By crossriverwatch admin
Business activities at the Calabar port in Cross River State were on Tuesday paralyzed as staff of the port protested over their eviction from the NPA staff quarters known as Harbour village, Ekorinim and locked all the entrances to the ports over the alleged insensitivity of the management of NPA and the minister of transport.
All the NPA staff at the harbor village were on Thursday last week thrown out of the quarters by Police and suspected area boys following the judgment of a Calabar High Court which had ruled that the property and parcel of land which had been in court over its ownership belongs to Dr. Sama E Sama, a medical practitioner.
But after about five days of their eviction with their property thrown outside, the management of the NPA apart from the Ports Manager had not shown any concern as most of the affected staff sleep in the office with their families.
Some of the affected staff complained that apart from their property thrown out without any notice for them to make alternative arrangement, the people that came to enforce the eviction looted some of their personal belongings including huge sums of money.
Speaking in an interview, Chairman of Senior Staff Association of the port, Comrade George Umoh said that the port will remain locked until the authorities of the NPA and the minister of transportation look into their plight and provide them with alternative accommodation.
Comrade Umoh said that the protest and locking of the NPA premises became necessary because the workers had no place to lay their heads with their families as they were evicted without any notice to look for alternative accommodation.
He said that apart from the fact that those who enforced their eviction broke into their quarters and threw their property away, they collected huge sums of money from them and that since the incidence took place, attempt to talk to the management of NPA or government had not produced any positive result.
He also said that it was not possible to get and pay for a new house in Calabar within the few period and that some landlords had cashed in on their plight to exploit members and that the development had made their children to drop from school as the money allegedly stolen from them was for their children school fees.
Umoh appealed for protection of the staff by the authorities of NPA and the federal government as their eviction was causing them serious trauma.
He said that he was not against whoever was the rightful owner of the property taking possession of it, but that, “If is true that the property belongs to Dr. Sama and that if the court had delivered judgment without the knowledge of NPA, Dr. Sama should have given us two weeks notice.
“Evicting us with thugs is barbaric. The management has to do something. We are not happy that we are keeping people going to do business at the port outside, but the situation we found ourselves requires what we are doing.”
In a solidarity rally, Chairman of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, NPA branch, Comrade Ajayi Bamidele said that the presence of his union was to give solidarity to the NPA staff over what they were passing through as they had become homeless.
Bamidele said, “We are not saying that the Harbour Village should not be given to whoever owns it, what we are saying is that they should have given us notice and should not have used thugs to drive us out and loot our property including money.”
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