By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) and the Convention on Business Integrity (CBI) has said that the only way to sustain the gains recorded by the Port Standing Task Team (PSTT) at Nigerian ports is through constant sensitization of government officials and port operators for them to imbibe the culture of compliance to Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in port operations.
The PSTT is headed by Comrade Moses Fadipe, and domiciled under the Nigerian Shippers Council.
Speaking at a two-day training program tagged: Capacity Building on Compliance Function and Leadership for Port Officials, organised by CBi in conjunction with MACN, Technical Unit on Governance and Anti-Corruption Reform (TUGAR) in Lagos, Chief Executive Officer of CBI, Mr. Soji Apampa Lauded the achievements of PSTT, saying that corrupt practices at Nigerian ports has now reduced to 55 cases in2022, compared to 266 cases recorded in 2019.
According to him, the cases fell to 128 cases in 2020, 84 cases in 2021 and 55 cases in 2022.
The training program attracted officials of the Nigeria Customs Service, Port Health, ICPC, NDLEA, Nigeria Shippers’ Council, Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), truck owners, freight forwarders, private operators, among others.
Speaking on the training, Mr Apampa noted that it was aimed at training the trainers in order to help change the perception of people towards leadership in their various work places.
According to him, the importance of the training is to spread the compliance gospel among the port users and government officials to reduce the cases of corrupt demands in vessel clearance.
“We know that the work of PSTT is gaining ground and we also know that the PSTT and the extended PSTT cannot be everywhere because some places where they have to enforce SOPs and following the Nigerian Port Process Manual, can be 200 nautical miles offshore so except they replicate themselves, and except everybody imbibes the culture of compliance, you will not be able to sustain it.
“So, what we had in mind was to inspire the officers who are involved to also inspire their own men to be more compliant. Many people feel because they are not the leaders they cannot be leaders but we are trying to show that you can lead your bosses, your peers and your subordinates. So, this programme is to expose them to those possibilities so that compliance can be stronger.
“My assessment is that people have been inspired, people have seen possibilities, they have been challenged and many people will go back and instead of saying why are they doing this to me, they will say what can I do and how can I do it to make sure this no longer happens,” he explained.
He added that once they give themselves action points and start doing them, leadership has come to their levels.
“I think many people will go home with that start of leadership and that will be a good plus for the two days. The whole world is looking at you and the whole world is impressed with what you are doing in Nigeria. The world is saying how has Nigeria achieved this, we are impressed, we too need to go and tidy up our own house. That’s how the world is reacting,” he said.