By DAPO OLAWUNI
Investigation has revealed that apart from the rigorous documentation process and multiple signatures required to clear a container at Nigerian Ports, stakeholders accessing the ports are now required to carry multiple identity cards to access the port area.
For example, some of the identity cards required to access the Tin Can Island Port alone are; Company identity card, CRFFN card, TICT Terminal pass, Five Star Terminal pass, Ports and Cargo Pass, PTML Terminal pass, NPA port pass.
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) recently came up with access control at the port, mandating every port used to show their NPA port pass before they can be allowed to access the port.
Though the move is commendable because it is in line with the International Ships and Ports Facility Security (ISPS) Code, it was however dead on arrival because NPA failed to manage it well and carry stakeholders along before implementation.
It appears that the outcry by the port users have now made the NPA to suspend implementation of the port pass.
When DAILY TREND NEWS visited the Tin Can Port yesterday, port users were being allowed free access into the port without the NPA port pass.
Speaking with our correspondent, an official of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) at Tin Can Chapter, Mr Charles Uba said there was nothing wrong in profiling people entering the port because it is supposed to be a highly secured environment.
“The issue of insecurity at Nigerian Ports cannot be overemphasized, coupled with the fact that there is insurgency in the country and you don’t know who is who”
“However, before anything is implemented, the stakeholders must be carried along and sensitized so that they can in turn sensitize their followers. In doing this, you will not fence out the people that are supposed to be original workers in the port while allowing miscreants”
“The issue of NPA issuing port pass is not necessary because as far as the port is concerned, all the concessionaires have their entry permit, the only place left is the common user areas. Once the freight forwarders and clearing agents identify themselves properly, they should be allowed to go”
“NPA sold off their property, they gave it to private individuals who are now managing it, these concessionaires have created their entry permit, it is wrong for NPA to come and duplicate the entry permit by asking for port pass”
“This means that I will have my company identity card, association card, port pass, TICT entry permit, Five Star permit, Grimaldi, CRFFN card and so on, this means I will be carrying more than eight identity card on me everyday” he said
Charles Uba said this anomaly can only be found at Nigerian Ports where operators are expected to move along with multiple identity cards.
“For me, once you have identified yourself as a custom broker, customs officer or immigration officer, you should be allowed into the port”
“When NPA started, it was so chaotic, people reacted and NPA retreated. They had come out in full force, they were just asking for port pass, they did not put into consideration the other identity cards relevant to doing business in the port”
The ANLCA official said that the NPA access control has failed on arrival, and that their was need for it to be harmonized.
Also speaking with our correspondent, Vice President of the Oodua Maritime Forum, Mr Ojo Akintoye said it was totally wrong for NPA to mount another access gate other than the one already erected by terminal operators.
According to him, the access control embarked upon by NPA does not serve any purpose.
Speaking he said “It is totally wrong to for NPA to Mount another gate at the port, I met with the CSO and I told him so. Nobody said the port should not be a restricted area, but NPA has given offices to people around, so the restrictions should not affect these office areas”
“The terminal operators have issued entry permit to whoever wants to enter into their terminal and yet NPA is forcing us to get port pass”
“The port pass does not eradicate the excesses of terminal operators.We all agree with the ISPS Code, but to what extent, NPA also gave shops to food sellers inside the national, and they are collecting rent”
“The solution is for NPA to have a meeting with all the stakeholders” he said.