Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, Omar Suleiman
The Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, (NPA) Omar Suleiman, has said that the authority will soon provide armed patrol boats for the Nigerian Navy to complement its effort on maritime security.
Suleiman said that this will go a long way in addressing the challenges of piracy, ports crimes, stowaways water front patrol, and maintenance of adequate security at seaports
Head of Security of NPA, Lt. Col. J. M. Tahir (Rtd.) disclosed this while addressing Heads of Security department from various ports locations at their quarterly security meeting in Lagos.
In a press statement signed by the General Manager, Public Affairs of NPA, Chief Michael Ajayi, the Head of Security asserted that security was a crucial issue in view of the fact that despite the presence of other security agencies at the port, any security lapses is always blamed on NPA security.
According to him, the Managing Director has provided three (3) patrol boats for water front security at the Western Ports, adding that similar number of boats will also be provided for Eastern Ports.
He described NPA Managing Director as a man who has an eye and ear for security issues, adding that 20 patrol vehicles will soon be provided for all port locations.
He commended officers and men of the security department for their dedication to duty in the ports, pointing out that despite the security situation in Nigeria in recent times, particularly with terrorist activities, none has been identified to have come in through any of the ports.
Referring to the management commitment to development of deep seaport at Lekki in Lagos and recent announcement by the Federal Government on the expansion of Onne Port Complex Tahir said the Security department is ever ready to brace up for the challenges such expansion will pose.
In his speech, the representative of Executive Director, Marine and Operations, Ms. E. A Egharevba, Capt. I. Ebubeogu commended NPA Security for the quality of security measures put in place at the Headquarters, Marina, which is currently being renovated.
Capt. Ebubeogu who is also the General Manager Marine told the officers that the phase of security has changed since the September 11, 2001 incident in the USA.
He added that the introduction of International Ships and Ports Security (ISPS Code) is just a reminder of the need to take security matters seriously by all maritime nations.
He urged security personnel to always adopt preventive and suppressive methods instead of confrontational approach to security matters.
The master mariner enjoined the security department to proffer solutions to traffic situation in Apapa by identifying what he called Maritime Industrial Environment.
This, he continued, covers all the networks including roads,
locations near the ports, communication and that this measure will assist in monitoring the movement of trucks in and out of the port.
On the need for pro-activeness, Capt. Ebubeogu advised the security personnel to get ports chart from Harbour Masters which will show the entire port environment including buildings.
This will enable them to strategize and be more efficient in their duties.
The representative of the Port Authority Police Command (PAPC) Area Commander, Western Ports, Mr. Innocent Ekweozor, an Asst. Commissioner of Police assured the Security Department of maximum cooperation in the task of making the ports crime free.
He said the Port Police is ever ready to combat terrorism, noting that its anti-bombs squad is always on guard at the ports and pleaded with Nigerian Ports Authority for more equipment support.
He was of the view that banning the Unions from using the seaport gates to collect Union dues will eradicate congestion at the access gates.