20 March 2017, Sweetcrude, Lagos — IN SPITE of the absence of a defined national maritime security policy to govern overall maritime security activities, the nation’s maritime assets currently stand at about N90 trillion about $200billion.
Disclosing this at the monthly meeting of the Port Facility Security Officer,(PFSO) Forum of the Lagos Maritime security zone, secretary of the group, Mr. Ignatius Uche disclosed that more than N900 billion about ($2billion) was generated from the 3 percent freight levy.
Uche disclosed that assets include investment in ports development, ships, and on/off oil terminals and other assets.
Uche said that $15billion of the nation’s $510billion Gross Domestic Product, (GDP) with some estimates as high as $90billion, excluding value of trade resulting from foreign vessels conducting business on the nation’s waters.
The PFSO scribe said that with about 165 port facilities across the country under the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, (NIMASA) adding that the need for a national maritime security policy cannot be overemphasized.
Uche’s presentation titled “Establishing the relevance of the International Ship and [Port Facility Security (ISPS), Code within a sound national security framework” noted that there was a convergence between the ISPS Code implementation, maritime security, and national security.
He was of the opinion that the ports being the gateway into the country need to be secured and safe from any external and internal security infraction.
He said “ISPS Code implementation is a critical component of any maritime nation’s maritime security arrangement and must, therefore, connect with the overall maritime security architecture.
“Currently, the nation’s has no defined national maritime security strategy nor is there an articulated policy to govern the overall maritime activities.
“This has led to gaps and inefficient maritime security and policing effort.
“Most maritime nations have adopted a layered approach in instituting their maritime security architecture.
“This clearly delineates responsibilities and ensures levels of failsafe/safety nets that help achieve defence in-depth”
He lamented the lack of capacity and professionalism for some Port Security Facility Officers as well as management neglect of security matters as some of the challenges facing the group.
The PFSO Forum top officer also said that Nigeria cannot afford not to place the desired priority on security of its maritime environment given the vast living and non-living resources available within it.
He further disclosed that from economic standpoint, about 70 percent of Nigeria’s resources including oil are within its maritime environment.
He suggested that developing and adopting a national maritime security policy and strategy as a to ensuring a secured port industry.
He explained that the Port Facility Security Officer (PFSO) is the focal person in the implementation of the ISPS Code adding that the PFSO is charged with the management of the facility’s security resources.