Security experts at a virtual meeting organised by the Nigeria Diaspora Network (NDN), United Kingdom (UK) chapter, have said that a well coordinated community policing system would address the present security challenge in Nigeria. Some of the participants, who spoke at the meeting monitored by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, stressed that all hands must be on deck to check security problems. NAN reports that the title of the meeting was: “Security Challenges and Community Policing.” A security expert in Global Community Policing, Dr Aminu Audu, was optimistic that if adopted in line with international best practice, community policing would work in the country. Audu, who authored a publication titled: ”Police Corruption and Community Policing in Nigeria: A Sociological Case Study,” said the issue of insecurity was not a new thing in the country. “What we are seeing today is a product of series of activities that have transpired in the past. So it is a build up,” he said. He said though there is insecurity in Nigeria, the way forward is community policing. “According to Freeman in 1992, community policing is about policy and strategy to achieve more effective crime control, reduce fear of crime, improve quality of life, improve police services and police legitimacy through proactive reliance on community resources that seeks to change crime causing conditions,” he said. He stated further that community policing would ensure the need for greater accountability of police, greater public share in decision making and greater concern for civil rights and liberty. Audu said it was disheartening that when talking about community policing, “what comes to our minds is about forming vigilante group and arming them with weapons for them to begin to delve into prejudicial killings and manhandling of crime suspects. “No, that is not the way. Community policing is about the police, the community coming together to address issues, most especially crime causing conditions. “Now we are talking about insecurity, what happens to poverty? How has poverty being addressed? “Who are the people sponsoring those who carry guns? “For example, I read sometimes ago that about 400 people have been arrested on allegation that they are sponsoring Boko Haram, I don’t know what has happened to them?” The expert, who acknowledged the influence of foreign factor in the security challenge, said community policing would not be a success if the problem of poverty and other factors were not addressed. He also said over the years, community policing had not worked effectively in the country because there has been a wide communication gap between the community and the security providers. He urged people to desist from politicising the initiative. “Do we really practice community policing accurately? So the problem is that it has been a guess work affairs,” he said. Audu, however, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his support for community policing. “I really commend President Buhari for taking the step to implement community policing with a funding investment to the tune of about 26 million pounce. “But how many governors or local government chairmen have taken it upon themselves to implement these policies according to specification?” he asked. NAN reports that the National Economic Council (NEC) in a virtual meeting chaired by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo had, on Aug. 20, 2020, approved the sum of N13.3 billion for the take-off of community policing initiative across the country. “I am happy that the Federal Government is implementing based on empirical research. Now at the moment, they are undergoing process,” Audu said. A Preventive Terrorism Consultant, Mr Temitope Olodo, said all the stakeholders should be ready to take it seriously if community policing would work. He said the system was the easiest way of policing but corruption had been the bane. He said people had to own community policing to work. “Community policing is all about people telling the authority what the security needs are and channelling the effort and resources to those areas to tackle them,” he added. He also said to solve the problem, the country needed to look at the past and how we got to this present position. According to Olodo, in Nigeria, we are not policing by consent, we are policing by force. “If we police by consent, a lot of things that are happening in Nigeria will not be happening. I think that is where we have got it wrong,” he said. Olodo, who is the president, African Security Forum and a retired Metropolitan police officer in the UK, enjoined the Federal Government to introduce a system of Key Performance Indicator (KPI) to measure the performance of all security officers in the country. “We need practical changes that we can turn around and say, this is the change that we want. “I was a formal civil servant. If you ask me today, I have never seen the job description of IGP (inspector-general of police) and I am not making it personal. “I don’t know what kind of KPI he is being measured against but I can tell you that we know the KPI of commissioner of police for the Metropolitan Police, we know the one for New York, Australia, etc. “We know how police are being measured. I was once a constable and I have KPI. “When I was leaving the Metropolitan Police on secondment, I was measured on KPI. “They brought out my KPI and that was the basis upon which if I am entitled to other benefits, in terms of my salary going up. “But I don’t know what KPIs are for the Nigerian police. If there is no KPI, what do you measure them against?” he asked. Olodo explained that if there is no KPI, security officers’ performance indicators would not be proportionate to their work done. A Cyber Security Professional, Mr Deji Adebayo, who is one of the NDN coordinators in the UK, said the meeting was organise as part of the effort by Nigerians living abroad to see how the security challenge could be solved towards creating a better and secured society for the country. Other members of the NDN at the meeting include Dr Aminu Ahmadu, a lecturer and academic consultant within the UK universities; Mr Offor Okpanachi, an AML professional, among others. NAN reports that NDN is an association of Nigerian professionals, who have come together to see how Nigeria can be moved forward.(NAN)

NPA MD says Nigeria poised to become Africa’s maritime hub

Mohammed Bello-Koko

Mr Mohammed Bello-Koko, the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) NPA’s “Operation Green” a huge success – MD

NPA Mohammed Bello-Koko says organisation is poised to leverage Nigeria’s status to actualise country’s mariti me hub status.

By Chiazo Ogbolu

Acting Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Mohammed Bello-Koko says the organisation is poised to leverage Nigeria’s status as Africa’s biggest economy to actualise the country’s maritime hub status in the region.

In a statement issued on Sunday in Lagos by NPA General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, Mr Olaseni Alakija, Bello-Koko disclosed this in Abeokuta, Ogun,  at the first retreat for the reconstituted board of directors.

The theme of the retreat was “Expanding the Frontiers of Service Excellence.”

He noted that investments in modern deep seaports would attract very large merchant vessels with the attendant multiple socio-economic benefits, as well as boost port revenue performance.

The statement said Bello-Koko disclosed that a lot had been done, especially in the last few months, to resolve most of the identified constraints to the efficient movement of cargoes to and from ports.

