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This study is on efficiency and effectiveness of security agencies in Nigeria ports. The total population for the study is 100 staff of Nigeria port Authority, portharcourt, Rivers state. The researcher used questionnaires as the instrument for the data collection. Descriptive Survey research design was adopted for this study. A total of 87 respondents made marine engineers, firemen, seamen and signal officers were used for the study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies



1.1      Background of the study

Nigeria is indeed one of the greatest maritime nations of the world; this is confirmed by both the local maritime operators and foreign maritime operators. Ports are supposed to be security zones and policed as such to prevents crimes mainly theft, smuggling among sabotage attacks, stowaway. In olden days, theft as merely limited to petty pilferage and broaching of cartons by Dockers only tilling their pockets that would neither attract attention nor cause appreciable loss to the cargo consignee.

The security of ports is a critical aspect of national and international trade, and Nigeria, with its strategic location and extensive coastline, is no exception. The efficiency and effectiveness of port security in Nigeria have been subjects of extensive research and debate. According to Afolabi and Dada (2014), the Nigerian port system has faced numerous challenges, including inadequate infrastructure, corruption, and insufficient security measures. These issues have significantly impacted the efficiency of port operations, leading to delays and increased costs for shipping companies. The authors argue that improving port security is essential for enhancing the overall efficiency of the Nigerian port system.

In recent years, there have been efforts to address these challenges through various reforms and initiatives. For instance, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has implemented several measures to enhance security, such as the installation of modern surveillance equipment and the training of security personnel (NPA, 2018). These efforts have shown some positive results, with a reported decrease in incidents of theft and smuggling. However, the effectiveness of these measures is still a subject of debate. As noted by Okeke and Aniche (2019), while there have been improvements, the persistence of corruption and bureaucratic inefficiencies continues to undermine the overall effectiveness of port security.

The role of technology in enhancing port security cannot be overstated. The adoption of advanced technologies such as automated identification systems (AIS), electronic cargo tracking, and biometric access control has been identified as crucial for improving security at Nigerian ports (Eze, 2020). These technologies not only help in monitoring and controlling access to port facilities but also in tracking the movement of goods and preventing unauthorized activities. However, the implementation of these technologies requires significant investment and technical expertise, which are often lacking in developing countries like Nigeria.

Another critical aspect of port security is the collaboration between various stakeholders, including government agencies, private sector operators, and international partners. According to Adewuyi and Olowookere (2017), effective collaboration and information sharing are essential for addressing security threats and ensuring the smooth operation of port activities. The authors highlight the importance of establishing clear communication channels and protocols for reporting and responding to security incidents. Despite these recommendations, there are still gaps in coordination and cooperation among stakeholders, which hinder the overall effectiveness of port security measures.

The impact of port security on trade and economic development is another area of interest for researchers. As noted by Ugochukwu and Onyekachi (2016), secure and efficient ports are vital for facilitating international trade and attracting foreign investment. The authors argue that improving port security can lead to increased trade volumes, reduced shipping costs, and enhanced economic growth. However, they also caution that overly stringent security measures can have the opposite effect, creating bottlenecks and increasing operational costs. Therefore, it is essential to strike a balance between security and efficiency to maximize the benefits of port operations.

The crime latter escalated to piracy onboard vessels at anchorage. Crews were violently robbed and cargo stolen, with some measure of success in checking piracy at anchorage, attention shifted to the ports proper. There are many security agents both conventiona1l recognized law enforcement agents and the fadeless ones purporting to be government officials seeing to the general security of our ports These notwithstanding the ports are being easily accessible to a multitude of hoodlums now popularly known as “what rats” and syndicates of other malefactors actors who have made the ports their homes. They vandalize the lighting system to enable them carry out their natural and notorious activities. Any degree of crimes can now be perpetrated by these hoodlums acting in cohorts with some of the security agents, and port official. Crewmembers going ashore are sometimes violently attacked and robbed within and outside the ports. Cargo theft has grown from breaking any types of package within the ports to complete disappearance of container out of the ports. Cargos are being successfully cleared from the port by spurious owners. Ships are boarded by unauthorized persons who steal both cargoes and ship property including those relate to safety. What a criminal act! Vehicular cargoes are more vulnerable to plunder age because of the attention they attract. They are loaded with some goods that are not made parks where they normally await clearing. They are securely locked and then keys are handed to security officials for safety. But most of these vehicles with or without undeclared goods are mysteriously opened and their valuable parts are stolen Clearing of cargoes is a process which the shippers, freight forwarded and consignees thinks is as difficult as the head of the camel having to pass through the eye of1the needle The customs long room is being made too “long” for clearing agents Problems with all department involved in the clearing start from the usual indifferences to work, the officials thinking that they are doing the agents favour The agents must “co-operate” with the officials, otherwise their entries will either be unnecessarily delayed further or completely lost in the labyrinth of bureaucracy Having survived the voracity these official and the goods released the clearing agent face the cast ordeal of having to “settle” all other security agents and officials even with authentic release documents Some of the security men still go outside the ports to intercept and tort the consignee for “settlement” Coupled with factors like high port tariffs, port insecurity is now causing Nigerian ports serious loss of clientele to neighbouring ports. Lome and Cotonou for example, although in charter parties and ordinary contracts of affreightment where carriage of goods by sea Act 1971 does not apply to the operating bills of lading. Ship owners can exclude liability for loss of or damage to cargo arising from piratical acts generally the Act (COGSA “71”) does not provide such that Nigeria has joined the club of port stigmatized as dangerous in insurance circle. Consequently, ship owners and shippers pays higher premiums for ships and cargoes, a burden that is ultimately passed to the public consumers.

