The Nigeria Institute of Shipping (NIS) has said that it is set to renew its pursuit to get its charter bill which has been pending before the National Assembly (NASS) even as it revealed plans to build a ‘Shipping House’ which would serve as the headquarters of the institute.
National President of NIS, Captain Anthony Onoharigho who gave these assurances at the Institute’s 9th Annual General Meeting (AGM) which held in Lagos at the weekend.
Capt Tony who was re-elected president of the institute for another term, reeled out his achievement in the first tenure, saying that he successfully relocated the secretariat of NIS from its former base at Creek Road in Apapa to a more befitting office marine road, also in Apapa GRA.
This is even as the institute inducted 50 persons as new members and Fellows.
Some maritime personalities awarded included the Vice Chairman of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) Chief Henry Njokwu, President of Nigerian Merchant Navy Senior Staff Association, Eng Matthew Alalade, Capt Abel Ogah, NIMASA’s Capt Green Elei, Capt Alfred Oniye among others.
The NIS president revealed that Deputy Senate President , Senator Ovie Omo Agege was helping the institute to pursue the chatter bill.
The charter bill is co sponsored by the Nigerian Institute of Shipping (NIS) and the Certified Institute of Shipping , Nigeria (CISN).
The bill has been pending for close to ten years before the NASS.
Speaking on the development , Capt Onoharigho said the bill had gone up to the second reading before legislative issues came up and stopped it.
“We had taken the bill to second reading then when Omo Agege had problem, it stopped, but we will reopen that chapter and we are going to do our best and bring back to the senate”
“We will go back to him and see how we can get it back. As a matter of facts I revived it where it was abandoned eight years ago.
” I am going to take it to where I left it eight years ago to the senate and it won’t be a problem this time around”,he stated.
While speaking on the lingering traffic congestion on roads linking the Lagos seaports, the NIS president said that there was the need to properly plan movement of articulated vehicles on the roads.
“Government should develop other ports; if cargoes are segregated, those going to Port Harcourt will go there; Lagos, Warri and Calabar will do same.
“We should not drop all cargoes in Lagos as this is part of what is causing the congestion.
“There is the need to make all ports that are not functioning to function again as the concentration of cargoes in Lagos is the major cause of the congestions,” he said.
On his part, Life Patron of NIS, Sir Caleb Okoye, called for urgent actions to decongest Nigerian ports and re-establish a national carrier for faster development of the shipping industry.
According to him, the country does not have a national carrier since the demise of the Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL).
He said that almost all the containers to and from Nigeria were carried by foreign shipping lines.
He also regretted approval of tank farms near the ports without due consideration of the road traffic implication to the ports.
“I am alarmed by the situation of our ports. Apart from oil, over 80 per cent of cargoes coming to Nigeria are now containerised.
“The container traffic started in Nigeria in 1966 when NNSL and two UK shipping lines formed African Container Express; they made arrangements with the Nigeria Railway Company to transfer containers from Apapa to Kaduna container terminals.
“The rail link between Lagos and the North was then running smoothly. Today that is history,” he said.
He claimed that Federal Government had not made any good investment in uplifting the port facilities especially Tincan Island and Apapa ports.
He also said that the military government made a mistake in authorising testablishment of sugar, wheat and cement factories inside the ports.
Okoye said that it would have been appropriate to site only factories for goods meant for export at the port.