The Senate is currently perfecting arrangements to introduce three new bills to regulate and restructure the security architecture of the Nigerian waterways, ports and harbours.
The Nigerian Navy is currently the sole provider of security in the nation’s waterways, ports and harbours, with the Nigerian Ports Authority providing guidelines and some measures of control.
Some stakeholders have however protested against the current arrangement insisting that it could be better with the introduction of additional measures to accommodate other agencies.
Our correspondent learnt that the three bills would soon be laid on the floor of the red chamber to improve security in the nation’s ports, harbours and waterways.
One of the proposed legislations is: A bill for an act to provide for the establishment of the Nigerian Merchant Navy Coast Guard Security and Safety Corps
The Second is: A bill for an act to provide for the establishment of the National Transportation Commission as an independent multi-model economic regulator for the transport industry.
However, the third piece of legislation is: A bill for an act to repeal the Nigerian Ports Authority Act and to establish the Nigerian Ports and Harbour Authority.
The bill for the establishment of the Nigerian Merchant Navy Coast Guard Security and Safety Corps was introduced in the 8th Senate by the current Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, but legislative action was not concluded.
The bill seeks to among others, create the Coast Guard Corps whose Director General shall also be the Commandant and Chief Executive Officer. appointed by the President, subject to the confirmation of the Senate.
Operatives of the NMN Coast Guard Corps, according to the legislation, would monitor and protect the Nigerian territorial waters from pollution during ship building in docks and during construction of any maritime facilities.
They will also protect the Nigerian territorial waters from dumping, pollution by toxic waste poisons, chemical or any other elements that constitute risks to human and marine lives.
The corps is also saddled with the responsibility of monitoring and controlling all government and commercial transport boats or any marines’ facilities operating in the maritime offshore and onshore environment, and also ensure safety.
The NMN Coast Guard Corps, according to the bill, will have powers to arrest any person or ship suspected of committing any offence on the Nigerian territorial waters.
Personnel of the corps would also assist the Nigeria Customs Service in rummage vessels against illegal contraband goods, among other functions.
The Nigerian Ports and Harbour Authority bill will seek to provide for the ownership, management and development of ports and harbours in the country.