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U.S. Tells Nigeria to Improve Port Security or Face Ships Ban

June 10, 2013

The U.S. may ban ships from entering Nigeria to protest insecurity in the ports and waterways of sub-Saharan Africa’s second-biggest economy.

U.S authorities gave Nigeria a 90-day ultimatum to improve security, Leke Oyewole, special adviser on maritime affairs to President Goodluck Jonathan, said at a conference today in Lagos, the commercial capital, citing a letter from the U.S. government. The deadline expires in 45 days, he said.

Nigeria will “revive” its implementation of the International Ship and Port Facility Security code by August to secure ports and waterways against terrorism, piracy, smuggling and bunkering, Oyewole said. The country “is bound to act on the U.S. concerns to protect its source of revenue,” he said.

Economic growth in Africa’s largest oil producer slowed to 6.6 percent in the first quarter from 7 percent in the prior three months, the National Bureau of Statistics said on May 16. Total government revenue fell 2.4 percent to 2.4 trillion naira ($15 billion) in the period, compared with the previous three months, according to the statistics agency.

Bill Strassberger, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, the capital, said by phone he’s aware of the letter though he hasn’t seen it.

The West African nation will automate controls on people moving inside the ports and enhance the exchange of data among regulatory and security agencies involved in maritime industries to address the concerns of the U.S., Oyewole said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Emele Onu in Lagos at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dulue Mbachu at

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