By Eugene Nweke
The economic well-being of our country is highly dependent on trading activities, as such any disruption to the fluidity of the supply chain will have adverse economic effects on us, hence, the need for adequate or of the supply chain.
It is not overstatement to reinstate that with our strategic location in the continent, we have the potential to galvanize and institute an excellent network of connectivity thereby becoming a global logistics hub and supply chain management nerve centre in the African continent, especially in the face of high population and trade volume.
In today shipping world, sensitivity to safety and security is the focal point of every country, as global trade and terrorism are now borderless and timeless.
Nigeria has a duty to join the global moves to set up new rules and regulations for controlling goods and vessel moving in and out of its international frontiers.
To evolve and migrate new regulations, it entails that, those participating should join the government to review, revamp and reinforce the prevailing arrangement on each mode and link involve in cargo movements.
Not doing so means an open invitation to a possible security disruption and its adverse consequences thereof.
This is the background upon which the Nigeria Navy took a giant stride by creating a Secure Anchorage Area under a joint venture arrangement (Business Partnership) along our international waterfront.
Though this can be expanded upon and not to be dismantled, as being canvassed.
- A peep into the security supply chain – How effective is the Nigeria international trade and security supply chain architecture?
The concept of total supply chain security entails that all players in the supply chain takes full responsibility in securing their leg in the chain link so as to secure the flow of supply.
It also provides that securing the supply chain starts with safe and secured packaging of traded goods. Then institute a deterrent measure that will trigger an alert in case of tampering with the goods while sailing or moving from the point of packing to the final point of discharge.
The benefits of the concept (total supply chain security) includes but not limited to:
- a) Protection from the devastating consequences of the supply chain disruption.
- b) Business interests are guaranteed as it enjoys series of collateral benefits, e.g.
- i) Reduced shipment theft and loses.
- ii) Better inventory management.
iii) Increased employee commitment.
- iv) Increased Communication between business partners.
- v) Faster throughputs.
- vi) Increased customer recognition and loyalty.
vii) Global recognition for reliability and dependability.
- The Nigeria Navy taking a deep leap:
Expectedly, the Nigeria Navy understanding the peculiarities of our international water way which impedes and robs us of this benefits, took a bold step as a critical player in the security supply chain, to create a “Secure Anchorage Area” for vessels desiring an added Secured Navigational services, along our economic free zone (200 nautical miles), especially against piracy and terrorism threats to ship and crew.
Ideally, it is the duty of the government to ensure that resources are directed to where they are most effective and needed.
In this regards, the Nigeria Port Authority (NPA) should be said to be partnering with the Nigeria Navy and the Nigeria Customs, etc to evolve a National Secured Trade & Logistics Program (a joint secured trade partnership program). The essence of this National Secure Supply Chain Management is to share responsibility between the government and businesses, which is achievable through partnership and active participation.
The idea is that, for the concept of a total security supply chain to thrive evenly, there is the need to balance between the needs of security and commercial efficiency. The concept must be anchored on a risk based approach.
- The Nigeria Navy “Secure Anchorage Area” – Is it truly an illegality as canvassed by NPA?
In other climes, the territorial waters (including the Inland waters, coastal waters, international seas) are under the total control of the Navy, a typical example here, the American Navy otherwise referred to as the “Maritime Americans”.
It is always Navy (Marines) first before any other commission or agency. In Nigeria, a legislative provision seems to have subtly changed the workings, as functions of other legislative Acts seem to tactically put the Navy roles in a weak side line.
Understandably, NPA, by its enabling Act has jurisdiction on any revenue connected to our water, but not really, in the context of a security arrangement which from onset it expressed handicapped, nonchalant and lacked professional indepth.
The Navy created the S.A.A at a material time when the NPA lacked logistics solutions to stem the increasing Ppracy activities on our water, in response to the global quests for anti and counter terrorism obligations.
Within same period, NIMASA leased or outsourced Messrs West to provide a platform for security and surveillance activities within our territorial waters.
In the face of reality, the Navy actually has the right of first refusal where the NPA insist on dismantling or reconcessioning the platform.
It is on record that past NPA leaders applauded and commended the nature of this distinct efficient service provided by the Navy’s SAA.
- Questions agitating the minds of the stakeholders:
How come after years of providing essential services, same NPA under another leadership now sees the Navy SAA as a usurper or Illegality?
If NPA is making case for the need to review the concession agreement based on performance reevaluation, it is a different ball game. If so, is the present approach the most ideal? Or does the concession agreement states that after some years of managing the platform, the Navy hands off for NPA to take over, even where the concession agreement does not provide for BOOT arrangement?
The plot to dismantle the Navy SAA is it well intended? Is it for public good or personal good?
Let us x-ray this plotting to dismantle in the premise of Continental Shell application (maximizing the benefits associated with the effective policing of our 200 nautical miles economic free zone, both beneath and surface of our given water volume) in the eyes Blue Economy .
The Navy by security supply chain practices has a duty to explain the purpose of its business partner security, then screen and select a business security partner. It can apply a befitting methodology in this regards.
- Evolving a National Secure Security Program – Stakeholders expectations from Navy, NPA, NCS, NSC:
By way of further interrogation of the system, the players in the security supply chain are expectant of the following:
- What fundamental information and information technology security concept and outlined threats has the authorities introduced before the creation of SAA, aimed to defend data and system?
- What fundamental concept has the authorities published, detailing how to safeguard the custody and integrity of cargo as it transits from point A to B?
- Has the authorities outlined the methods for responding to bomb incident (attacks) and fire and medical emergencies?
- Has the authorities made public its management procedures for handling emergencies and highlighting contingency planning for business continuity and recovery?
- What level sensitization on security education and training programs , with consideration to the fact that, the day to day behaviour of the employees and their individual security responsibilities counts.
The need to respect dictate of contractual agreements and rules of engagement at all level cannot be over emphasized, especially in an industry driven by responsible partnership.
The Legislature has a duty to take a second look at most of legislative instruments establishing agencies in the maritime industry, with a mindset to prioritize key fundamental functions to the appropriate agencies, with requisite background and orientation.
The objective of the Secure Anchorage Area of the Navy should be encouraged and revisited with a mindset to adding impetus and not to contemplate dismantling it.
This a professional position paper without prejudice.
Fwdr. Dr. Eugene Nweke
Head of Research at Sea Empowerment Research Center Ltd GT
Photo: Dr. Eugene Nweke, Head of Research, Sea Empowerment Research Center
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