Three Policemen were arrested and detained in connection to sharp practices at the Lagos ports last week.
The Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of the Marine Command, Mr. Alkali Baba Usman revealed this when he paid a courtesy visit to the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) headquarters on Thursday, last week.
The Police AIG expressed concern over the unprofessional conduct of some Police officers at the ports even as he assured the freight forwarders that the Police do not intend to cause any injury to importers by creating demurrage.
“I’m not denying the excesses of Police but every trained officer knows that he has to do the right thing. Three police officers were arrested and they have been detained in connection with illegal activities at the ports, at the weekend” he said.
However, he harped on the need for armed personnel to board and escort vessels at berth and anchorage in a bid to curb incessant attacks on ships within the nation’s seaports.
With available patrol boats, the presence of security personnel will be felt in protecting vessels any time they are at berth until they finish discharging their consignments, he said.
He lamented the inability of the regular marine police to provide adequate security for ships at berths as a result of insufficient logistics.
Usman told the freight forwarders that the police would continue to stop containers on the road, insisting that issues such as; hacking, under-declaration, forgery of documents, among others, are under the purview of the marine police.
According to the Police boss, 146 cases are presently under investigation for offences that have to do with such infractions and non compliance with government policies.
The International Maritime Bureau, in its monthly report for May 2018, stated that out of a total of 45 attacks on ships globally, 22 took place within the Nigerian territorial waters.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government maintains that it is illegal and unconstitutional for private security guards to carry arms on board merchant vessels operating within the nation’s territorial waters.
In his welcome speech earlier, the NAGAFF President, Chief Increase Uche pointed out the challenge of overlapping functions among government agencies in the port created for her members.
NAGAFF President said the activities of police officers with regards to containers cleared and released from the port constitute an abuse of powers.
“Some challenges facing our operations as critical stakeholders at the ports include but not limited to; overlapping functions among government agencies, the incessant abuse of the general duty powers of the police by unauthorized police operatives within and outside the port,” Uche said.
According to NAGAFF president, Chief Increase Uche, the agencies abuse general duty powers by using unauthorized police operatives within and outside the ports. “Aside this, we have the issues of unchecked harassment and violation of the rights of our members by the various agencies of the government at ports.
Nevertheless, he commended the police boss for taking actions towards resolving the rampant issuance of letters to shipping companies, terminal operators and other government agencies to block containers from being released.