New PFSO Regime: Aspirations and Challenges

New PFSO Regime: Aspirations and ChallengesPort facility security lies within the framework of ISPS, and it is an essential and integral part of the process of developing or updating the port facility security plan.

The purpose of the port facility security assessment is following: Identification and evaluation of important assets and infrastructure it is important to protect; Identification of possible threats to the assets and infrastructure and the likelihood of their occurrence, in order to establish and prioritize security measures; Identification, selection and prioritization of countermeasures and procedural changes and their level of effectiveness in reducing vulnerability; and Identification of weaknesses, including human factors, in the infrastructure, policies and procedures.

Nigerian National Port Facility Security Officers Forum held its inaugural meeting recently where it came up with a new name “Port Facility Security Officers in Nigeria” and deliberated on several pertinent port security issues. MMS Plus was there to bring you these views.

The Chairman of PFSO Lagos Maritime Security Zone Mr. Anataku S. Subaru was optimistic the group would improve in several aspects as a result of the amalgamation as he described the inaugural meeting of the forum as a moment to learn, exchange ideas and savour.

According to him,” It is worthy to note that the idea of forming the national forum was conceptualized out of our desire to enhance security and safety in this era when our dear nation is struggling to overcome several security challenges. You will agree with me that no socio-econ0mic or socio-cultural activities can thrive in an environment infested with insecurity, therefore, the need for all of us to consolidate as an entity to contribute out little quota to enhance security”.

He disclosed that the NPFSOs forum was formed to bring together all the Port facility Security officers (PFSOs) in Nigeria with a view to identifying critical security lapses and challenges in the Nigeria’s maritime domain among others.

He led the forum through a transparent electioneering process as the group chose a new name to reflect its national status.

However, an ex-official member of the national body and chairman of Lagos maritime security zone, Dr. Zebullon Ikokide explained that the PFSO personnel were people who drive the implementation of the ISPS code.

“PFSO personnel are found in every facility that interfaces with the water especially when the Nigerian Ports Authority was terminalized. This meant that every terminal must have a Ports Facility Security Officer and that is what has happened. Nigeria created Zones, there is a Lagos maritime security zone just as there is also a Niger Delta maritime security zone and all these zones have security officers.

A security officer is a person designated by the Company for ensuring that a ship security assessment is carried out; that a ship security plan is developed, submitted for approval, and thereafter implemented and maintained and for liaison with port facility security officers and the ship security officer .

ISPS code was ratified in Nigeria because it is a creation of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Since the incident of 11th September 2001 in the United States of America, the government thought that it was necessary to put in place some sort of protection for the waters because what happened by air could also happen in the waters and that was why ISPS code was created.

For PFSO in Nigeria, we have also been having meetings in various regions such as the Western and Eastern ports. However we have all come together under one umbrella. We were encouraged to do this by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

We have challenges on human, implementation of the code and people need to be trained for it and because all these people must be trained that is why we are here.

However one of the participants at the meeting, Robinson Elerubo asserted that the ISPS Code was supposed to enhance the general security at the ports.

According to Elerubo, one of the challenges facing ports security officers (PSFO) is training.

“If you tell a PFSO to pay N20, 000 for training, he is going to ask you where he ought to get the money from because his salary is so little and you can blame them. Nevertheless, how would they grow in their profession when they don’t go for trainings?

“On the other hand, the facility owners are not doing much to grow their PFSO personnel. If you want quality jobs, you would need quality job, you would need qualified people who have acquired requisite experience and trainings. If you want quality officers but you can only get those who are not properly trained, then you would take up the onus of training them to give you quality jobs.

He also complained that a lot of things had changed since the implementation of the ISPS started, “companies and facilities have continued to struggle in order to meet up with their verification exercises to make sure that basic security at the ports is implemented”

Everyone who has a job to do at the ports is involved in the ports security. The Customs, Navy, NIMASA, NPA, Terminal operators and other private companies as well as associations.

The major objective of PSFO is to drive the ISPS code which is security at the ports via access control, functions of regulatory bodies, security assessments, etc.

PSFO is not about damage control but to be proactive and prevent such damages from happening. If a body or a group of persons are being posted from the National Security Adviser (NSA) for instance to the ports, I think it will be good for the NSA to send NPA a letter stating that a certain number of people would be at the ports for the given time.

This creates an ambience of transparency and accountability. It has nothing to do with superiority and hierarchy. Everyone should work together to guarantee safety of the ports. So, the NPA in that scenario would issue a pass to those individuals for the duration.

By Kenneth Jukpor


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