Angry stakeholders, including the National Association of Road Transport Owners, NARTO, and National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, yesterday threw their weight behind the three-day warning strike declared by the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, which is billed to start Wednesday to protest take over of Apapa-Oshodi Expressway by heavy duty trucks.
The gridlock has negatively impacted Apapa and its environ, which has made life not only unberable for residents of the area but also crippled businesses locacated in the axis. This compelled MWUN to convoke a meeting weekend to sensitize stakholders in the maritime sector on the need for the strike.
President General of MWUN, Prince Adeyanju Adewale, who dropped hint of the strike yesterday, said the union would decide its next line of action, if after the three days, government failed to fix the roads leading to the two ports and the area and address the accompanying traffic bottleneck. He added that the strike ought to have taken place before now but noted that it was suspended because of appeals by the government.
However, the federal government appealed to the union last night not to embark on the strike, saying work on the expressway was delayed by COVID-19 pandemic and #EndSARS protests which took place nationwide recently.
He said: “We have decided to put the warning strike on hold till Wednesday December 9, to sensitise other stakeholders in the ports why we have to embark on the warning strike.
“Since the information became public, many of them have been calling and begging for time. They insisted that they are not against our action because the seemingly intractable gridlock is also affecting them and that they are indeed in total support of our planned action.
“But they said it is too sudden and pleaded that we give them time to prepare. So, we have decided to give them two days to prepare. Consequently, the warning strike will now start on Wednesday, December 9, instead of tomorrow (today) as earlier resolved.”
Leaders of the union, while giving reasons the members would withdraw their services nationwide and embark on three-day industrial action, said they were disenchanted by the deplorable state of the access roads to the Apapa and Tin Can Island ports which had claimed several lives and caused incalculable man-hour losses, among other dangers as a result of unending gridlock.
The three-day warning strike is one of the resolutions of the union’s National Executive Council, NEC, meeting held in Lagos.