Nigerian Maritime calls for security policy in ports

David Adekunle, Lagos

The dwindling fortunes of the fishing sub-sector of the Nigerian Maritime sector has been attributed to inconsistent security of policy by the government of Nigeria.

Nigerian Trawler Owners Association (NITOA) revealed this to the members of the Maritime Correspondents’ Organisation of Nigeria (MARCON) during a courtesy visit of the association to NITOA in Lagos on Thursday.

The president of NITOA, Mr. Akinsola Amire said that on February 6 last year, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) had a meeting with members of NITOA bemoaning why the once vibrant fishing sector which used to be the fourth largest non-oil foreign exchange in Nigeria could have gone awry.

He stated that on the 7th of the same month which was the next day, the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) served NITOA members eviction notice.

This is one step forward and twenty steps backward, if one is not sure if he will be where he is today he won’t be able to plan for the next day,” he said.

He also explained that Export Expansion Grant (EEG) that the government used to give to the subsector would have been best at this time when the fishing industry needs government intervention.

The NITOA president went further to say that the Kirikiri Lighter Terminal (KLT) phases one and two which was approved by the Obasanjo administration for fishing terminal has not been used for its purpose eleven years after the approval.

He said instead of using the terminal for the purpose for which it was approved, in 2010, the Federal Ministry of Transport wrote to the Managing Director of NPA conveying that KLT was being given to Ministry of Agriculture as lease for thirty years in the first instance.

Speaking further, he said in January 2011, the MD of NPA wrote to the Permanent Secretary in furtherance of the directive that action was going on.

He however regretted that the same place that was written to the Ministry of Agriculture to be used as fishing is what NPA is concessioning out without reference to the Ministry of Agriculture to whom the terminal was leased