The National President of of the Association, Engineer Alalade Matthew said this in Lagos at the weekend in response to allegations that the senior staff union was not fighting the course of its members and Nigerian seafarers.
The union President who was reacting to the recent case of Chinese seafarers taking over the nation’s maritime space, lamented that the 500 Nigerians involved in the Dangote Refinery project are not financial members of the Merchant Navy Union , noting that “there is a limit to what the association can do in form of assistance”
He maintained that most of the seamen lamenting about the activities of the union are not financial members , pointing out that most of the seafarers refuse to identify with them hiding under the constitutional provision of freedom of association.
He quipped that the seafarers’ lacklustre attitude has led to setbacks for the union to perform effectively in discharging its obligations.
Alalade therefore called on the sailors to recognize and identify with the union , saying it is the only duly registered union that can represent the interest of the workers.
“The bottom line is that Nigerian seafarers are not ready to work with the union. It is giving us a very big challenge.
” You know crowd matter, if you watch the Nigerian Maritime Workers’ Union, you will know is because of crowd and even when they are passing through hell, they are always there for themselves .
“The constitution of Nigeria is a problem to all of us. They said it is freedom to associate and the man you are fighting for at the end of the day goes behind you to do other things.
“There are instances we have challenges in helping these people because they don’t want to associate with you but they believe in the people called kill and divide.
“The seafarers should recognize that our office here at Palace Road is for them, they should come so that we can work together. We are the genuinely registered union for seafarers.
Speaking further, he stated that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is not doing enough in revealing the number of faceless manning agents in the maritime industry to the Union.
According to him, several attempts have been made to unravel the number of people behind the recruitment of their members for ship owners but that the agency has left them in the dark.
“It becomes on NIMASA as the regulating agency to reveal to us the number of manning agents we have. We don’t know them. We have confronted the agency on this issue and they promised to give us the list of those they have recognized and up till tomorrow, the list has not been given to us,” he said.
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