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Monday, 17 June 2013 00:00
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Low human traffic in port will increase security and reduce corruption –– Presidency

The Federal Government has directed the Nigeria Port Authority (NPA) to work towards reducing human traffic around Nigeria ports in other to ensure security and reduce act of corruption in the port.

This directive was given by the Senior Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on maritime matters, Mr Leke Oyewole at a stakeholder conference in Lagos on Tuesday. The reduction of human traffic, according to him is part of the international ships and ports security (ISPS) codes.

He said, “NPA, have their own role to play by limiting the human interface in port operations, people just wake up in the morning and head for the port for businesses they did not plan from their homes this must cease.”

He however advised NPA to if need be send their staff for training in countries where human interface has been reduced, “if it will take NPA to travel to some other countries or if they already have the idea it must be done there is no point putting human being at the gate and looking at faces to see who comes in and who does not.

“we have to automate the point of entry, make it electronic if the system reject you then you go back home if you have business in the port you come in because you have an access card this is a part of the transformation we want to emerge in the maritime sector, like the single window of the Customs, which we are using to reduce human traffic and corruption.”

According to the Senior Special Adviser, Customs single window has reduced corruption because if agents can stay in the confines of their home and clear their goods, make necessary payment online nobody will ask for bribe and so reduce corruption.

On the other hand, The Director General of NIMASA, Mr Patrick Akpolokemi has said that the agency headed by him will vigorously pursue ISPS Code implementation by raising the security standards of all port facilities in the country and ships that bear the nation’s flag.

His words, “Our insistence on better standards and other improved security measures may in the short term impose some level of financial burden on port facility operators and other stakeholders but the measures we shall be prescribing will in no doubt augur well for you and the Nigeria’s maritime industry in the long run.”

He continued, “The gains of a nationwide compliance with the ISPS Code are immense and serve as an anaesthetic for any short-term discomfort that our implementation agenda might cause in the interim. On the flip side, the risks of non-compliance with the ISPS Code are frightening and given the threats our nation faces from the growing menace of global terrorism and other maritime crimes, non-compliance will prove disastrous.

“To this end, we will work with you to ensure that proposed measures are practicable, extensive and cost-effective because at the end of the day security must make sense. We will also work with relevant stakeholders to ensure our waterways are safe as I am convinced that the safer our waterways are, the safer our port facilities will be. We shall equally collaborate with other shore-based agencies and entities to ensure effective port control as necessary,” he said.

But, on the agency readiness to succeed on the mandate given to her by the government, Akpolokemi said, “With the support and cooperation of every stakeholders, I am confident that we will make such great strides that our commitment to this global mandate will not be in doubt or be called to question.

“Considering the quantum of maritime activity and our nation’s dependence on such activities, it is of the greatest expedience that we collectively see to it that this mandate is given the highest attention and priority by all government and private organizations here represented.

“We must not forget that our maritime domain hosts much of our country’s critical national assets, resources and infrastructure further underscoring the grave importance of my earlier assertion. Let no one be in doubt, the issues of ISPS code implementation and maritime security by extension, are matters of National Security,” The DG concluded.

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