A Port Harcourt based seafarer, Onmonya Udeh, has appealed to the Federal Government to equip the Nigerian Navy and the Marine Police to tackle piracy in the nation’s waterways.
Udeh lamented that pirates were armed with more sophisticated weapons than the Navy and the Marine police, thereby posing serious threats to the lives of mariners and passengers.
Udeh spoke to The Tide yesterday in Port Harcourt during a telephone interview on issues bothering maritime industry.
The mariner said over 121 crew members were kidnapped in 2019 across the Gulf of Guinea by suspected sea pirates.
He called on the Navy and Marine Police to ensure regular patrol of the creeks, channels and all the waterways in the region to protect lives and property.
The seafarer appealed to the government to equip Navy with adequate gunpower to confront the sea robbers that are posing threats to the creeks and waterways in the region.
He said marine companies were scared to operate in the region due to the negative attitude of the criminals who terrorized the waterways.
Udeh said the attack and abduction of vessel owners and marine companies had created unemployment and even forced companies to relocate to a safer environments such as Lagos and neighbouring countries.
The mariner admonished the youth to shun acts inimical to the socio-economic growth of the region, but embrace positive life style that would encourage industrialization.
Customs Cautions Officers On Improper Dressing, Unkempt Beards
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has threatened to sanction its officials for improper dressing and unkempt beards. Other minor violations include use of name tags.
This was contained in a memo issued by the Deputy Comptroller General, Human Resources Development of NCS, A.T. Babani.
The memo number HRD/2021/026 titled: “Introduction of Customs Police Caution Slip in the Service” was dated 10th September, 2021.
The memo stated that the caution slip would be issued in triplicate for minor offences such as improper dressing, use of unapproved name tags, and failure to shave among others.
The service said it has introduced the use of Customs Police Caution Slip (CPCS) as a law enforcement tool in the service.
The memo reads, “I am directed to bring to your notice that the Comptroller General of Customs has approved the usage of Customs Police Caution Slip (CPCS) as a law enforcement tool in the service.
“The slip which will be administered by the Customs Police Unit of various Zones/Area Commands would be in triplicate and once issued, a copy shall be forwarded and inserted into the officer’s establishment file.
“The issuance of the Customs Police Caution Slip (CPCS) will include offences such as improper dressing, multi-colour waist belt other than approved one and usage of unapproved name tag, failure to shave, and other sundry minor violations of the second regulation 13 of the Customs and Excise Management Act CAP LFN of 2004 as amended.
“The caution slips would serve as a proactive tool to ensure compliance to rules and regulations.
“First-time offenders, repeated offenders and consistent pattern of offence identified, shall be documented and used for strategic decisions making”.
Stakeholder Tasks RSG, MWUN On Piracy
The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Rivers State Branch, says the union and the state government need a strong synergy to tackle the act of sea piracy and all forms of criminal activities in the state’s waterways.
Chairman, MWUN, Rivers state Branch, Comrade Jonah Jumbo, in an interview with The Tide, noted that unlike in Lagos State, there was no synergy between the Rivers State Government and MWUN to curb piracy on the waterways.
“We need to work together to checkmate all forms of criminality, sea piracy and attacks on passenger boats in our waters”, Jumbo said.
Comrade Jumbo insisted that the state government and the union were working in parallel lines, hence the high rate of piracy on the waterways.
Jumbo said, lack of synergy between the state and the union was having negative turns in its operations, thereby not improving marine transport business in the state.
The chairman said the union alone cannot solve the problem of insecurity in the waterways, hence the need for collaborations between the state government and other relevant authorities.
He further noted that Lagos State was doing well in marine transportation because there was a strong synergy between the state government and the union.
“Lagos state maritime business is improving every day with more fleets because the government, stakeholders and the union are working towards ensuring success”, he said.
By: Chinedu Wosu
Inadequate Facilities At MAN Worry Mariners
The Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM) has lamented lack of simulators for training of cadets at the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) in Oron, Akwa Ibom State.
The body also decried lack of ocean-going vessels to enable the cadets of the academy acquire the mandatory sea time experience.
NAMM President, Capt. Tajudeen Alao disclosed this during an interview with newsmen, recently.
“Training at the Academy had always been as per the International Maritime Organisations (IMO) model courses”, he said.
Capt. Alao said the shortcomings have always been in the areas of lecturers, simulators and international trading ships for practical exposure.
Other challenges include lack of funding, bureaucracy and the Nigerian factor.
“Leadership of the academy too has not been based on professionalism but political consideration. The shipping companies who are end-users have not committed their services to the academy.
“The number of students per class is much more than what is obtainable in the western world.
“There are no core ship-related courses, not many courses, facilities and disciplines,” Alao said.
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