…Joins EFCC To Commemorate 2019 Anti-corruption Day
By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Hadiza Bala Usman has reiterated that the agency would not be intimidated in anyway on account of its fight against corruption in the port system, even as she insisted that vessels calling on Nigerian waters should stop paying private security companies for protection.
Hadiza stated this in Lagos yesterday as she participated in a sensitization rally in collaboration with Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to commemorate the United Nations 2019 Anti-corruption Day tagged “Zero Tolerance for Corruption in the Maritime and Transport Sector”
She said the maritime industry has seen how corruption is fighting back, stressing that NPA would not be intimidated by anyone.
Recall that the NPA boss recently wrote a petition to the Department of State Security (DSS) and the Inspector General of Police after she was attacked within the premises of the National Assembly in Abuja.
She had alleged that the attack was sponsored by Ocean Marine Services Limited, a private company in charge of providing security for ships at the Secured Anchorage Area (SAA) in Lagos.
Hadiza had cancelled the contract which runs into billions of Naira.
Speaking yesterday on the sidelines of the anti-corruption walk in Lagos, she said “In the maritime industry we have seen how corruption is fighting back, and I want to reiterate that we would not be intimidated by anyone, we would continue to fight against corruption”
“We would not back down, we would not be intimidated by anyone, we stand firm on our position because we stand on legitimacy and legality of what we have done”
“We believe that we need to make our ports competitive, we need to reduce the cost of doing business in our ports, and in so doing we stand firm that vessels coming into Nigeria should not be paying private companies for any form of security, Nigerian Navy and indeed NIMASA will provide the security required as regards their statutory positions”
“We believe that everybody has to participate in the fight against corruption, it is a joint effort, we look forward to strengthening collaboration across agencies of government and the private sector that operates in the maritime industry, the agencies are striving very hard”
“We need to work together and strengthen collaboration, as a representative of the maritime industry, we believe that there is need for us to entrench transparency and accountability across the board in all our operations”
“In so doing, our synergy with EFCC is important, we have laid our operations open to them, we believe that there is a need to entrench across board in all our operations what is required to strengthen integrity and accountability”
“Corruption practices are unacceptable and it brings down the state of the economy, so please as you stand today in your capacity, you must continue to stand for integrity. I will continue to play my role as the managing director of NPA, and also in my role as the member of the Presidential Committee Against Corruption” she said
Also speaking, Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers Council, Barrister Hassan Bello who was represented by his Director of Special Duties, Barr Samuel Vongtau said the Council has instituted instruments to help the maritime sector fight against corruption.
These include the Port Service Support Portal (PSSP) and the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)
According to him, automation of the port system is the only way to go, if corruption must be stamped out of the port system, adding that the council is working tirelessly to ensure automation of the port system.
He said, “Today is significant because it was a day set aside to campaign against corruption and every organization that has an interest in fighting corruption must come out as we have done. Shippers’ council has been fighting corruption in the port sector because even last year’s international anti-corruption day we organized a march to the port and we have been working very hard to ensure that processes at the ports are automated and when they are automated corruption will be reduced to the barest minimum”.
According to him, human contact breeds corruption hence the need to automate the system.
“Corruption thrives when there is a face-to-face interaction between the service provider and the consumers but when processes are automated there will be no interface between humans and then corruption will be reduced.
He stated further, “Nigerian shippers council is one of the agencies at the forefront of the development of a standard operating procedure for all the port agencies and that is one of the ways we are eliminating corruption to ensure that those who come to the ports know the processes.
“They know what they are expecting from the service provider and this makes it difficult for people to seek bribe because when you know what is expected from the service you will not seek bribe and the service has timeline and anyone who does not work with it can be reported to the shippers’ council that service rendered was done in an unsatisfactory manner.”
Also speaking at the rally, the Zonal Head of EFCC, Muhammed Rabo said the sensitization rally was born out of United Nations conventions of 2003, setting aside a day annually to raise awareness against a global concern and ills of corruption.
“We have been charged to unite against corruption. The message of this year is well teamed and timed, we must all have zero tolerance for corruption”
“Everyone must have an attitudinal change and shun the acquisition of illicit wealth, and embrace values that can promote accountability and transparency at all level”
“Our continued lamentation of how corruption has wrecked havoc on the nation would not bring the desired growth and progress, we would only effectively rewrite our story if we organise ourselves to check the menace”
On his part, the Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside represented by Director of Internal Audit, Victor Nwazurike, also disclosed that the agency has zero-tolerance for corruption.
“In the agency, we have an anti-corruption and transparency unit which is very active to make a report of any act of corruption”
” The Servicom unit is also there they make sure things are properly done and done timely, and if things are done timely corruption will be reduced to the barest minimum, so we are in support and have been partnering with EFCC in all things they have been doing and we have gladly joined them even in this sensitization rally”.