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Stakeholders advocate swift implementation of policies to tackle crime on Nigerian waters

By Sulaimon Salau
18 September 2019   |   4:15 am
For Nigeria’s maritime industry to experience an exponential growth, there must be sustainable policies and implementation mechanism that would drive the industry.

A container ship docked at the Apapa Port Complex in Lagos (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

For Nigeria’s maritime industry to experience an exponential growth, there must be sustainable policies and implementation mechanism that would drive the industry.

Stakeholders, who gathered at the fourh edition of Taiwo Afolabi Annual maritime Conference (TAAM) in Lagos, said that in spite of several maritime laws and port reforms, there should be more policies, reforms and most importantly, a strong implementation mechanism.

Group Executive Vice-Chairman of SIFAX Group, Taiwo Afolabi, lamented the aggravated attacks on vessels at berth at various terminals in Nigeria by sea robbers and hoodlums.

He therefore appealed to the government and its relevant agencies to further fortify the nation’s coastal areas and maritime boundaries against maritime crimes.

Represented by Managing Director Sifax Group, Adekunle Oyinloye, he called on the Federal Government through the Ministries ,Departments and Agencies (MDA’s) in the maritime sector to ensure implementation of the various policies and reforms for transformation and growth of the maritime sector.
He however called for urgent linking the TinCan Island port to the national rail network.

“With this policy, cargoes can be evacuated by rail from Apapa ports to the hinterland.

“Government’s initiative of moving cargoes from the ports to the inland dry ports and container freight stations is a welcome development and must be seen to the end,” Afolabi sais.

Chairman, Ports Consultative Council (PCC), Kunle Folarin, said that issues of reforms and the need for practical and innovative solutions had become imperative in the quest to achieving desired growth in the maritime industry.

He said: “The new economic agenda in the maritime sector and ports industry raises concerns on port reforms and local participation policies.

“It also calls for direct foreign investment policies, the transformation of the port from a whole public monopoly into a landlord model organisation, with a master plan that will also include Green Field Development,” Folarin said.

The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NCS), Hassan Bello, stressed the need for infrastructure development in other to make Nigerian ports efficient and competitive.

Bello, who noted that the Nigeria was currently lacking the ability to harness what it had, called for proper utilisation of the various potentials in the maritime industry.

He said: “Infrastructure is also important; government must take its responsibilities to provide infrastructure, which means good roads, linkage of rail to the ports.

“If the transport system is not efficient, it means sluggish economy; if the transport system is efficient, it means a strong and vibrant economy,” he said.
Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, commended the efforts of the organiser in exposing Law students to the maritime sector.
Ogundipe, who was represented by Prof. Matthew Ilori, said that the maritime industry was the gateway to the nation’s economy, adding that putting the industry in a proper shape could sustain Nigeria’s economy.
The Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, Prof. Ayodele Atsenuwa, said that the programme had exposed their students to various platforms by deepening their knowledge beyond the school curriculum.
Atsenuwa said that it was important for the school to partner with the maritime industry to enable the students choose career in maritime law, shipping as well as admiralty, to enhance the progress of the industry.