Stakeholders hold confab, urge FG to reduce agencies, human traffic at ports

Stakeholders in Nigeria’s maritime industry rose from a two-day general conference on Tuesday, with a call to the Federal Government to “urgently reduce to the barest minimum, the number of agencies operating within port facilities.”

The conference also urged Abuja to “control human traffic through the introduction of robust access control measures,” following the appointment of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Security Agency (NIMASA) as the country’s Designated Authority (DA).

According to a communiqué at the end of the conference, participants also noted the need “for clear definition of roles of all Agencies performing security related functions in the ports, especially within the context of the ISPS Code;

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They urged government to “take all necessary steps and introduce measures considered essential to address the issues raised by the United States of America Government in their assessment of the implementation of the ISPS Code.”

Meanwhile, a master mariner, Captain Abiodun Omotesho, on Tuesday in Lagos, assured that Nigeria will meet the 90-days deadline by the U.S. Coast Guard to implement the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code.

Speaking during a Round Table organized by the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN), Omotesho said meeting the deadline will not be a problem, since Nigeria’s maritime sector had already started implementing the code, following the concessioning of the ports to private companies.

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He said before the ports were concessioned, a lot of miscreants popularly called Wharf Rats had turned the ports virtually to residential place. He said with the taking over of the ports by the private investors, the ports environments are virtually becoming more secured as the concessionairs have put in place measures to restrict people from entering the ports indiscriminately.

It would be recalled that the US government issued a 90 days ultimatum for Nigeria to address deficiencies in the ISPS code implementation, failure which they would bar ships that call at Nigerian ports from entering the USA territorial waters.

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