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Monday, 17 June 2013 00:00
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Mixed feelings trail ISPS code deadline compliance

Stakeholders in the maritime sector has expressed mixed feelings over the readiness of the federal government to meet up with the International Ships and Ports Security (ISPS) code deadline given to the country by the United States of America to comply with the code or risk its ship being ban from entering the U.S.

In the words of a foremost maritime lawyer, Emeka Akabogu, he expressed confidence in the federal government ability to meet up with the deadline of the US government.

 He said, “we should be able to meet up if we put in place what is required and I don’t think there is so much in needed to meet up with the deadline. What we have to do is to ensure that every step we take is taken towards putting a safe security framework in the port.”

He stated further, “ I think what the US wanted to see is that they see great effort towards achieving security in our port system, the deadline should not be our problem rather how to effort to achieve the deadline should be prioritise.”

Though, Mr Eugene Nweke, the president of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) believed the country willingness to meet up with the deadline but would not want the US to force their policies on us, he said, “Is Nigeria not a sovereign state? He asked rhetorically.   He continued, “We have our own autonomy and the most important thing was what Mr President has done which was the directive he gave to relevant authorities to make sure the deadline was met.

“we won’t say because America has given ultimatum then we should fall into the ocean rather we should find a way of failing into the ocean in other not to ruin our chance so since Mr president has demonstrated political will to do it and we know the earlier we do it the better for us as a country we don’t need any other pressure to comply,” he said.

But, the national coordinator of save Nigeria freight forwarders importers and exporters coalition (SNIFFIEC), Chief, Chukwu Osita Patrick believed that the country might not be able to meet up with the deadline but would advise Nigeria to ask for an extension of the deadline.

His words, “Nigeria approach every issue in a fire brigade way and that has run down to shooting ourselves in the leg, how the English people do their things is that they prepare before time but I personally do not think that Nigeria will be able to meet up with the ISPS CODE less than 45 day.

“What are the Nigerian government going to do within these few period, are they going to do magic? They know what the US are demanding for and what it takes to achieve it. It is not an overnight achievement hence I will appeal to the U.S. to please extend the time.”

 Chukwu said Nigeria government never knew the US will be stiffer with the port security like what is being experienced; he however said though the American government knew Nigeria is a big market where everybody wants to come so they will think about this and give us extension.

According to him, “what Nigeria government should do is assessment report about the security on ground and then push it back to them and we tell them that we have started just that we cannot meet up, then we plead for extension but when the extension is given I will want them not to joke with the extended time,” he advised.

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