By Godwin Oritse
THERE are indications that Nigeria does not have accurate report on the number of port facilities that currently exit in the country.
The United States Coast Guard report on Nigeria’s compliance with the International Ship and Ports Facility Security (ISPS) Code noted that Nigeria as a contracting government to the convention does not know the total number of facilities where the code applies.
According to the report, Nigeria has not been able to set security levels for its port facilities due to the fact that it does not know the number of these facilities.
The report read in part “It is unclear as to whether the contracting government is aware of the total number of port facilities to which ISPS applies and that requires approved Port Facility Security Assessment and Plans (PFSA) and (PFSP).”
There are three security levels in the ISPS Code and Nigeria is currently operating only security level one in most of the facilities across the country.
Explaining these levels to Vanguard, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Hassan Bello, said that security one is the normal security measures that are put in place to guard against breaches.
Security level two according to Bello, is putting additional measures to wade off any likely breaches around such facilities while level three is a situation when you are aware of a security breach and a facility is expected to put measures in place that will either stop the breach or minimise the effect. Speaking to Vanguard on the implication of Nigeria’s lack of preparedness, Mr. Ona Ekhomu said that the country continues to play politics to the detriment of good governance.
Ekhomu explained that there was too much reliance on the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency to implement the ISPS Code adding that the agency is not serious about the issue.
He said that there has been an increase in the number of attacks on vessels in and around Nigeria’s territorial waters adding that because of how porous some of these facilities are terrorism can occur or be facilitated.
The security expert noted that ineffective patrolling, enforcement and prosecution seem to be a major problem working against the nation’s effort to implement to ISPS Code.
He said “You need to be able to monitor your facilities and operators of these facilities so that people can play by the rule.
“Nigeria has suddenly become oil theft capital of the world and this development has given the Americans something to worry about”.