The Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Port Police Command, has intervened to restrain a group of the agency’s retirees against embarking on a demonstration without a permit.
The management of NPA had invited the Police into the festering crises in the pensioners’ association following the rejection of its directive to a faction of the association.
The Charles Binitie led faction had approached the NPA with a request for increment in pension allowance, a request the Authority felt should be channelled through the Caretaker Committee led by Ali Umoru. Consequently, the NPA was forced to report the matter to the Police, following the alleged threat by the Binitie faction to embark on a public demonstration to press their demand.
Reacting to the development, Binitie told newsmen that the Police had appealed to them not to embark on a peaceful protest. He, however, said that if the needful were not done, the group would be left with no choice than to go ahead with the protest. Binitie also said that the Police has no right to stop them from protesting when their group has not been proscribed adding that there was no law stopping them from carrying out a peaceful protest.
He said: “The Police had told us not to embark on any protest because of the security situation in the country. The Police has no right whatsoever to stop us from going on a demonstration.
“They are trying to pacify us not to protest. There is no law that stops us from protesting except the group has been proscribed and in this case, the Nigerian Ports Authority Pensioners Welfare Association, NPAPWA, has not been proscribed.”
Meanwhile, the Umoru faction of the association has dismissed the Binitie faction as the authentic leadership of the association. The faction is threatening to issue a disclaimer soon if the Binitie faction does not desist from parading itself as the leaders.
Umoru told newsmen that there was only one NPAPWA adding that any other NPAPWA amounts to impersonation.
Meanwhile, Binitie had said two weeks ago that the current management of the NPA inherited a problematic Pensioners Welfare Association with the undefined and unexplainable crisis.
The crisis, according to him, started about ten years ago adding that it has continued because some members of NPA’s management has been fuelling it by playing the game of divide and rule.
Binitie said: “It is very unfortunate that the present Executive management under the leadership of Ms Hadiza Bala Usman inherited a problematic Pensioners Welfare as all effort to bring the crisis to an end never succeeded. All effort by the Chairman, Board of Trustees and Elders’ Forum fell on deaf ears.
“We have done everything humanly possible by approaching the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Abuja; National Salaries and Wages Commission, Abuja and NPA Board to ensure that appropriate pensions benefits are paid to NPA in accordance with Section 173 (3) of the Nigerian Constitution.
“These efforts have been fragrantly and vehemently resisted by the NPA management. We do not deserve to be sentenced to penury and frustration by the NPA’s management.”