Terrorism scare: NPA security, ports police close ranks to secure ports

Toju Vincent

08 April 2013, Sweetcrude, Lagos – Undoubtedly, a strong desire to adequately secure Nigerian ports – the famed “gateway to the nation’s economy” – in the face of prevailing dire security situation in Nigeria, inspired last Thursday’s parley between the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Security Department and the Ports Authority Police Command, PAPC, at in Apapa, Lagos.

The Executive Director, Marine and Operations, NPA, David Omonibeke, who presided over the meeting, said that the Authority appreciates the crucial roles of the PAPC, and will continue to cultivate, maintain and sustain a mutual working relationship with the command.

Noting that without security, lives and property are at great risk, Omonibeke assured the PAPC that the NPA will continuously support the command by providing necessary logistics to enhance its performance.

Omonibeke commended the new Commissioner of Police, PAPC, Mrs Sherifat Disu Olakoju, for swinging into action since assuming office, adding that a remarkable change has been noticed since then.

Speaking earlier in his opening remarks, the General Manager, Security, NPA, Col. Jamil Tahir (rtd), explained that NPA Management found it expeditious to convene the meeting to map out strategies to confront the present security challenges facing the country.

Tahir asserted that, while the nation’s seaports had not witnessed incidents of terrorists attack, owing, according to him, to the vigilance of security agencies, there is the need for synergy among security agencies in order to prevent any security breaches.

Also speaking, the Ports Police Commissioner said that she toured the Lagos ports shortly after her assumption of duty and discovered that a lot more needs to be done to improve security at these facilities.

She solicited the NPA’s additional support in the areas of marine training, provision of patrol vehicles, accommodation, communication gadgets, sniffer dogs etc.

Also at the meeting from the NPA were the General Manager, Western Ports, Ms. Adenike Sonaike; General Manager, Eastern Ports, Engr. Sunny Nwobi; Assistant General Manager, Security, Western Ports, Mr. Sam Asamage; and heads of security from the various ports.

Apart from the Commissioner, the PAPC team comprised the Deputy Commissioner of Police, two Assistant Commissioners of Police and all the Divisional Police Officers, DPOs, from the various ports.

Industry analysts noted that this effort at synergy between the NPA Security Department and the PAPC may yet put a lie to the assertion by the Consul-General of the United States, US, Embassy, Mr Jeffrey Hawkins, at the just-concluded Nigeria Maritime Expo, NIMAREX, 2013, that there is no effective collaboration mechanism for the various maritime actors in Nigeria on both a strategic and tactical level.

Hawkins, who harped on what was to him the poor state of security of Nigeria’s maritime domain, had lamented that “when players on the same team don’t talk with each other, nothing productive can be accomplished.”

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