Bello Advocates Involvement of All Maritime Agencies, Others in Maritime Seminar for Judges


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By Francis Ugwoke
The former Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Dr. Hassan Bello, has called for the full involvement of all maritime agencies under the Ministry of Transport in the organization and sponsorship of maritime seminar for judges.
Bello said that apart from the maritime agencies, shipping service providers, including shipping lines, shipowners, cargo owners should also be involved in the sponsorship of the seminar.
Bello who spoke to SHIPPING DAY in Abuja on the seminar which was held recently explained that the huge financial outlay requires the involvement of other stakeholders instead of leaving it solely for the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) which organizes the seminar every two years in collaboration with the National Judicial Institute(NJI).
He explained that the involvement of the agencies and other maritime stakeholders was necessary considering that the seminar was conceptualized to bridge the knowledge gap that was existing in the industry and for faster handling of maritime cases.
He pointed out that the cost of organizing the seminar was so much that rich agencies and stakeholders in the sector need to be involved.
Bello added that with such arrangement, the seminar can be held annually as many participants had called for during the seminar in Abuja.
Bello urged all the agencies of the Transport Ministry to see the seminar as very important for the benefit of the maritime sector and support such sponsorship.
He commended the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, who is said to have given an indication of readiness to collaborate with the NSC in organizing the seminar.
He urged other chief executives of the Transport agencies in the maritime sector to emulate NIMASA.
Bello said,“…There is a meeting of Chief Executives of Maritime agencies and to be fair the DG of NIMASA wants to collaborate with NSC so that this will be one seminar. Others will follow suit. I think they will make it in an agenda to come and collaborate with the NSC. NSC may be the coordinator”.
“You see the NSC has sacrificed so much and you can see the event. It is better every year. Now, this one is the most beautiful. It is better than the ones we used to have when I was there. That is the spirit of the new administration and everybody is so happy because of the standard. But then there are financial outlays and I see no reason why NSC should not seek for sponsorship of the event from rich operators. NSC is no more cargo centric. It is for the shipping companies as much as they are for cargo owners, freight forwarders, terminal operators and so on. And I think NSC with that sponsorship should be able to make it yearly. The more frequency of the occurrence of this seminar is very important. I support it, it should be done but because of budgetary concern NSC will have funding problem. But I think it will be creative to make it yearly”, he said while responding to a question on his view on the call from participants that the seminar should held yearly.
The Executive Secretary NSC, Hon Emmanuel Jime, had expressed his excitement over the outcome of the describing it as a huge success.
He said he was particularly excited because of the quality of participation from judges who came from all parts of the country and outside Nigeria.
He said, “This is the first opportunity I have had since I assumed office as CEO of NSC to organize this very important forum. It has been going on since 1995. It is biennial which means we hold it every two years which should have taken place in 2020 but it did not hold because of COVID.
“ From my perspective, I look at the quality of participation and those who have come from far and near in particular the extension to other countries on the continent, like Kenya for instance that is attending for the first time and also to mention the other sister countries of Ghana, Sierra Leone and Anglo-phone countries”.
Jime said that the seminar attracted judges lawyers, legal practitioners, shipowners, terminal operators and others who have interest in the development of the industry.
He added, “To me this is very exciting prospect. I am just too happy that destiny has bestowed on me the opportunity to supervise on this very important seminar.
The seminar was an opportunity to launch a compendium which are materials gathered earlier from other editions of the seminar. I have listened to participants and I think there is a level of excitement we have generated with the outcome of what has been happening in the previous editions.
He said that the seminar will further developments that have already occurred, adding that the series were conceptualized in order to bridge the knowledge gap that was existing in the practice of the industry.
He explained that the NSC understanding in the past has been that since maritime law was not actually considered to be a course of study in the Nigerian university in the past, presiding judges on maritime cases may not have the necessary background that is requisite enough for them to be able to offer the kind of adjudication that will respond to the needs of the industry.
He said, “That was the background upon which the NSC decided to organize the seminar. What the seminar sets out to achieve is to update the knowledge of those sitting on adjudication over maritime cases brought before our law courts. That is the main reason the series were conceptualized in the first place.
“There was a call during the seminar that Nigerian universities must begin to introduce maritime law courses. NSC is working in collaboration with most Nigerian law faculties to ensure that there is an institutionalized study in this sector of law practice. There is a plan and I think from the earlier seminar the collaboration between the law faculty of Lagos University has led to the establishment of some aspects of teaching of maritime law in the University of Lagos.
“I believe that can be expanded because the more people understand the importance of undertaking training as far as maritime law is concerned the greater the imperative for the course to be taken in Nigerian universities. There is now an interest that has developed and I am glad to say that that interest is coming as one of the outcome of training sessions offered by the maritime series”.

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