Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, has said the roles of stevedore companies in the nation’s seaports are not only statutory but must also be respected by all operators.
He maintained that the appointment of stevedore companies to manage dockworkers operations at the jetties and offshore/onshore companies must not be subjected to the whim and caprices of operators.
Umar, who stated this at an interactive forum organised for jetty operators, on/offshore oil companies and stevedore companies in Lagos, emphasised the supervisory role of government and its agencies in achieving the desired result in private jetties operations.
He also hinted that private jetties operations would be streamlined for the purpose of collecting benefits of stakeholders and the nation, adding that the ministry in concert with agencies like Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) are charged with the statutory responsibility of granting approval for the operations of jetties, onshore/offshore oil companies and stevedore services.
The minister, who acknowledged the crucial role of jetty operators, said onshore/offshore oil companies are stevedore companies to the development of the maritime sector and indeed the nation.
According to Umar, “a high numbers of Nigerian are employed in the sector, bringing about the much-needed economic prosperity and stability in the nation. In the recent past, reports of security breaches at private jetties have been received and in view of the current security challenges in the country, the issue cannot be ignored.
“Let me state that jetties operators are expected to restrict their activities to the approving licences granted them. They are also required to work in concert with relevant security agencies to ensure compliance with the laws guiding their operations. Anything outside these is bound to attract suspicion and appropriate sanctions”, he added.
The Permanent Secretary, Minister of Transport, Mr. Nebolisa Emordi, had earlier in his opening remarks emphasised the need for NIMASA to strengthen the criteria for the registration of stevedore companies and insisted that such criteria and standard are to be followed by all stakeholders since laws are meant to be obeyed, adding that government cannot operate in a vacuum.
Contributions, comments and questions were taken from the representatives of jetty operators, on/offshore oil companies and stevedores companies at the interactive session.
Present at the meeting amongst others are the Director of Maritime Services, Federal Ministry of Transport, Alhaji N. Nagogo, Managing Director of NPA, Alhaji Habib Abdullahi, Commissioner of Police, Port Police Commander, Mrs. Sherifat Disu Olajoku, and the General Manager Public Affairs, Captain Iheanacho Ebubeogu.