Eromosele Abiodun and Esther Oluku
The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala-Usman has said the agency will not be intimidated by anyone as regards its withdrawal of support to the Secure Anchorage Area (SAA).
Bala-Usman, who disclosed this in a chat with newsmen during the commemoration of the World Anti-Corruption Day in Lagos, recently, said the agency would stand firm on its position and the legality of what it has done.
Concerned about threat to national security and the cost of doing business at the country’s seaport, the Nigerian Ports Authority recently notified the Nigerian Navy of its decision to dismantle the Secure Anchorage Area, operated on behalf of the Navy by a private company, OMS Limited.
NPA had insisted that the security of the country’s waterways was the statutory responsibility of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Marine Police, and Nigerian Navy, which must all ensure safe and secure Nigeria territorial waters.
A Secure Anchorage Area is an area outside the Lagos port that the Nigerian Navy, with a private company, has defined as a secure place where vessels can anchor safely from the threat of pirate attack.
According to the NPA boss, “We believe that we have to make our ports competitive, we have to reduce the cost of doing business in our ports and by so doing we stand by to say that we reaffirm that vessels coming into Nigeria should not be paying private companies to for any form of security.”
“Nigerian Navy and indeed NIMASA should provide the requisite security required as entrenched in the statutes of the Maritime sector,” she said
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in partnership with the NPA led various stakeholders and civil society groups on a two-kilometre awareness walk against corruption as part of the celebration of World Anti-Corruption Day.
The walk was led by the Zonal Head of the anti-corruption agency, Mr. Mohammed Rabo and Bala-Usman.
Bala-Usman, said everyone has to work together to eradicate corruption in the country stressing that it would be in the interest of all Nigerians to eradicate corruption.
“I believe that we have to work together and strengthen collaboration against corruption. I am here as a representative of the maritime industry. We believe that there is a need to entrench transparency and accountability across the board in all our operations. We believe that there is a need to entrench across the board what is required for integrity and accountability,” she said.
Speaking to newsmen, Rabo submitted that the effect of corruption permeates every sector and the challenge therefore calls for concerted efforts.