WEEKEND GINGER: ISPS, Boko Harams and the rest of us!

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan

When the United States of America introduced a protective mechanism popularly called the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code through the International Maritime Organization, most Nigerians hated it.

We hated it, most probably, because the application of the code was likely to either cure or expose two of our major weaknesses as a nation: greed and carelessness.

Implementing the code could curtail executive greed, while at the bottom, the use of circuit television cameras, perimeter fencing, and designated security personnel could eliminate the tendencies towards carelessness, through which several evils, like pilfering, broaching etc were perpetuated.

But when you recall the recent fire incident at the Folawiyo Tank Farm in Apapa, Lagos on Wednesday June 25, 2014, and juxtapose it with the fire incident which gutted the Total Gas depot Ijora, also in Apapa, on Wednesday August 27, 2014; you may begin to infer the true meaning of the ISPS Code.

First, if the Code came as an ‘autopsy’ report, sequel to September 11, sad bombing of the New York’s Twin Towers, then its relevance as a protective document can not be lost on everyone, particularly the relevant authorities.

When a group of militants years back, took interest in the Atlas Cove Jetty in Lagos; and set fire to it, those who should know told us cock and bull stories.

The Lagos State Fire Service Director, Mr. Rasaq Fadipe similarly, told Nigerians on Thursday, June 26, that the fire at the Folawiyo Tank Farm a day before was caused by a gas explosion, and not a bomb blast, and several of us believed him. But, who appeared more credible, when the Boko Haram leader, Shekau swore by “Walahi”, that it was an event he initiated? ( Check U-tube).

The fire incident and what it was targeted to achieve, was not in anyway, diminished by the outburst of the Chief Executive Officer of the Tank farm, Mr. Tunde Folawiyo that the explosion did not occur inside the depot, but at the Creek Road and Burma Road junction.
Did the ISPS Code make any prescription, in terms of the extent of Safety that must exist between a Facility and its interface or not?

Speaking in respect of the Total Gas incident, the Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Western Ports Police Command, Mr. Olumide Kayode, said the fire which started around 5.30 am was as a result of some tanker drivers, (or their boys), trans-loading petroleum products in the area. Some account posited, that it was in the process of trans-loading stolen petroleum products!

No one needs to hear more than once, the account of the ACP, to realize how far the negligence of the ISPS Code has culminated, into a wholesale incompetence to manage pedestrian traffic!

“The fire started around 5.30 in the morning. The people around, especially, the Total Gas staff responded and they put it off.. No sooner had that been done, the police arrived and everybody thought it was okay; and the people resumed their normal activities. 
“But, the fire started again, because there is fire that had already gone down, the charcoal…”

Autopsy is performed, not necessarily to re-awake the corpse. It is essentially to assist the living, to stay alive. If two ‘fires’ are not enough to ginger the industry to common sense, then, should we wait, for the armageddon!

If the ISPS Code is too much for us, because of its ‘International’ nomenclature, can somebody please introduce a ‘domesticated’ version? Sadly enough, the only body saddled with the task of ‘domestication’ of rules, the NIMASA is currently preoccupied with the ‘prudent’ administration of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Funds!