The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) says there is need to end the incessant cases of attacks on vessels, barge operators and other port facilities around the waterfronts and channels.
Mr Mohammed Bello-Koko, acting Managing Director, NPA, made the call in a statement in Lagos signed by Mr Olaseni Alakija, General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, NPA.
Bello-Koko said that to tackle the issue, he sought the support and cooperation of the newly appointed Assistant Inspector General (AIG) of the Nigeria Police in charge of Maritime as well as the Nigerian Navy.
He pointed out that the authority also charged the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) on the need to clear all encumbrances and bottlenecks that impede free flow of traffic on all port corridors.
He added that it was with a view to ensuring efficient and effective handling of cargo in and out of the nation’s seaports.
He explained that the managing director made this known during a meeting with the AIG Maritime, AIG Amadi John Ogbonnaya, officials of Lagos State Government and Commander of the NNS Beecroft, Commodore Bashiru.
Also at the meeting was the Sector Commander of the FRSC, Matthew Cyril Zango among others.
According to Bello-Koko, there is urgent need for the AIG Maritime and indeed other security agencies to assist the authority in addressing the rising cases of attacks on vessels, barge operators and other port facilities especially around the waterfronts and the channel areas.
He also sought the support of the AIG in helping to address the persistent complaints by stakeholders over extortion, illegal mounting of roadblocks by uniformed personnel from the security agencies, associations and unions.
He said that the people operated along the seaport corridors comprising Tin Can-Coconut, Mile 2, Orile, around the SIFAX Terminal on Ijora-Olopa as well as Police Area B, Wharf and Creek Roads, among others.
He added that efforts were being intensified to dismantle all illegal check points with a call to truck drivers to resist extortion.
““I wish to use this opportunity to thank the Lagos State Government, the FRSC and the PAPC of the Lagos State Police Command for their support and collaboration with the NPA on the enforcement of the Electronic Call-Up System, called ‘Eto’ and the Clearance Operation.
“The authority will like the AIG to use his good office to assist in the following areas of interest or concern- strengthening the existing collaboration between the Lagos State Police Command and the PAPC and assist in the challenge of persistent complaints by stakeholders.
“Other issues requiring the AIG’s urgent attention include follow-ups with the Force Headquarters Abuja for additional maritime Police personnel/gunnery to enable the authority commission its newly acquired patrol boats.
“To assist in the follow-up for the establishment of Marine Police units in Calabar and Delta Ports respectively,” Bello Koko said.
Also in attendance at the meeting were the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu; Commissioner of Police in charge of Port Authority Police Command, CP Nasiru Adamu; Senior Special Assistant to the Lagos State Governo and Mr Sola Giwa.
Similarly, the MD said the authority was willing to collaborate with maritime stakeholders in order to ensure the success of the electronic call- up system, known as the ‘Eto’.
During an interactive session with stakeholder, Bello-Koko disclosed that security agencies, stakeholders and the Lagos State Government had agreed to streamline operational procedures to curtail extortion and sharp practices.
He noted that these sharp practices hampered the enforcement of the truck traffic management at Apapa and the entire Maritime logistic Ring (MLR).
“The management of the NPA is seeking more partnership from the authority’s vast stakeholders towards stimulating the eto, the electronic call up system to considerable success.
“There is need for all security agencies as well as operators to rub minds, share information on the subject of eto and the truck traffic management in Apapa in relation to proffering solutions to the gridlock in the Port environment.
“Let us jointly work in greater unison to resolve this issue that has become worrisome,” he said.