The Port and Terminal Multi Services Limited (PTML) has introduced electronic port pass to check the influx of unauthorized persons.
Speaking with Ships & Ports in his office last Wednesday, General Manager of PTML, Mr. Babatunde Keshiro, said that the measure became necessary in order to step up the control of unauthorized on the facility.
He noted that the move was in line with provisions of the International Ships& Ports Facility Security (ISPS) Code.
“Part of the ISPS regulation is that only authorized people should be allowed access into the port taking into consideration the present security challenges locally and internationally. Recently some international visitors visited our ports and identified the porous and uncontrolled access and did warn that if there are no remedies, ships are going to be barred from carrying goods from Nigeria to places like the US so that warranted us to implement this control measure”, Keshiro stated.
According to Keshiro, prior to the introduction of the port pass; the company had introduced Authority Cards for authorized persons to transact business at the terminal but was unsuccessful due to what he described as fraudulent practices in the form of manipulation and duplication of the identity cards.
Also speaking on the new access control measure, Public Relations Officer, PTML Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Steve Okonmah, noted that access control into the terminal is not limited to agents but also to customs officers.
“As an officer, if you have a genuine thing to do at the examination bay you must have the port pass, but if you don’t have anything to do there you should be in your office” he said.
According to Okonmah, the decision to issue pass to port users was not unilaterally taken by the PTML management but was reached after consultation with the customs management and other stakeholders.
The Customs spokesman said that introduction of the port pass will also avert future recurrence of the type of protest carried out recently by agents operating at the terminal over alleged poor working condition. He claimed that many agents go into the terminal even when they have no genuine business to be there.
“The areas that they are restricting people from entering are very sensitive areas like the examination bay. If you are going there you must have something to do there. For example, if you want to examine a container, you will see seven to eight people from one agency going for that examination which is totally wrong.
“Most of the agents will just sit down at the shipping hall doing nothing; they want to receive air condition. Some of them will even sleep off while some of them, their priority is because the place is crowded they will go and pick peoples pocket otherwise, they have nothing doing there. But with the introduction of the port pass, to enter into the terminal, they must have a port pass otherwise they will not be granted access”, Okonmah said.