By Anthony Nwachukwu
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has called for cooperation from the Nigeria Police and the Nigerian Navy to end the incessant attacks on vessels, barge operators and other port facilities around the waterfronts and channels, and to dismantle the illegal checkpoints.
It has also charged the Federal Roads Safety Commission (FRSC) to clear all encumbrances and bottlenecks impeding free flow of traffic on all port corridors, to ensure efficient and effective handling of cargo in and out of the nation’s seaports.
The Ag. Managing Director of the NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko, made the requests during a meeting with the Assistant Inspector-General of Police (Maritime), Amadi John Ogbonnaya, Commander of NNS Beecroft, Commodore Bashiru Mohammed, represented by Lt Commander A.S Manga, FRSC Sector Commander, Matthew Cyril Zango, officials of Lagos State and federal agencies in the maritime industry.
Bello stressed an urgent need for the AIG Maritime and other security agencies to assist the agency in addressing the rising cases of attacks on vessels, barge operators and other port facilities, especially around the waterfronts and the channel areas.
He further urged the AIG to help address stakeholders’ persistent complaints about extortion, illegal roadblocks by security agents, associations and unions along the seaport corridors on Tin Can-Coconut, Mile 2, Orile, around the SIFAX Terminal a Ijora-Olopa, as well as Police Area B, Wharf and Creek Roads, among others.
Bello stated: “The authority would like the AIG to use his good offices to assist in strengthening the existing collaboration between the Lagos State Police Command and the PAPC, assist in the challenge of persistent complaints by stakeholders of extortion and illegal roadblocks by operatives from government security agencies, unions and associations on port corridors.
“Other issues requiring the AIG’s urgent attention include assisting in follow-ups with the Force Headquarters, Abuja, for additional maritime police personnel/gunnery to enable the authority commission its newly acquired patrol boats, and to assist in the follow-up for the establishment of Marine Police units in Calabar and Delta ports respectively.”
According to him, the NPA management looks forward to working with the new AIG Maritime, and to improve existing relationship between the agency and the police high command.
In another development, Bello said the NPA would readily collaborate with maritime stakeholders to ensure the success of the electronic call-up system, also called Eto.
He told an interactive session with stakeholder in Lagos that security agencies, stakeholders and the Lagos State Government have agreed to streamline operational procedures to curtail the extortion and sharp practices that hamper efficient truck traffic management at Apapa and the entire Maritime Logistics Ring (MLR).
“The management of the NPA is seeking more partnership from the authority’s vast stakeholders towards stimulating eto to considerable success.
“There is therefore the need for all security agencies, as well as operators, to rub minds, share information on eto and 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.”
Thanking the Lagos State Government, FRSC and the Port Authority Police, among others, for their unflinching support in eto enforcement, Bello said the NPA would always keep up to its responsibilities, and would not relent, especially on synergies in taking the agency to the expected height.