The Chairman, Port Facility Security Officers (PFSO) Forum, Lagos Maritime Security Zone, Dr. Uche Ignatius, has called for improved joint patrol and constant raiding of the port environment to dislodge miscreants loitering around port facilities in an effort to step up security at the nation’s gateways.
The PFSO Forum chairman, who made the call on the heels of concerns over alleged return of wharf rats at the ports, stressed the need for profiling of all port users, noting that no facility should allow unauthorised person access into its premises without profiling.
He said, “Recall that before the concession programme, the wharf rat syndrome was highly pronounced but after the concession, the trend went down drastically and that was because of the delineation and the control of areas that were allocated to each of the port terminals with various gates and access control mechanisms.
“But with the reports of return of wharf rats vandalising vehicles, we have advocated and advised our members to beef up security especially at the access control points. There should be profiling of all port users. Every Dick, Tom and Harry cannot just walk into the port. What is their relationship with port operations? So there is a need for profiling of everyone that works in the port.
“We have always advocated for watertight compartment access control such that it will be difficult for even a fly to enter into a facility without properly screened or identified and knowing the mission of that person into the terminals. We have also advised our members to step up joint patrols in the terminals to ensure that all unwanted people are taken off the terminals. We can only advocate but implementation actually is beyond our control.
“A long time before now, the issue of implementation of automated access control has been in the front burner, but it has taken years to implement. It is at the ports gate that these wharf rats and miscreants have access to the terminal but if there is automated access control, you can only come in if you have business to do. In most ports all over the world, you hardly see anybody walking inside the port
“So, there is a need for raiding of the port environments constantly with the police and other security agencies in the port. There is a need for holistic raiding of all the nooks and crannies of the ports with a view to eliminating some of these wharf rats, especially the residential wharf rats,” he told SHIPS & PORTS.