Security operatives in Nigeria’s maritime industry under the aegis of Port Facility Security Officers Forum of Nigeria PFSOFON, have called for synergy among the providers of security and allied services in country to enhance strict enforcement of the International Ships and Ports Facility Security ISPS Code.

The code, which is one of the security conventions of the International Maritime Organisation IMO, the global maritime regulatory organ of the United Nations, was formulated after the September 2001 bombing of the World Trade Centre in New York, the United States in which scores of people of different nationals across the globe lost their lives to forestall a repeat of such attack on shipping and port facilities.

The PFSOFON is a body of certified Port Facility Security Officers PFSO formed for the purposing of enhancing intelligence, empowering the PFSOs and interfacing with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, the Designated Authority DA, for the enforcement of the ISPS Code in Nigeria on critical maritime security issues.

Other functions include identifying security challenges and proffering solutions as well as encouraging innovations in the maritime industry as a whole.

Chairman of the forum, Mr. Subaru Anataku, who made the call in Lagos yesterday, spoke at the ongoing two-day national conference of the forum with the theme: ‘ISPS Code Implementation in Nigeria: A Catalyst for Ease of Doing Business in the Ports’.

According to him, the issuance of two Executive Orders on the ease of doing business at the ports by the Federal Government has given so much responsibility and emphasis on certain critical sections of the industry, especially port security.

He noted that this development is a wakeup call for all security operatives at the ports, saying that it was through the collective diligence of all parties that Nigeria moved up by 24 points in the global ranking of ease of doing business released penultimate week by the World Bank.

He however noted that there urgent need for synergy and closer collaboration among the security stakeholders in the port industry that would pave way for the sustenance and improving on the gains already attained in implementing the ISPS Code in the country.

The chairman also called for the establishment of a unified Command and Control Centres in the country, which would help in monitoring activities in the country’s maritime domain.

It was however gathered that there are different Command and Control Centres owned by the Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Ports Authority and NIMASA, which experts believe does not promote unity of purpose and information sharing.

Anataku insisted that the proliferation of command and control centres among the various agencies was not the best for the industry, arguing that there are more modern and better ways of addressing security issues through synergy and effective collaboration.

He said: “The establishment of this national body has afforded the port security operatives the opportunity of fostering better relationship and synergy with the DA as well as among the various PFSOs in various facilities across the country.

“These tremendous achievements have partly enabled the forum to organise seminars, drills and training with a view to assisting the PFSOs to conform to international best practice as obtained in other maritime domains across the world”.