By Kenneth Jukpor
In commemoration of the United Nations 2019 Anti-corruption Day which held on Monday, December 9th, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), among others, held a sensitization walk in Lagos.
The road walk tagged “Zero Tolerance for Corruption in the Maritime and Transport Sector” saw hundreds of workers from the respective organizations march from the EFCC Zonal Office in Ikoyi, Lagos, down to Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), Marina and back to Ikoyi.
Youth corpers under the Nigerian Youth Service Corps (NYSC) also took part in the exercise, with the Censors Board, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), National Union of Road Transport Workers, among others.
Speaking with newsmen shortly after the walk, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) Mr. Hassan Bello assured that the Council would continuously be in the forefront in the fight against corrupt practices at the ports.
Bello, who was represented by the Director, Legal Services at NSC, Mr. Samuel Abu Vongtau said; “Today is a very important day for us all, and we hope that this walk has reached out to a larger number of people in the country, as we know that corruption is a major problem that we face.
“NSC, as one of the agencies that ensures that things are done in the right way, has made its processes automated to ensure transparency,” he said.
He added that Nigeria Shippers’ Council had been in the vanguard of anti-corruption and had since 2001 established a monitoring committee which performed similar function.
Also speaking at the event, the Managing Director of NPA, Ms. Hadiza Bala-Usman stated that the nation’s maritime industry has seen corruption fighting back, even as she stressed that NPA would not be intimidated by anyone.
“We believe that everybody has to participate in the fight against corruption, it is a joint effort, we look forward to strengthening collaboration across agencies of government and the private sector that operates in the maritime industry, the agencies are striving very hard”
“We need to work together and strengthen collaboration, as a representative of the maritime industry, we believe that there is need for us to entrench transparency and accountability across the board in all our operations. In so doing, our synergy with EFCC is important, we have laid our operations open to them, we believe that there is a need to entrench across board in all our operations what is required to strengthen integrity and accountability” the NPA boss said.
Speaking on the contract scandal between NPA and Ocean Marine Solutions Limited (OMSL) she said; “We believe that we need to make our ports competitive, we need to reduce the cost of doing business in our ports, and in so doing we stand firm that vessels coming into Nigeria should not be paying private companies for any form of security, Nigerian Navy and indeed NIMASA will provide the security required as regards their statutory positions”
“Corruption practices are unacceptable and it brings down the state of the economy, so please as you stand today in your capacity, you must continue to stand for integrity. I will continue to play my role as the managing director of NPA, and also in my role as the member of the Presidential Committee Against Corruption” she said
Meanwhile, the Zonal Head, EFCC, Mr. Mohammed Rabo, Zonal charged everyone to come together to fight corruption, describing the task as a collective responsibility, adding that we are all an ambassador and a crusader to make Nigeria great again.
“We have been charged to unite against corruption. The message of this year is well teamed and timed, we must all have zero tolerance for corruption. Everyone must have an attitudinal change and shun the acquisition of illicit wealth, and embrace values that can promote accountability and transparency at all level”
“Our continued lamentation of how corruption has wrecked havoc on the nation would not bring the desired growth and progress, we would only effectively rewrite our story if we organise ourselves to check the menace” he added.
On his part, the Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside represented by Director of Internal Audit, Victor Nwazurike, also disclosed that the agency has zero-tolerance for corruption.
“In the agency, we have an anti-corruption and transparency unit which is very active to make a report of any act of corruption”
“The Servicom unit is also there they make sure things are properly done and done timely, and if things are done timely corruption will be reduced to the barest minimum, so we are in support and have been partnering with EFCC in all things they have been doing and we have gladly joined them even in this sensitization rally”.