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Lack of onboard security fuels cargo pilfering  at ports– Investigations

Lagos, Nigeria: entrance to the RoRo port - Nigerian Ports Authority - photo by A.Bartel


 Segun Oladipupo

The termination of onboard security from the ports has been ascribed as the reason  ports thieves popularly known as wharf rats have permeated the ports, especially in Lagos.

Recall that onboard security was terminated  in 2015 by management of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), even as the affected workers were later paid off in 2019.

As a result, Wharf rats began to have access to cargoes in the port,  pilfering cargoes due to inadequacy of private security personnel employed by terminal operators.

Although the trend is said to have abated in the port, some criminal elements from the neighbouring  communities along the waterways are allegedly still engaged in the act.

Speaking on the development, the Tin Can Port  2 Chairman, Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade Adetumi Oluwole Michael said that even though there is pilfering in the port, members of the union were not responsible.

According to him, if the onboard security men had been on ground, there is no way outsiders would have gained entrance into the terminals without being caught.

“For the issue of wharf rats, it is a forgone issue as far as Tincan Island port is concerned, but we still have pockets of it coming from people coming through the waters and not from our workers.

“We know that the union is battling with onboard security issue but I am not in position to discuss that but when it comes to terminal, I think all the terminals have right and capacity to protect their terminals that is why they have their own private security. Some have local security even as some have police unit.

“Some of the things I observed is that some of the security men do not do what they are supposed to do because as security men, you supposed to be at your duty post always.

“How can somebody come from the water and enter the terminal and the purpose of you being there is to secure the place and you were not found at your duty post.

“The onboard security that are supposed to be at the terminals to consolidate are no more there

Speaking on when last the dastardly act was witnessed in the port, he said, “The last time I heard about pilfering in the port was December period when they made away with some bags of cocoa made for exports. Some of them were captured and names mentioned but among the names, none of our members was among them.”

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