By YUSUF BABALOLA, Lagos –
Indigenous shipowners have unanimously blamed the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside for the dearth of local shipping lines operating in the maritime sector.
Speaking at the end of year workshop and dinner of the Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), tagged “Giving a Critical Lifeline to the Nigerian Maritime Industry”, the President of the association, Engr. Greg Ogbeifun called for the immediate resignation of the NIMASA DG over turn of events especially collapse of the shipping industry in the last two years.
He said while past NIMASA Director Generals have been sacked due to fraud related cases, this is the time to have the political boldness to sack the present leadership of NIMASA due to lack of competence. “We will be deceiving ourselves if we pretend not to know that the IMO and the rest of the world are aware that our maritime domain has remained a high security risk and it is most unsafe for seaborne trade and activities such as piracy, hostage taking and kidnapping.
“That 22 years after the demise of the Nigeria National Shipping Line (NNSL), we have not been able to midwife the emergence of a Nigerian fleet be it public, private or fleet resulting from Public Private Partnership.
“IMO has pass a vote of no confidence on our maritime administration and if we do not do the right thing, which is taking the bold action of asking the leadership of the maritime administration to resign or the government should sack them. If we don’t do that, the International community that has not accepted us into the council will believe we are not ready to change.
“Government should stop giving excuses why they failed and look at issues in the industry. We have an administration for two and half year in office, things have gone worst, they have not even visited our maritime institution in Oron.
Instead we are spending money abroad; the international community are laughing at us because they know we do not know what we are doing, and we are saying enough is enough.”
“We have ignorantly believed that to win election into the IMO Council is by political lobbying, flaunting our economic influence by reason of our vast natural resources which we have failed to appropriately harness to impact the lives and fortunes of our vast population.”