If Nigeria must grow both politically and economically, there are needs for an efficient and effective security system for safety of cargoes id ship including the crews. There should be both the activities of the appropriate authority and the private sectors to ensure that security at the port be maintained.

The efficiency and effectiveness of security in Nigerian ports are influenced by a range of factors, including infrastructure, technology, stakeholder collaboration, and regulatory frameworks. While there have been some improvements in recent years, significant challenges remain. Addressing these challenges requires a comprehensive approach that involves investment in modern technologies, capacity building for security personnel, and enhanced coordination among stakeholders. Future research should focus on evaluating the impact of recent reforms and identifying best practices for improving port security in Nigeria.

1.2 Statement Of The Problem

Crewmembers going ashore are sometimes violently attacked and robbed within and outside the ports. Cargo theft has grown from breaking any types of package within the ports to complete disappearance of container out of the ports. Cargos are being successfully cleared from the port by spurious owners. Ships are boarded by unauthorized persons who steal both cargoes and ship property including those relate to safety. What a criminal act! Vehicular cargoes are more vulnerable to plunder age because of the attention they attract. On this background the researcher wants to investigate efficiency and effectiveness of security agencies in Nigeria ports.

The efficiency and effectiveness of security in Nigeria’s ports have been a subject of significant concern for stakeholders in the maritime industry. Nigeria, with its extensive coastline and strategic location, serves as a critical hub for maritime trade in West Africa. However, the security challenges faced by its ports have raised questions about the country’s ability to safeguard its maritime assets and ensure the smooth flow of goods. The primary issues include piracy, smuggling, and inadequate infrastructure, which collectively undermine the operational efficiency of the ports. According to Onuoha (2012), the Gulf of Guinea, where Nigeria’s ports are located, has become a hotspot for maritime piracy, significantly affecting the security landscape.

One of the major problems affecting the efficiency of port security in Nigeria is the prevalence of piracy and armed robbery at sea. The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reported that the Gulf of Guinea accounted for over 90% of global kidnappings at sea in 2020, with Nigerian waters being particularly notorious. This high level of maritime crime not only endangers the lives of seafarers but also disrupts shipping schedules and increases insurance premiums for vessels operating in the region. The Nigerian government has made efforts to combat piracy through initiatives like the Deep Blue Project, but the effectiveness of these measures remains to be fully realized (IMB, 2020).


Smuggling is another critical issue that hampers the effectiveness of port security in Nigeria. The porous nature of Nigeria’s borders and the complicity of some port officials have made it easier for contraband goods to enter and exit the country. This illegal trade not only deprives the government of much-needed revenue but also poses significant security risks. For instance, the smuggling of arms and ammunition can fuel internal conflicts and exacerbate the already volatile security situation in the country. Efforts to curb smuggling have included the deployment of advanced scanning technologies and increased patrols, but these measures have had limited success due to corruption and inadequate enforcement (Eze, 2019).

Inadequate infrastructure is another significant factor that affects the efficiency and effectiveness of security in Nigeria’s ports. Many of the ports lack modern facilities and equipment necessary for effective security operations. For example, outdated surveillance systems and insufficient lighting can make it easier for unauthorized individuals to gain access to restricted areas. Additionally, the lack of proper training for security personnel further exacerbates the problem. According to a report by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), there is a pressing need for investment in modern security infrastructure to enhance the operational capabilities of the ports (NPA, 2021).

The human element also plays a crucial role in the security challenges faced by Nigeria’s ports. Corruption among port officials and security personnel is a pervasive issue that undermines the effectiveness of security measures. Bribery and collusion with criminal elements can lead to the bypassing of security protocols, making it easier for illegal activities to occur. Addressing this issue requires not only stricter enforcement of anti-corruption laws but also a cultural shift towards greater accountability and transparency within the port authorities (Akinyemi, 2018).

The efficiency and effectiveness of security in Nigeria’s ports are hindered by a combination of piracy, smuggling, inadequate infrastructure, and corruption. While the government has implemented various measures to address these challenges, their success has been limited by systemic issues and a lack of comprehensive enforcement. To improve the security landscape, there is a need for a multi-faceted approach that includes investment in modern infrastructure, enhanced training for security personnel, and stringent anti-corruption measures. Only through such a holistic strategy can Nigeria hope to secure its ports and ensure the smooth and safe flow of maritime trade.

