…Says sponsors are economic saboteurs, enemies of Nigeria
24 July 2017, Sweetcrude, Lagos — THE Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has joined forces with maritime workers against the controversial Ports & Harbours Bill, pending at the National Assembly, describing sponsors of the bill as economic saboteurs and enemies of Nigeria.
Leaders of NLC have called on Well meaning Nigeria especially patriotic lawmakers to kill the bill, contending that it has portended grave consequences for the nation’s national security, economy and employment crisis.
President of NLC President, Mr. Ayuba Wabba who spoke when he led NLC leaders on a visit to the National Secretariat of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, in Lagos, argued that the sponsors of the bill were “economic saboteurs who are solely driven by greed.”
Recall that maritime workers recently protested against the bill, crippling ports operations nationwide including the Marina Headquarters of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, warning that it would worsen the insecurity in the country, massive loss of job and revenue to the government.
The contentious bill, which seeks to repeal the NPA Act of 1995, has been passed by the Senate and is awaiting concurrent passage by the House of Representatives.
Mr. Wabba who also decried the state of access roads to the ports, said: “Every business has something to do with the maritime industry either directly or indirectly. You must have something to do with the ports; either you need to import raw materials, or you need to export finished products; or even export goods and services.
This is the nerve centre of economic activities. Given the state of the roads leading to the ports, I think it is an aberration and I want to o use this medium to call on the Federal Government, as a matter of urgency, to fix the roads leading to the ports. There must be a prompt consideration to these routes that lead to our ports.
“What has happened so far, is merely putting resources in the hands of a few, which is not to the benefit of Nigerians. The resources that should be accruing to the Nigerian state are going into a few individual pockets. We shouldn’t also associate inefficiency with policy option. The problem we have in Nigeria is inefficiency in our system. It does no matter if the businesses are in public or private hands. We have seen also in recent times that many enterprises that were privatised are also falling apart; not because they are in private hands, but because of a systemic problem of not addressing issues the way they should.
“Clearly, it is greed that is actually driving this process of concessioning of this very important sector. It is not going to serve our interest. We have also looked at other countries around the world; one of the most important money spinning ventures to any economy is the revenue accruing from the ports.
It must be emphasised that the management of our ports is about our national security. If you take away the responsibility of Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) and put in private hands, we are putting the nation’s security and our lives on the line. I, therefore, urge the government to actually look at this scenario because a lot of other countries also want to undermine our security, national and economic interest.
Therefore this bill will aggravate that particular problem. This particular bill is not out for the welfare of Nigerians and workers. Because of this, the bill is not desirable.”
He added that NLC would engage the National Assembly to enable lawmakers “see reasons to kill the bill”.
Earlier, President General, MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, while expressing appreciation for the visit of the NLC President and other leaders, said he was confident that with the support of the NLC, the bill would not see the light of day.