By Ebuka Oko
IN a bid to promote security and smooth operations in the ports, the National Association of the Government Approved Freight Forwarders, NAGAFF, has urged the Nigerian Police Force, NPF, Western Port Command, Lagos, to introduce an electronic profiling of all the agencies flooding the ports in order to avert dangers of criminal activities carried out by unknown people.
Speaking during the courtesy visit of the new Commissioner of Police, CP, Western Port Command, Cyril Okoro, to NAGAFF headquarters recently, the founder and former President of the Association, Chief Boniface Aniebonam, said that the e-profile registration of all the people that have access to the port will curb the influx of what he described as ‘wharf rats’.
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He stated: “When we discuss security in the ports, we talk about human being and infrastructures. If you want to maintain the security of the port, it comes to the purview of the Police. The onus lies on you to provide security.
“Since we have many agencies that operate in the port, what happens if all these people are profiled to enable you to operate smoothly because we are now in e-regime and you should be able to know who enters the port, and that can be done through electronic profiling.
“It is all about collaboration because security is for all of us. NAGAFF can now give you the name of their registered members and you enter it into your system, the same thing with other agencies so that anybody who has any business to carry out in the port is already known and profiled by the police”
He also called on the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, to work together with the Police on the e-registration system in order to maintain orderliness in port operations.
Aniebonam who noted that poor funding has been one of the key challenges facing the Police in rendering their services optimally assured them of the Associations’ support in achieving the aim of the already established Police Trust Fund, PTF.
In his remark, Okoro assured the members of NAGAFF and other stakeholders in the industry of maximum security, saying the Police will improve on access control to the ports.
He stated: “As a new Commissioner, I and my entire team will go round and meet with entire stakeholders in line with the agenda of the Inspector General of Police, IGP, on community policing.
‘‘We have come on a courtesy call to NAGAFF who is one of the major stakeholders in the maritime industry; We will relate with them and make sure to handle all their complaints.
“We will improve on the access control to the ports and make sure only people who have business in the port will get access and by that way, the issue of ‘wharf rats’ will be eliminated”.
He further urged the Association to be steadfast in paying whatever they are directed to pay by the Federal Government in respect of the Police Trust Fund scheme to help the Police work for their own security benefits.
“Police Trust Fund is a noble idea passed by the National assembly with Presidential assent, I urge NAGAFF to be steadfast in paying whatever percentage they are given”, he concluded.