Dockworkers furious as NPA fails to pay severance benefits

It was an atmosphere of anger and frustration amongst tally clerks and onboard security men on Monday, as the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), despite assurances, failed to commence payment of the long- standing severance benefits to the affected workers.

President-General, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, had on Friday announced that NPA would commence payment of severance benefits to tally clerks and onboard security men disengaged from the port in 2015 from Monday (yesterday).

This came following approval for the release and payment of the fund by the Federal Ministry of Transportation.

But some of the aggrieved workers, who converged in their hundreds at the NPA sports ground in Bode Thomas, Surulere, Lagos, expressed sadness over the turn of event. 

One of the workers, 78- year old Henry Ladipo, expressed dissatisfaction over the endless wait they were subjected to as most of the workers are old with various health conditions.   

He said, “For the past four years, the union has been telling us that NPA is the one delaying. We don’t know who to hold if it is NPA or the union. We have suffered a lot on this matter. Some of our members came here since 5a.m. this morning when they said NPA will give us our money today, but we have not seen anyone up till this afternoon and nobody has communicated to us. We have been patiently waiting here even with some of our members who are on medication.

“I started this job since 1963 and despite all the suffering; they said they are going to pay us N400,000. How can we live with N400,000 for the rest of our lives? We want to know how much the government approved for us in the first place.” 

Another worker, Emmanuel Adegbite said, “I borrowed money down here to pay transport fare. I have been here since morning, I have not eaten, and some are even sick and many have died amongst us. Now they say they are giving us N400,000 for four years, but to give us the cheque now is problem since morning till 3pm.” 

Also speaking, Uduak Umoh, said over 50 of the would be beneficiaries have died while awaiting the government payment. 

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