The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission has said the standard operating procedures it recently launched for the Nigerian ports will enable it to keep a closer watch on operations within the ports.
It therefore urged all the players in the sector to embrace transparency and accountability, warning that it would not hesitate to invoke the instrumentality of the law against any erring player.
The Director of Public Enlightenment, ICPC, Mrs. Rasheedat Okoduwa, said this during the inauguration of the Harmonised SOPs and the Port Service Support Portal at the Apapa Port, Lagos, on Tuesday.
According to Okoduwa, illegal activities can no longer go unnoticed at the Nigerian ports, with the launch of the SOPs, which, she said, had made it clear to the whole world how business is conducted at the Nigerian ports.
Okoduwa noted that the launch of the SOPs and the PSSP followed a recent corruption risk assessment carried out by the ICPC in the Nigerian ports sector.
She said the ICPC carried out the corruption risk assessment pursuant to its mandate to prevent corruption under Section 6 (b) – (d) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.
Okoduwa said, “The mandate empowers the ICPC to study the systems and procedures of government bodies and supervise a review of those processes found to be prone to corruption.
“The ICPC would like to remind all the agencies and port operators of the commitment they have given to comply with procedures as obtained in their published SOPs and to conduct port business with the highest level of integrity and a keen sense of accountability.
“Through the SOPs, Nigeria has told the whole world how she conducts port business and the PSSP empowers port users to seek prompt resolution of service and integrity shortfalls.
“The ICPC will maintain a keen watch over proceedings on the platform and will not hesitate to call upon its enforcement powers to sanction those who willfully err. Therefore, we implore all stakeholders to continue to support the government in creating a new Nigeria where service is rendered selflessly, responsibly and with dignity.”
Okoduwa commended members of the Project Steering Committee, whose report and recommendations culminated in the launch of the SOPs, for their zeal.
She said, “The bodies represented on the committee deserve singular mention for their patriotic zeal and tenacity of purpose. They include the ICPC, the Bureau of Public Procurement, the Technical Unit on Governance and Anti-corruption Reforms, the Federal Ministry of Transportation, the Nigeria Ports Authority, the Nigerian Shippers Council, the Nigerian Customs Service, the Nigeria Immigration Service, the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency, the Port Health Services of Nigeria, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and the Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarders of Nigeria.”
According to her, the SOPs would also be launched at the Warri, Onne, Rivers and Calabar ports.
She added that the essence of the launch was to create awareness to the SOPs and the PSSP for active use by port patrons.
Source: The Punch