By Godfrey Bivbere
Immediate past Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, Hassan Bello, has called on the Federal Government to constitute a forensic audit commission for port operations with a view to identifying the shortcomings by every operator as well as recommend ways of improvement.
In an exclusive interview with Vanguard at the just concluded 16th Maritime Seminar for Judges held in Abuja, Bello said the commission should also ensure that each operator’s liability in case of failure to meet up with its responsibility should be spelt out.
He said when these are well spelt out, all stakeholders involved in port operations will know where to go, what to do, what services to expect and who to hold responsible when there are failures.
“Government should set up a high-powered commission to take a forensic audit of port operations, so that we can identify all the parties involved. This will enable us to know their responsibilities and then they can enforce them. There is a need for us to domesticate certain international conventions, like the liability of the terminal operators, so that everybody will know who the parties are, who the customers are, what are the obligations, and the rights of all the parties involved in port operations?
“Port operation is critical to the economy of this country. You can have a river port, you can have a beautiful deep seaport, but unless these operations are first of all technologically driven, modern, fast, and efficient; then what you have is not a port but a major relic.”