The Chairman of the Ports
Consultative Council (PCC), Chief Kunle Folarin, last Monday warned hawkers and idle persons to cease from loitering around the ports in their own interest.
He told newsmen in Lagos that it was often an ugly sight to see people loitering and hawking around the ports.
Folarin described the port as a restricted area where only people who had business to transact should go to, but noted that all manner of people found their way there.
“The port is an economic environment and is a restricted zone.
“You do not come to the port unless you have a service to deliver or your service is requested or is demanded.
“Most of the people who are squatting around the port are doing so of their own will.
“And it is the responsibility of the port security and to an extent also, of the Nigeria Police, to arrest this issue.
“That is why the Nigerian Port has a Police Command at the level of a Commissioner of Police.”
Folarin said that it would be for the good of the industry to ensure that people “do not just go and lay about the port environment doing nothing and constituting a nuisance’’.
The chairman, however, said that the police often raided the port in order to arrest people loitering around and observed that such people regrouped as soon as the police left.
Folarin urged the ports security and the police to re-strategise on how to sustain their efforts in ridding the ports of bad elements.
“When the security is your brief, you use your best training, your best method to deal with the situation.
“The Inspector-General of Police cannot come and say, ‘Commissioner of Police go and make sure that the port is secure’. No, it is his work.
“They (police) do what is called raiding. They raid the port for any undesirable and in fact if they manage to sneak into the port, they raid them and throw them out. They call them ‘wharf rats.’
“They do raid them occasionally, but it has to be constantly done because these set of people will always return to any area where they find it easy to do whatever they want to do without being challenged.
“ I can tell you as the Chairman of the Nigerian Ports Consultative Council, I am aware of the quarterly report we get, how many people are prosecuted and how many people are arrested.
“Even hawkers are not allowed to do their businesses there,’’ he said.
2006, when the ports were concessioned, stakeholders and port users had expressed concern about the high human traffic.
In Dec. 2013, the Port Manager, Lagos Port Complex, Apapa, Mr Nasir Mohammed, in an interview with NAN criticised the practice.
He said the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) had continued to sensitise people to stay away from the port environment if they had no business there.
The Chairman of the Ports