Crisis of Confidence strikes Maritime Transport Unions, and Associations as Key Members Pull Out
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A crisis of confidence has hit the Council of Maritime Transport Unions and Associations (COMTUA) following the constant breach of the provisions of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) entered into by members of COMTUA allegedly by some members, especially the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW).
Some of the key members of COMTUA, Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Nigerian Association of Road transport (NARTO), Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO) and Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) have consequently withdrawn their memberships of the body.
MWUN had in a letter to the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), dated March 10, 2022, signed by the Secretary General, Felix S. Akingboye, a copy of which was seen by THISDAY, drawn the attention of the NPA Managing Director to the development in COMTUA.
“I am directed to inform you, Sir, that Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has withdrawn from the Council of Maritime Transport Unions and Association (COMTUA),” the letter read.
The union added: “We are constrained to take our exit from the Council due to the continuous breach of the provisions of the Council’s MoU by members especially the NURTW.”
While listing the primary objectives of the Council to include, among others, collaboration of all the maritime trade unions and associations to stem the incessant and unabated gridlock that had bedeviled the access roads to the nation’s sea ports over the years, speak with one voice on issue concerning members, and synergise with one another to foster solidarity, the union lamented that the NURTW had allegedly constantly breached this well-stated understanding.
The union specifically accused the NURTW of writing frivolous petitions against its (MWUN’s) members and other stakeholders, that is government agencies, which led to arrest by the police and the resultant embarrassment caused to the union.
MWUN also said that the NURTW peddled falsehood against its (MWUN’s) members and other stakeholders.
The Union (MWUN) stated that as a focused and responsible union, it could not remain a party to an organisation that “professes one thing and does another.”
“Consequently, Maritime Workers Union of Nigerian (MWUN) cease to be party to any action or discussion of the Council effective from the date of our letter of withdrawal from the Council, copy of which attached for your perusal.
“Also forwarded is copy of the Council’s letter of acceptance of our withdrawal dated 12th July, 2021. It is also on record that other key members of the Council such as NARTO, AMATO, RTEAN have also withdrawn their memberships of the council.
“However, Maritime Workers Union, as a stakeholder in the industry still remans a member of the Steering and Enforcement Committees set up by the Ministry of Transportation to decongest the Port access roads in order to facilitate ease of doing business in the Ports,” the MWUN stated in the letter.
AMATO had also issued a notice disclaiming its membership of COMTUA.
Signed by Chief Remi Ogungbemi on behalf of AMATO, the association wrote: “Once again, it has gotten to our information that AMATO is being mentioned, printed or paraded as a member of COMTUA. Therefore, it has become expedient for us as AMATO to inform the relevant authorities and the public that: There was never a time AMATO aligned with COMTUA and will not be part of COMTUA.”