The Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, has called on the Nigerian Shippers’ Council to deploy its enforcement powers to tackle the problem of corruption in the port sector.
Speaking at a sensitization meeting for government agencies and stakeholders in the maritime sector on the implementation of the Nigerian Ports Process Manual (NPPM) in Abuja, Professor Owasanoye said that the effective implementation of the Manual and other measures across the various ports would help diminish corruption in the sector.
He said, “All the agencies that operate in the ports are not powerless. They all have enforcement powers; it is not helpful for them to always go to law enforcement agencies when they have powers they have not fully applied. It is time to effectively use these enforcement powers”.
He stated that given the petitions received on impunities in the ports, ICPC had joined other agencies to conduct a Corruption Risk Assessment to evaluate the effects of corruption on the sector and how to curb it.
He added that proper management of the port sector by curbing corruption would significantly impact on Nigerian economic aspirations positively.
In an earlier statement, the Minister of Transport, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi had underscored the importance of the NPPMemphasizing on the extent of the responsibility placed on the Nigerian Shippers’ Council to drive the implementation of the manual.
Amaechi also pleaded with government agencies and the general public to support the Nigerian Shippers’ Council in bringing sanity to Nigeria port system.
In his remarks, the Executive Secretary of the Shippers’ Council, Mr. Hassan Bello, sought the cooperation of sister agencies to ensure that the manual is fully implemented in order to improve Nigeria’s ranking of Corruption Perception Index.
He noted that the NPP Manual was key to transparency in Nigerian ports and that there is the need to reduce cargo dual time of 21 days to the regional average time of 7 days for ease of doing business.
Major highlight of the event was the presentation of the Ports Service Support Portal (PSSP) which would be the primary tool to drive the implementation of the NPPM. It would be recalled that the NPPM was launched in December, 2020 by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, with the Nigerian Shippers’ Council as the lead agency to implement it.