being a dockworker is not an all comers affair as they cannot be likened to street urchins , otherwise called Agbero.“
I want to say very clearly that the era of drug trafficking and peddling in our ports is gone. The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria will continue saying no to drugs in the ports and we will keep supporting the very good work being carried out by NDLEA Chairman.
“That General is doing a lot and deserves our support in the interest of the nation and our collective benefit.
“Dockworkers are not importers of drugs. Any dockworker or MWUN caught in drug trade will lose their membership and face the penalties for their crimes
” Our members are urged to avoid greed and live with their legitimate earnings. Wealth from drugs will lead them into trouble. It will vanish the way it cane.
“We are improving on our wages every two years and we won’t relent in working for the welfare of workers
” Any Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) member caught with drugs or involving in illicit drug business will lose his or her membership and face wrath of the law” Adeyanju said
Also speaking at the meeting, Fadipe an official of the Nigerian Shippers Council described the PSTT as a child of circumstance created by the presidency through the office of the Vice President.
He said the team is out to address the many challenges that have made Nigerian ports less attractive and caused Nigerian importers to patronize ports of neighbouring countries
The committee according to him comprises of Nigerian Shippers Council as lead agency, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offenses Commission (ICPC) and the Department of State Service (DSS)
Fadipe added that the committee has been monitoring activities at the ports and terminals to prevent delays caused by abuses in the course of inspection and cargo examination.
The team according to him watches activities right from vessel berthing to departure to achieve good ship turn around time and prevent indiscriminate boarding of vessel by government officials.
For proper coordination agencies have been allotted number of officials and specified time to be spent on boarded vessels. According to him, Port Health are allowed 3 officers to board a vessel and spend maximum of 45 minutes.
He added that Nigeria Customs Service and Nigeria Immigration Service Customs are allotted 2 and 3 officers on joint boarding respectively to spend a maximum of 30 minutes
He disclosed that the officials have been notified to indicate in writing any time they had cause to spend more than the allotted time periods onboard ships in the ports.
On joint cargo examination led by Customs Fadipe said 125 containers per day were examined in APMT Apapa but with the time saving intervention of the team, it’s now 185 daily with efficient crowd control system.