NPA: Enabling port security through access control, waterfront patrol

Hawking, touting, and pilfering are social factors that affect the security of goods and properties within the port environment.

This made Acting President Yemi Osinbajo issue an Executive Order in 2017 that empowered the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to commence the implementation of new security protocols in all the seaports. The order banned touts, hawkers, and area boys from hanging around the port.

Despite the implementation of the Executive Order, people who have no business at the port still hang around the port environment, causing nuisance and security threats to genuine port users.

In line with plans to reduce the rate of pilfering and sanitise the port premises, the NPA recently started the concrete fencing of Tin-Can Island Port in line with the provisions of the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code.

The successful fencing of the port, according to the NPA, will enable the implementation of access control that will help to deny entrance to people that have no business at the port.

Mohammed Bello-Koko, the managing director of the NPA, said during the inspection of the perimeter fencing projects at Tin-Can Port, that controlling access into the port will keep individuals who have no business in the ports from coming in and will help to enforce the usage of automated access control gates.

The NPA boss said the fencing has helped to ensure that fewer people are in the port, and he assured that NPA would keep enforcing and restricting entry into the port to only those that have business in the harbour.

Read also: Workers to shut down ports over unresolved issues with govt, IOCs

Bello-Koko said the essence is to secure the port, not just for safety but to also restrict entrance because there are individuals that just wake up in the morning and want to come into the port without any business to transact.

He said it would also reduce the number of thugs, miscreants, and pilfering in the port, thereby creating an enabling business environment within the port.

Aside from touting, sea robbers particularly people from local communities also come from the waterfront to attack vessels on the berth, posing a serious security threat to port business.

To deal with that, the NPA has also increased patrol on the waterway using the recently acquired security patrol boats and also working with the Nigerian Navy within the ports in Lagos to increase patrol.

“We are working with the NNS Beecroft but there are parts of the port along the waterway that NPA felt should also be fenced. But, if we cannot fence the waterfront, we continue to patrol it and restrict access into the port from the waterside using patrol boats and surveillance. Our security men are up to the task, and we will keep giving them all the tools that they need to improve their communication.

“If we can’t fence the waterfront; what we should do is to patrol it, restrict access into the port from the waterside using the patrol boats and surveillance. We will keep improving it and we will buy more patrol boats to ensure the waterfront is also secured,” he said.

He added that the NPA is also engaging with the coastal communities and working with the Lagos State Government to remove all shanties along the port corridors.