Nobody is above the law

Mrs. Hilda Ibifuro-Harrison has been described as a beautiful, intelligent and highly disciplined police officer. She assumed duties as Commissioner, Western Ports Command of the Nigerian Police Force in September 2014. In this interview with Babalola Yusuf, she talks about her plans for a secured port environment and enforcement of discipline among her officers.

Excerpts:

 

Against the backdrop of insecurity in the country, how do you intend making the port safer?

We have all recognized that we need security in every aspect of our lives and in Nigeria not leaving out the Western Ports Police Command where I am the Commissioner of Police. Recently, I gathered together all the chief security officers of the companies that operate at the ports as well as the security officers of the facilities of the Western Ports Police Command.

We have been able to interact and we have been able to know that synergizing, sharing information and intelligence, working as a team is a must to ensure security at the Western Ports Command. They have also been able to raise issues that will allow us move policing forward in the Western Ports. We have been able to appreciate the essence of communication, up down and down up, we have been able to recognize the essence of communication about our environment all the time and we need to appreciate ourselves and come together working as a team.

Also, we should not forget that it is election year and the port has the economy of the country in its palms and as a professional, it is my constitutional responsibility to ensure that I should be able to get my men together.

Also, I have trained them on attitudinal change and good work ethics to ensure that all the values that will help us put security in place in the Western Ports is there for us to work and you will see the fruit of this meeting.

 

You have announced a ban on commercial motorcycles and restriction of movement around the ports. What else are you doing to enhance security?

Emphasis is still in place and I am emphasizing that motorcyclists popularly known as ‘okada’ riders and ‘keke NAPEP’ riders have no place at Western ports. They have been banned at the port and men of the command will ensure that anyone found within the port premises is flushed out and such erring offender is taken on as provided for in the law that banned ‘okada’ from plying the port.

For those who have no business at the port, we made it very clear that they are not supposed to be there and we will ensure that we work in synergy to ensure that they do not get there and create problems for people who have genuine business at the port environment.

 

There are reports of uniform men not subjecting themselves for checks when accessing the ports, what are you doing to address this issue?

Any uniform person who fails to obey the laws of the land must be dealt with so that others can be deterred. I urge the pubic to bring anyone they see to our notice and I can tell you that all security agencies have been meeting and we state it clearly that there is no place for officers who are not disciplined. So anyone who is not disciplined will be brought to book.

 

Most junior officers are believed to be culpable in breaching the law, what are you doing to address this?

We have engaged in series of training for them. Firstly, we need to change their attitude for them to be positive in interaction and performance of their duties in knowing the values and morals in making them work effectively and efficiently and that is what I have been doing for them.

 

Are you saying customs officers too should subject themselves to checks?

I know that no security agency is above the law and I have not seen anyone who is not subjecting himself to check, we are all subject to the law of the land and it must be obeyed.

 

What are you doing to address pilfering at the ports?

We are saying the law of the land punishes anyone who commits an offence, if the law says anyone be punished for pilfering, the person will be arrested and punished for pilfering.

 

Extortion has been a major problem in the police, what are you doing to address this in your command?

Extortion is a crime and anyone who commits such offences or anything similar to that will be punished. We do not have place for anyone that is caught in the act of corruption.

 

Is arrest of containers part of the job of police officers at the western ports?

That has not comes to my notice and when they come, it will be dealt with accordingly.

 

Recently, you talked about the need to have containers properly latched on trucks, who do you think should be responsible for this?

I think it should be the responsibility of all of us especially those working in the terminal to ensure that they are properly latched.

When I see unstrapped container laden trucks, I clear my vehicle to allow the vehicle to go very far. What is responsible for drivers to leave the port gate without their container properly latched?

Many of us have travelled outside this country and we can attest to the fact that containers are properly latched and properly secured on trucks but why is our case different? This not a job for policemen involved in traffic duty alone but when the containers are leaving the terminal gate. They should all go back to put measures in place to ensure that safety which is our watchword in our office space is also a watchword for people who have business with us.

 

What is the relationship between you and your predecessor who is the present CP of Lagos State?

The relationship has been cordial and he has helped address so many problems we complained [about].



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