The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) is set to partner with the United Kingdom Border Force on port security.
The partnership is also designed to facilitate legitimate movement of persons and goods at all seaports in the country.
NPA’s acting Managing Director, Mohammed Bello-Koko, disclosed this in a statement issued in Lagos on Friday by Mr Olaseni Alakija, General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, NPA.
Bello-Koko said that the partnership covers security measures, coordination, information sharing and joint operations to check persons or activities that might cause harm to operations and investments.
According to him, the partnership will seek to safeguard shipping and cargo traffic, improve intelligence gathering and deepen revenue from maritime trade.
“The partnership with the UK Border Force is a strategic relationship with long term economic benefits to Nigeria and to Britain,’’’ he said.
The acting MD commended the UK Agency for the good work it was doing to safeguard the economic and national interests of Britain.
He expressed confidence in the partnership to engender efficiency and value for money in all aspects of port businesses in Nigeria.
Bello-Koko noted that the Border Force was a law enforcement agency charged by the UK government to manage immigration and customs checks at all British seaports and airports.
“The collaboration with the NPA entails the establishment of an Electronic Cargo Targeting System, a Joint Port Control Unit and a Mobile Task Force
“It comes with the capacity to enhance the work of Nigerian law enforcement agencies operating within the nation’s maritime domain by providing real-time data and business arterial intelligence tools.
“Furthermore, the partnership will foster critical and sustainable capacity building and manpower development.
“It will prioritise the acquisition, deployment and utilisation of resources sensitive to threats and issues related to maritime security,’’ he added.
The UK Border Force Regional Operations Manager, West Africa, Kris Hawksfield, also commended NPA for providing a safe environment for port services in the country.
Hawksfield said he was optimistic that the partnership would enhance Nigeria’s border management capabilities.
He said that it included strengthening the capacity of border law enforcement agencies to protect revenue; to disrupt criminal activities like money laundering, drugs, human trafficking and terrorism.
Hawksfield said other benefits were decrease in incidences of illicit trade in and out of the country as well as better compliance to trade laws.
He added that this would culminate in improved performance of Nigerian ports and increase the country’s global reputation.