1.4 Objective Of The Study

The purpose of this study is to examine the efficiency and effectiveness of security in Nigeria Ports. The specific objectives are:

  1.    To highlight the importance of security agents in ports.
    2.    To evaluate the performances of security agents in ports
    3.    To focus attention on factors influencing the efficiency and effectiveness of security agents in Nigeria ports


The research questions are buttressed below:

  1. What is the importance of security agents in ports?
  2. How do security agents perform in ports?
  3. What factors influence the efficiency and effectiveness of security agents in Nigeria’s ports?


For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;

H0:  there is no importance of security agents in ports

H1: there is an importance of security agents in ports

H02: there are no factors influencing the efficiency and effectiveness of security agents in Nigeria ports

H2: there are factors influencing the efficiency and effectiveness of security agents in Nigeria ports


This study will give clear insight on efficiency and effectiveness of security agencies in Nigeria. The study will be beneficial to students, Nigeria port authority and the general public. The study will also serve as a reference to other researchers that want to embark on this study.

The significance of studying the efficiency and effectiveness of security in Nigeria’s ports cannot be overstated. Ports are critical nodes in the global supply chain, serving as gateways for international trade and commerce. In Nigeria, ports play a pivotal role in the nation’s economy, facilitating the import and export of goods, which in turn supports various industries and contributes to national revenue. However, the efficiency and effectiveness of port security are paramount to ensuring that these economic activities are not disrupted by security breaches, theft, smuggling, or other illicit activities. Understanding and improving port security can lead to enhanced economic stability and growth, making this study highly significant.


Moreover, the study of port security in Nigeria is crucial for safeguarding national security. Ports are potential targets for terrorism, piracy, and other forms of organized crime. Effective security measures can prevent such threats, protecting not only the port infrastructure but also the lives of workers and the general public. By examining the current state of security in Nigeria’s ports, this study aims to identify vulnerabilities and propose solutions that can mitigate risks, thereby enhancing the overall security posture of the nation. This is particularly important in a country like Nigeria, which has faced various security challenges in recent years.

In addition to economic and national security implications, the efficiency and effectiveness of port security have significant implications for international relations. Nigeria’s ports are part of a global network, and their security standards can impact the country’s reputation and relationships with trading partners. Inefficient or ineffective security measures can lead to delays, increased costs, and loss of trust among international stakeholders. Conversely, robust security protocols can enhance Nigeria’s standing in the global trade community, attracting more business and fostering stronger international partnerships. This study, therefore, has the potential to contribute to Nigeria’s global trade competitiveness.

Furthermore, the study is significant for policy development and implementation. Policymakers require empirical data and analysis to make informed decisions about resource allocation, regulatory frameworks, and strategic initiatives aimed at improving port security. By providing a comprehensive assessment of the current security landscape in Nigeria’s ports, this study can inform policy decisions and help prioritize areas that need attention. This, in turn, can lead to more effective and efficient use of resources, ultimately enhancing the security and operational efficiency of the ports.

The study also holds importance for the academic community and future research. It contributes to the body of knowledge on port security, offering insights and data that can be used by other researchers, scholars, and students. By identifying gaps in the current security measures and proposing evidence-based solutions, this study can serve as a foundation for further research and innovation in the field of port security. It can also stimulate academic discourse and encourage the development of new theories and models related to security management in port environments.

Lastly, the significance of this study extends to the practical implications for port authorities and security personnel. By highlighting best practices and areas for improvement, the study can guide the development of training programs, operational protocols, and technological investments that enhance the capabilities of security agents. This can lead to more effective surveillance, quicker response times, and overall better security outcomes. In summary, the study of the efficiency and effectiveness of security in Nigeria’s ports is of paramount importance for economic stability, national security, international relations, policy development, academic research, and practical applications in the field of port security.


The scope of the study covers efficiency and effectiveness of security agencies in Nigeria ports. The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study. The study is restrained to staff of Nigeria port Authority, Port-Harcourt, Rivers state

  1. a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL:The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
  2. b) TIME:The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
  3. c) Organizational privacy: Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities


EFFICIENCY: Efficiency is the ability to avoid wasting materials, energy, efforts, money, and time in doing something or in producing a desired result. In a more general sense, it is the ability to do things well, successfully, and without waste

EFFECTIVENESS: Effectiveness is the capability of producing a desired result or the ability to produce desired output. When something is deemed effective, it means it has an intended or expected outcome, or produces a deep, vivid impression.

SECURITY AGENCY: A security agency is a governmental organization which conducts intelligence activities for the internal security of a nation

PORT: A port is a maritime commercial facility which may comprise one or more wharves where ships may dock to load and discharge passengers and cargo.


This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.  Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study

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