By Godwin Oritse
LAGOS — THERE was panic in the Nigerian maritime industry, yesterday, following a threat by the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta, MEND , to attack tank farms and other port facilities in the Lagos ports area.
The State Security Service, SSS, alerted other port security agencies and held an emergency meeting to wade off the impending attack on the downstream sector of the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
Already, the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, have deployed patrol boats to monitor the waterfronts while more security measures are being put in place to checkmate the activities of these miscreants.
Speaking at the meeting, Managing Director of the NPA, Alhaji Omar Suleiman, called on security operatives to be on the alert and raise alarm on any suspicious movement of persons.
Omar who was represented by the General Manager in charge of the Western Zone of the NPA, Alhaji Mohammed Bulango, warned terminal operators and tank farm owners to minimize the human and vehicular movement in and out of their facilities.
Some of the security decisions reached at the meeting included the removal of ship wrecks from the waterways as these wrecks could be used as hideouts for criminals.
It was also agreed that people entering the port should properly be screened before they are allowed into the ports while all incinerators and abandoned vehicles in and around the port areas be removed immediately as bombs could be planted there.
The meeting also decided to commence off_shore patrol on a regular basis to checkmate illegal movements and directed all facility operators to install surveillance equipment.
Also speaking at the meeting, Director of the SSS, Mr Kiri Kalio, said there was need for more security awareness for security operatives in the port.