The National President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Hon. Tony Iju Nwabunike, has advised governments at all levels to engage youths in coastal communities to support security operatives in the fight against sea robbery and other crimes along the inland waterways.
Nwabunike made the call last Friday while presenting a paper at the 8th Nigeria Annual Transport Lecture organised by Transport Day Newspapers, in Lagos.
In the paper tagged “Blue Economy: Pathway For Nigeria’s Economic Diversification”, the ANLCA boss reiterated the need to engage youths in coastal communities in the fight against piracy and other crimes on the waterways.
According to him, “Government should, as a matter of policy, involve youths of coastal communities in a kind of Civilian Task Force to support the Navy and other security agencies in nipping our maritime insecurity in the bud”.
Nwabunike noted that the nation’s maritime domain was insecure due to inadequate security platforms like patrol boats, aircrafts and supporting technology gadgets, as well as lesser number of personnel to implement or enforce adherence to security on waterways.
According to him, maritime piracy, sea robbery, oil theft, kidnapping on waters have been copiously recorded in the domain that should naturally contribute to the nation’s economic well-being.
“I am almost tempted to say that our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is no longer exclusive to us because the people I choose to call maritime bandits are threatening our space.
“I am aware that the Federal Government through the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency is rising to the occasion with planned deployment of advanced security assets to energise our blue economy. I believe it will work if consciously sustained. This they tagged the ‘Deep Blue Project’.
“It is anticipated that this move will go a long way in fighting piracy and other maritime crimes in the Gulf of Guinea and our country’s entire territorial waters”, he said.
The ANLCA President pointed out that safety of vessels, cargoes and crews on the maritime space have direct impacts on the overall economy since the maritime sector is critical in the areas of trade, investment, employment and recreation.
He affirmed that the 853km Nigeria coastline runs through seven southern states of Lagos, Ondo, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross Rivers bordering the Atlantic Ocean, adding that these are aside other states that are linked by inland waters for copious socio-cultural and commercial activities.
While urging the government to look beyond oil and gas to sustain the economy, Nwabunike said that the Nigerian maritime industry, being the nation’s second highest revenue earner, has the potential of cushioning the temporary effects of inadequate oil revenue.
By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos
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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