From left: Founder, NAGAFF, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam and Commissioner of Police, Ports Command, Cyril Okoro shortly after the visit in Apapa, Lagos, Thursday.

The newly appointed Commissioner of Police for the Ports Command, Cyril Okoro has said that he would adopt the community policing strategy as part of efforts of the Force to curb criminalities around the port industry.

The CP, who stated this when he visited the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders NAGAFF at it Apapa GRA national headquarters office, also disclosed that the decision to visit the association was informed by the community policing policy of the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu.

According to him, the command under his watch would do everything possible to synergise with the relevant stakeholders in the industry in line with the policy of community policing of the IGP in order to keep incidences of crimes and related offences around the nation’s port industry to its barest minimum.

On the increasing cases of broaching of containers and other imported items within the port terminals, the CP promised that the command under his watch would enforce strict access control into the nation’s seaports to check the activities of container broachers also called ‘wharf rats’.

“You know I just came, so I will take out time to look at all the issues that tend hinder security of lives and property around the port environment. With the support and collaboration of the stakeholders, we will address all the nagging security issues”, the Commissioner also pledged.

He argued that achieving all these would not be possible without the cooperation of the various stakeholders since the Police need information to track criminals, a development that informed both the community policing policy and the visit to NAGAFF.

Meanwhile, Founder of the association, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, who also fielded questions from newsmen shortly after the visit, said that NAGAFF appreciates the visit of the CP, being the first in the series and also promised to collaborate with him in order to provide security at the ports not only at the Yuletide and New Year celebrations but also all round the clock.

On the challenges that may be faced by the new Commissioner, Aniebonam noted that he does not envisage any difficulty since his predecessor must have given him a handover note, which will contain flashpoints for him to concentrate on to reduce all incidences of crimes in and around the port environment.

Recall that there have been recurring cases of unauthorised persons having access into the ports, which experts believe is at variance with the International Ships and Ports Security ISPS Code of the International Maritime Organisation IMO, which designated the seaports and other related facilities as security and restricted areas.

This porous nature of the access into the nation’s seaports, especially those in Lagos, has given rise to increasing cases of crimes such as broaching of imported containers at the various terminals and many other minor theft cases, which needed to be addressed urgently.