Such efforts, he said, were in line with the new direction and measures being put in place to actualise NPA’s aspirations,

“Nigeria accounts for about 70 per cent of cargoes imported into West and Central Africa and the country controls an impressive stretch of the Atlantic Ocean.

“Nigeria’s rich aquatic endowments and her border with landlocked nations makes development of deep seaports a huge potential revenue earner for the nation.

“The move towards earning the status of hub in the region is in line with our new vision statement.

“This was adopted at the recent NPA Management retreat with the theme ‘To Be The Maritime Logistics Hub For Sustainable Port System In Africa,” he said.

The statement said the acting managing director described the board retreat as very timely, as it signposts a unity of purpose and shared vision.

According to him, the vision is one in which the executive management works closely with every section, unit, department, division and directorate and embraces an all-inclusive strategic outcome for the organisation with the requisite buy-in of the board.

“In appreciation of this, I will like to crave the understanding of the board with regards to the executive management’s limitations in actualising some of our goals and objectives, which I am sure distinguished board members must have noticed in the course of the tour of ports that preceded this retreat,” he added.

The NPA boss informed the board that recent interventions made by the authority had led to significant improvement in terms of ship and cargo dwell time at the ports.

He, however, explained that some of the benchmarks which were yet to be achieved were dependent on “externalities and variables” that required concerted inter-agency actions.

He said that NPA, despite dogged efforts, has yet to optimally achieve the said benchmarks due to systemic administrative constraints and red-tape.

He enumerated the constraints as conflicting directives from the agencies operating within the ports and reporting to different supervising ministries with jurisdictional overlaps and duplications of functions.

He informed the board that concerted efforts were being made to expand NPA’s revenue streams, in addition to revenue from traditional port operations.

According to him, unlike the practice in sister Francophone countries where government funds the dredging of ports, the NPA was responsible for funding its.

This, he said, has put a lot of strains on its resources and capacity to invest in critical port infrastructure.

“We are facing decaying port infrastructure, for example, sections of the quay aprons or walls at the Tin Can Island Port, Onne, Delta and Calabar Ports are collapsing and require huge funds to repair them.

“With the increasing pressure to remit more revenue to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of the federation, it has become very difficult to have sufficient funds to attend to these decaying facilities.

“There is then the need to explore alternative funding sources outside the traditional port service offerings,” he stated.

Bello-Koko explained that the authority was blessed with prime real estates which could serve as alternative funding sources outside the regular budget.

“NPA has a lot of high value landed properties in Onne, Snake Island, and Takwa Bay that are designated free trade zones.

“They are mostly allocated but burdened by poor arterial road network and other infrastructure to make them attractive for private investments which would bring good revenue to the authority and the Federal Government.

“Management will need the support of the board to drive the process of alternative revenue sources to actualise the lofty aspirations of the authority,” he said.

The Acting MD also disclosed that management had opened correspondence with some multilateral financial institutions such as the French Development Agency (AFD), African Development Bank (AfDB), European Investment Bank (EIB) and Sanlam Infraworks (a Central Bank of Nigeria approved fund manager for InfraCorp).

He explained that these were all part of plans to access long term low interest credits for port infrastructure upgrades and expansion.

“In making the Nigerian seaports more business friendly, we have been able to deploy technology to address the perennial traffic gridlock that has been frustrating the conduct of business around the Lagos ports corridor.

“A software application code named “eto” is gradually restoring sanity to trucking business despite the initial teething problems and resistance by vested interests hitherto profiting from the chaos.

“The authority has accredited 33 private truck terminals within the Lagos area, in addition to the Lily Pond Truck Transit Park and Tin Can Island Port Truck Transit Park, to ensure trucks do not park indiscriminately on the access roads.

“The trucks would only be allowed to transit to the port after obtaining electronic tickets via the “eto” call-up platform and the authority is collaborating with the Lagos State Government to ensure enforcement and compliance with the e-call up system, he said.

He added that other solutions being implemented was the push to link all seaports to the national rail network, as well as optimise the use of the inland waterways through the transfer of cargo or containers via barges.

Bello-Koko said that currently the authority was streamlining barge operations to ensure efficiency, safety and cost effective cargo delivery for increased port revenue.

He said that the Bonny Seaport project in Rivers, boosted by two major railway projects, would massively transform the economic landscape of the country, particularly the South-South and South-Eastern regions.

“Meanwhile, on the South-Western axis is the Lekki Deep Seaport which should be operational next year.

“The two port projects will usher a new vista of economic prosperity and further consolidate the country’s status as a gateway to the African economy,” he noted.

Earlier in his welcome address, Chairman of the Board, Mr Emmanuel Adesoye, described the retreat as an opportunity for the board and management to rethink their strategies, structures and systems for effective service delivery.

Adesoye said that it was also an opportunity for them to unwind, reconnect and strengthen their bonds as team players committed to upholding excellence.

The chairman called for clear and deliberate efforts by the NPA towards efficient operations, competitive and diversified export-driven economy.

He also called for a strong and incentive-based system aligned with win-win relationships to enhance profitability and productivity for the concessionaires, NPA and the Nigerian state.

Adesoye called for an increase in alternative revenue streams; and effective collaboration based on transparency and constant communication with all relevant stakeholders across the port value chain.

The three-day event, which was attended by all board members, attracted seasoned experts in port administration, strategic and creative thinking, stress management, among other relevant subjects.

Two former NPA Chief Executives, Chief Adebayo Sarumi and Mr Felix Ovbude, made presentations on their experiences and ideas as port administrators.

Former General Manager (Operations), Mr Joshua Asanga, gave a presentation on “Ways To Improve Port Operations Towards A World Class Port Administration”. (NAN)

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