By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Port Standing Task Team (PSTT) has said that it’s National Cordinator, Comrade Fadipe Moses and support staff members of the team suffered physical attacks at Rivers Port recently while carrying out their monitoring exercise.
The PSTT, a creation of the presidency to fight various corrupt tendencies and infractions against ease of doing business at Nigerian ports, is domiciled under the Nigerian Shippers Council.
Fadipe stated this while delivering the scorecard of the PSTT at an enlarged task team meeting held at the headquarters of the Nigerian Shippers Council in Apapa recently.
While speaking on the gaps hindering optimum compliance to the PSTT, Fadipe said “The task team has also gathered that the Rivers port is not lit up at night for over two years which adversely affects the turnaround time of operations and makes monitoring difficult and dangerous for the PSTT members.
“The National Coordinator and his support staff recently experienced a physical attack at the port during a monitoring exercise”
Fadipe lamented that agencies and partners who are meant to support the operations of the PSTT, especially in terms of financial supports and provision of vehicles as well as other amenities have reneged.
He said “Much as we have received great support from some partners, there are still some that ordinarily supposed to be joint owners of this responsibility but they are still foot dragging.
“For instance, the Manual requires that dedicated vehicles be provided for vessels’ joint boarding exercises. However, this requirement has not been met at most of the port locations, namely; Tin-Can Island, Rivers, and Onne ports.
“The successes that have been recorded so far and the associated goodwill have brought with them an increasing expectations from the industry stakeholders.
“Many are desirous of the task team to serve as the primary enforcement body at the ports to carry out sting operations against infractions and conduct other anti-corruption activities.
“Whilst, the task team is fully committed and enjoys some level of support from the NSC, the enormity of the responsibility far outweigh the existing work resources. The task team is short in areas of logistical materials and workforce at the moment” he said
According to him, the Task Team is exposed to the machinations of those who feel that their benefits from the rot in the industry are being threatened or uprooted.
“They strive to maintain the status quo and, on many occasions, have resulted in media smearing of the task team’s integrity and physical attacks on its personnel as earlier mentioned” he said