Port Harcourt — The Commissioner of Police, Eastern Ports Police Command, Tami Evelyn Peterside, has read the riot act to wharf rats and sea pirates, warning that the command will not tolerate any form of crime and criminality within the four seaports under her jurisdiction.
She issued the warning while speaking when members of the Energy Maritime Reporters of Nigeria, EMR, paid her a courtesy visit.
Peterside, who spoke on the issue of vandalism of iron beams, said this was peculiar to Port Harcourt port, but stated that the activities of the port vandals have been brought under control. She disclosed that arrested suspects were already undergoing trial in court.
The Commissioner of Police said there has been no recorded case of sea piracy since she was deployed to the Command, assuring that deployment of more gunboats for patrol was underway.
She said: “The port is established to enhance business activities and bring revenue to the government. I am not interested in anything other than to fight crime. My job here is to police everything. It’s pure economic sabotage to vandalise iron beams at the port’s apron.
“It’s the port apron that imported goods are received and exported goods are loaded into the vessel. If the vandalism continues, there will be no port again because the berths will collapse.
“This issue is peculiar to Rivers port, because it is not happening in Onne, Warri and Calabar port.”
She disclosed that the Command has been able to curb cases of incessant protests and blockade of company’s gates within the ports, through regular engagements with members of the host communities.
She also stated that during the #Endsars protest, the military was deployed to secure the eastern ports, following the attack on Lagos port during the protest.
“We used the military to protect the Eastern ports during #Endsars protest; because this is the era of social media and people like to copy things. Remember NPA Lagos was attacked, so we quickly sought permission to use the military to protect the four eastern ports.”
Earlier, the Chairman of Energy Maritime Reporters of Nigeria, Mr. Martins Giadom, commended the Police Commissioner for her huge achievements in enhancing peace and security in the eastern ports, since her deployment to the zone.
Giadom, on behalf of the group, appealed for regular interaction and partnership with the Eastern Port Police Command to enable the media beam their searchlight on any issue that may stand as a challenge to the smooth operations of the eastern ports.
“We are aware of some of the security challenges that face your Command, including the issue of wharf rats that have grown to giant rats that dig out beams and pillars underneath Berth eight and cause huge setbacks to the government.
“One of the ways we can work together is through seminars on port security and safety in Eastern Ports which you can convince the NPA in the zone to embark upon.
“We also suggest Corporate Social Responsibility programmes in the host community and workshops involving community leaders to educate them on why they must protect ports assets in their area.The involvement of EMR members would make it a huge success,” he said.