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.
Sanitation Marshalls Warn Against Dumping Refuse In Gutters
The Coordinator of Rivers
State Sanitation Marshalls, Prince Sodin Akiaba has warned residents of Port Harcourt and it environs against dumping of refuse into drainages.
Speaking in an interview with The Tide in Port Harcourt, Prince Akiabo blamed uses of flooding in parts of Port Harcourt especially in the Mile III area of the indiscriminate dumping of refuse into the gutters.
He said that with the approach of the rainy season, there is need for caution on the part of the people against indiscriminate refuse disposal.
Prince Akiaba said that the situation could lead to massive flooding across the city thereby creating health problem for the people.
He said that there is need for neighbourhood vigilantees to check this situation.
“Every street in Port Harcourt should formed a vigilantee to monitor refuse disposal in their street.
“This is the only way to stop the indiscriminate dumping of refuse in the drains,” he said.
The coordinator said that the sanitation marshalls can help the government to check this trend, if approval is given to that effect by the government.
He used the occasion to commend the Rivers State Ministry of Environment and the Rivers State Environmental Sanitation Authority for the efforts in keeping the city clean, but noted that the two agencies need to work with stakeholders for effective result.
NOSDRA Seeks Oil Spill Response Base
The National Oil Spill De
tection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) has called on the military to establish an Oil Spill Response Base (OSRB) for quick intervention during oil spill emergencies.
Mr Peter Idabor, the Director General of the agency, made the call during a courtesy visit to Vice Admiral Usman Jibril, the Chief of Naval Staff, in Abuja.
Idabor said the base, if established, would serve as a veritable security for quick response and intervention by the agency during oil spill emergencies.
He recalled the Bonga oil spill incident and commended the Navy for providing a vessel to NOSDRA that ensured quick response.
According to him, crises usually occurred between affected communities and companies involved during oil spill emergencies.
He said partnership with the Navy had become critical due to its role in providing security to the maritime environment.
“It has become more critical for us to partner with the Nigerian Navy, especially when it has to do with issues relating to oil spill in this country.
“When there is a large oil spill, there is usually conflict between the community and the company involved.
“In most cases, it is sabotage and in such cases, we require the military to come in at certain point.’’
He said that most of the deaths in the Niger Delta had positive correlations with oil spillage.
He explained that people were at the risk of being affected by eating food that come from such polluted environment.
He also said the life span of most Nigerians was shortening due to the effect oil spill on the ecosystem.
“The attitudes of our oil explorers, especially when spills occur, it does not bother them that over a million of chemicals are spilled into the sea, which is very dangerous to health.
“The oil spill contaminate our aquatic resources and it affects the entire food chain as long as we survive on the food chain.’’
Responding, Jibril said the Navy was familiar with the operation of the agency, adding that it would support NOSDRA to stop oil spill in the country.
He said the force was also aware of the effects of oil spill to aquatic life and the environment.
The Navy Chief also commended the agency’s cooperation with the military, saying “you have reduced spillage and its attendant effects in the country within this few days.
“We are ready to contribute to stop oil spillage and we are ready to give to you information about spillage whenever they occur.
“Our new boats that we are importing from China have facilities to contain oil spillage.’’
He however, said the delay in the release of boats to the agency was to control their misuse and advised the agency’s management to henceforth, put in its administrative request at their time of need.
He gave an assurance that the Navy would reduce administrative bottlenecks to enable the agency to access the facility during emergencies.
Jibril, however, sought the support of NOSDRA in the provision of infrastructure to the force, saying, “we need to support one another to achieve our goals.
“We have the human capital base to do what we are trained to do; what we need more is the infrastructure and we call on other organisations to support us too.’’
N300m Debt Worries C’River Water Board
Mr James Buchan, the
General Manager (Operations) of Cross River State Water Board, said more than N300 million owed it by various consumers in the state posed a challenge to its operations.
Buchan said this in an interview with the newsmen in Calabar last week, saying that the board was worried about the debt.
He said the board spent an average of N25 million monthly on diesel and chemicals to sustain water supply, urging the consumers who owed to settle their bills.
The general manager said that the state government paid its water bills regularly, urging the consumer’s to emulate the government by paying their bills to avoid disconnection.
Buchan further advised the consumers to always make genuine complaints about the services of the board to guarantee uninterrupted clean water supply.
The manager also urged consumers to shun illegal connection and to report to the board, those, including its staff members, who engaged in fraudulent activities.
“We want to supply to the public well treated water, we want to provide 24 hours service to the people, but we can only do this with the help of the people,’’ he said.
Buchan promised that Geographic Information System had been put in place to streamline the operations of the board and improve services.
He said the board was also worried over the damage of its pipelines worth more than N300 million by road construction companies in the state.
Buchan said the board had, however, drawn the attention of the officials of the concerned construction companies to the development.
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