WeCAPS Holds Workshop On Port Security, Disaster Management In Lagos
Fred Omotara, Lagos
A World Maritime University (WMU) delegation, in November 2022 delivered a workshop in Lagos, Nigeria in conjunction with the European Union-funded Western and Central Africa Port Security (WeCAPS) project.
The workshop on “Evaluation of the Legal Framework of Port Security and Safety in Nigeria,” was the fourth in a series that will be conducted by WMU as the culmination of the three-year WeCAPS project consisting of three phases: desk study and pre-evaluation, field visit and data gathering, and the final workshop/roadmap exercises.
The WMU/WeCAPS delegation to the workshop was led by Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, President of WMU, together with Professor Max Mejia, Associate Professor Aref Fakhry, and Assistant Professor Khanssa Lagdami.
The WMU delegation was joined by Mr. Laurens De Buck representing the WeCAPS partner ENABEL-Port of Antwerp-Bruges and Mr Hervé Basset representing WeCAPS-Expertise France.
In her opening remarks, President of WMU, Doumbia-Henry noted the many maritime challenges facing the countries and ports in the Gulf of Guinea, including piracy, oil vandalization, maritime terrorism, theft, drug trafficking, human smuggling, and illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.
“This serves to underscore the importance of the WeCAPS project and all the efforts taking place in the region to enhance maritime and port security,” she said.
“Promoting safety and security will continue to be intensive and this is imperative as the maritime security of one nation affects the others.
“All countries are interconnected by the oceans and seas. Port security cannot remain a commitment by only one country or port, so all hands must be brought on deck,” said President Doumbia-Henry.
She also emphasized the importance of the Gulf of Guinea region for its major economic and human development significance, and numerous resources as well as the challenges these bring in terms of fast-growing economies.
Welcoming remarks were also given by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency’s (NIMASA) Executive Director, Mr Chudi Offodile; the Nigerian Ports Authority’s (NPA) General Manager (Security), Mr Mohammed Jamil Khalil, and Expertise France WeCAPS Port Security Key Expert, Mr Hervé Basset.
The two-day workshop was attended by close to 50 senior representatives from various key organizations, including NIMASA, NPA, the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), the Nigerian Navy, Matthew Burkaa & Co, and Bricks Limited.
The workshop allowed WeCAPS to present and discuss a draft roadmap prepared by WMU. The final product aims to help strengthen the relevant national institutions, instruments and processes in port safety and security, as well as disaster management monitoring and response in Nigeria.
WeCAPS spans no less than 10 major ports across the West and Central African region–namely: Lagos, Nigeria; Tema and Takoradi, Ghana; Abidjan and San-Pédro, Côte d’Ivoire; Lomé, Togo; Dakar, Senegal; Douala, Cameroon; and Pointe-Noire and Brazzaville, Congo.
The three previous WeCAPS workshops were held in Accra, Ghana (22-23 September 2022), Dakar, Senegal (6-7 October 2022), and Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire (10-11 October 2022)