The security at the ports was formally porous but since the ISPS code came into existence, Nigerians are trying to do their beats in making sure that they protect the ports in the best way that they can. For now, it’s no more business as usual in the ports where you see all kinds of ‘wharf rats’ in the ports, now they have reduced to their barest minimum, I can not tell you that it has been totally eradicated, but it has reduced to its barest minimum.
Agbowodike Izu (NAGAFF chieftain)
The state of security in the ports is still somehow porous in the sense that all the ports installations are not being properly guided; a good example of this is the event at the Atlas cove jetty. In terms of goods coming into the ports, since the ports concession, the concessionaires have been taking care of the goods coming into their own terminals and in terms of the security, they have been trying.
Also, human influx into the ports is not yet properly controlled. Government should further empower the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarders which will know how best to control that area because I believe if they are empowered, they will ensure that registered freight forwarders are given security identifications. Also, every one going into the ports must have their own security identification if not; they don’t have any business going into the ports. Anybody can not just go into the ports.
My summation is that when there is adequate personnel and resources to work with at the ports, it will deter people that are perpetrators of bad works at the ports, even the militants or pirates will be afraid of operating if there is adequate patrolling of the ports.
I will advice that the government should beef up security level at the ports and also equip the marine police and the Navy, at the same time there are some other paramilitaries at the ports too that are involved in patrol, they should not leave out the Customs and the Immigration because they are also related agencies that needs to be equipped. Customs look into anti- smuggling activities and at the same time they can deter people from raising attacks on a vessel because they are also patrolling to do their own job and so they have to be security conscious, same with the immigrations that are to stop aliens from coming in through the ports, they also need to be equipped. So the paramilitaries as well as the Navy must be empowered and given enough boats to move around, so also the logistics should be taken care of because there is no need giving a patrol boat when there is no fuel in it or there is no adequate person to drive the boat.
I think the ports are secured now compared to what it used to be, formerly, we had ‘wharf rats’, but today whatever you have in your containers or consignment is always intact because it is in the hands of the private terminal operators.
Adamu Yusuf Oche (Sea School, The Presidency,.)
Securing the ports requires adequate manpower; both on the land within the ports and also on the waters. We are in charge of saving lives on waters so that, in a case where there is a boat accident there will be qualified divers to rescue people out. However, it is a pity that for some time now we have asked the port securities to come for some training on how to do this and up till now, they have refused to come, so how can they safe lives when there is an emergency.
The government should consider removing all these wrecks on the waters in addition to providing adequate security.
Charles Mbuba (NAGAFF, PTML Command)
Considering the events that have taken place in the past weeks, I think the security should be beefed up at the ports because in my own opinion, what is available at the moment is no enough. The government should not just leave it to be porous like that; if the ports or borders are not well secured, then it means our nation is in danger.