The Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) has a lot to do if the will is there. Unfortunately, it appears the will to really assist the agents is not there. All they need to do is to understand the company’s profile. There are some companies that have 50, 30 staff strength and you can compare it with just an enterprise with 5 or 7 staff strength. So if you now restrict the issuance of port permit to 5 and a maximum addition of 2 and a company has staff strength of about 25, it won’t work. All they need to do is to understand a company’s profile and issue adequate permit to the necessary operational staff that interface with the various port on daily basis. Once that is done and port pass is being issued that will give the agents a kind of reprieve that will stop the police from taking undue advantage of them.
What they should do in earnest is to make thorough identification before allowing access into the port. There are a lot of us that are licensed agents and we have our staff and the clearing work is teamwork. No man does clearing alone. Once someone has identified himself, they should give him access to the port. Having concessioned the port, it is no longer their business to checkmate people moving into the port provided they have legitimate business to do in the port. They should profile the agents. If somebody can identify himself and prove the legitimacy of his movement in the port, he should be allowed to go in. What the police are doing is hanky panky. As a matter of fact, some of the companies are large and all cannot operate on equal pedestrian.
NPA has a big task ahead because it is handling about four or five terminals inside the (Apapa) port unlike Tin Can Island port. It is just to checkmate the number of people going through the port. Of course, it is not everybody coming to the port that have genuine business to do but psychologically as a security officer, when you look at somebody, you will know whom the person is whether he has any genuine transactions to carry out or not.
They (NPA) are the landlords and they have privatised the port. There are operational areas that they know that people must access the port. Customs and other agencies are in. NPA should bring everything that has to do with documentation and logistics outside the port gate except for the trucks that go into the port. They should also streamline the entrance but they cannot achieve it if what we are looking for is inside the port.
Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to www.shipsandports.com.ng as the source.