The Port Industry Anti Corruption Standing Committee (PIACSC) has identified inordinate desire for wealth accumulation by officials of some agencies in the ports as one of the major causes of corruption in the nation’s seaports.
Speaking at the opening of a meeting between the committee and heads of Anti Corruption and Transparency Units (ACTU) of government agencies in the nation’s port system, the chairman of PIACSC, Mr Val Usifoh observed that in spite of the successes that have been recorded in respect of port reforms, the port system is still bedevilled by old habits; many of which inhibit operational efficiency.
According to him, issues like multiple check points by security agents, illegal charges, extortion, pilfering and illegal collection of samples of consignments are still very prevalent in the ports.
At the meeting which was attended by representatives of ACTUs form the Nigerian Shippers Council, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Standards Organisation of Nigeria and a host of others, the PIACSC chairman accused some port officials of deliberately imposing bottlenecks, even as he accused port users of also deliberately flouting government regulations .
According to him, the meeting was called so as his committee and the ACTUs will diagnose and proffer solutions to the factors responsible for corrupt practices in the ports act as well as engender integrity among officials of government agencies.
Mr Usifoh also identified usage of fake documents , under invoicing and concealment as other contributors to corruption in the ports and urged participants at the meeting to be more forthcoming in the anti corruption crussade
Also speaking at the event, the principal head of the ICPC Mr. S.M Iroka acknowledged that corruption is found in every sector of the country, and narrowing it down to the ports he said “since the ports is the next revenue earning means of our country, we should look for possible means to tackle corruption in our country because if not tackled then there is problem since we are import dependant in Nigeria”.