Undue influence of matters of religion in official conduct may be a major factor that determine if Nigeria’s implementation of the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code, according to SHIPS & PORTS DAILY findings.
The landlord of the nation’s port, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) is in the race of its life to meet 90-day deadline set by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) for Nigerian ports to comply fully with the requirements of the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code, or risk a ban on vessels destined for the US calling at Nigerian ports, or vessels coming from America calling in Nigeria, according to SHIPS & PORTS DAILY findings.
Officials of the USCG, it was learnt, are expected in Nigeria late August for a review audit of the security status of Nigerian ports, vis-à-vis strict compliance with the ISPS Code.
This is even as the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) renaming the Donated Authority (DA).
The outcome of this review would determine if the US Government would go ahead or not with the sanctions, noting that USCG’s earlier audit of the security status of Nigerian ports, notably the Tin-Can Island Port Complex (TCIPC), Apapa, Lagos, had delivered a damning verdict that, after almost 10 years the document came into force, Nigeria had beg floundering in the implementation of the ISPS Code.
Consequently, the NPA, according to sources, has upped the ante regarding the implementation of the ISPS Code at the ports, having resuscitated the execution of the ports electronic gates project that has dragged for years. The project’s pilot, at the Lagos Port Complex (LPC), Apapa it was learnt, is expected to be up and running soon, while other ports will the premier port in quick succession.
Similarly, it was gathered, the NPA is strengthening its resolve to restrict unauthorized persons from the ports by keeping places of worship and religious gatherings out of the ports.
Despite stiff resistance from certain port users, the NPA has stuck to its position, considering the nation’s dire security climate.
While the Ports Concession Programme consumed a number of worship places in the ports, the NPA has to contend with similar facilities springing up in the ports community, despite the structures against such structures.
Notably, at the Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) located at the Greenfield development Port and Terminal Multi-services Limited (PTML) certain personnel there of Christian and Muslim lives, respectively, have ignored the NPA’s position, and gone ahead to sponsor a church and a mosque there, with the attendant throng of adherents.
SHIPS & PORTS DAILY checks revealed that the church is a converted cargo container, while the mosque is a makeshift affair carved out of the Customs House car park.
It was learnt that the mosque was formerly sited as a makeshift structure in the grounds of the tank farm of MRS Oil, but had been scrapped to accommodate office space development.
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.