The Western and Central African Port Security (WeCAPS) has called for increased investment in security infrastructure at Nigerian ports and the maritime domain.
The group made the call in Lagos on Thursday at the closing of its first mission training in Nigeria for ports in the Lagos area.
Nico Vertogen, WeCAPS team leader, said the need to strengthen the security and safety of the ports in West and Central Africa cannot be overemphasized.
He said it will help reduce vulnerabilities and risks thereby increasing skills and vigilance.
According to him, the WeCAPS project is a partner project with experts offering their opinions on safety and security.
“WeCAPS is not an approach of giving yellow cards or red cards but it is an approach of working together among colleagues and experts,” he said.
Mohammed Bello-Koko, the managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), commended the European Union for the WeCAPS training mission, stating that it came to Nigeria when the authority was prioritising safety and security to achieve a hub status within the region.
Represented by Mohammed Khalil, NPA’s General Manager, Security, he said the training was built around a detailed assessment report of ports in the Lagos maritime security zone conducted in April 2022 together with the WeCAPS team of experts aimed at strengthening the capacity of the country human capital in various areas of port operations, but particularly in the areas of port security, safety and fire service.
“As an integral part of the global maritime logistics and supply chain, the portrait file of safety and security of the ports are of paramount importance to the well-being of the global economy,” he said.
Isa Mudi, the head of the International Ships & Ports Facility Security Code (ISPS Code) of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), said, “No one here doubts the fundamental role the maritime industry plays in boosting global trade and economic prosperity. We are also aware that effective collaboration is critical in dealing with issues of security, otherwise, we will not all be gathered here.
“The maritime industry is such a closely knit community that security threats can migrate from a vulnerable port in one country to a seemingly less vulnerable one in another country using ships as a conduit for this migration. Therefore, while we continue to maintain constructive collaborative efforts, the onus is on each nation to properly secure its maritime domain,” he added.