By Godfrey Bivbere
APAPA youths under the aegis of United Apapa Youths Forum, UAYF, have threatened to shut down port operations over alleged neglect by seaport terminal operators, shipping companies as well as government agencies operating within Apapa port city, Lagos.
Speaking on behalf of UAYF in Lagos, the group’s grand patron, Victor Kolombus Nangibo, stressed that companies operating from Apapa have not deemed it fit to reach out to youths in the community since the lockdown following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nangibo, according to Daily Trend, an online platform, specifically accused the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, terminal operators and shipping companies of compromising the CSR that is supposed to focus youths in the community.
He said: “We regret their attitude towards us, this kind of attitude would not be tolerated in other port communities, but as peace loving youths of Apapa, we are advising them to change their ways”
“The forum has written series of letters to the companies and we copied the local government chairman, he has never called our attention or acknowledged our letters, this means he is compromising our requests from the companies.”
“When you go to NPA, they would tell you that they are doing something for the youths but we are not seeing it. We are now seeing a foul play somewhere, the local government chairman cannot play the role of the youth, and hence these companies must desist from dealing with him.
“We want to implore the Federal Government to investigate where all the employment chances are going. In every organised society, there is always employment for the youths, why would APMT, Flour Mills and hundreds of other companies be here and Apapa youths are not employed? Is this not a shame even to the governor of the state?
“Since 2013 when UAYF was fully registered and recommended by the local government, the companies are not answering us, we have graduates with adequate qualifications but the companies are not bringing up employment quotas. At Onne Port, the NPA port manager gave out palliatives to the youths and the communities, and gave them money, but here the Apapa port manager, Mrs. Olotu wrote us a letter that NPA was working with only 30 per cent of its workforce and there is no provision for COVID-19. Is the NPA different?
“After this our approach to speak out, and they still fail to invite us, the situation would become uncomfortable for both the investors and the government. If there is no comfortable environment to work, if we the youths disrupt operations at the port, we know how much the companies would lose.
“The companies should remember the kind of money that they would spend if we come up with a protest. We are appealing now for them to deal with us as youths in our own department and deal with any other person separately.”