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Stakeholders in the Nigerian maritime market have opposed moves by the Nigerian Navy, looking for an amendment of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety (NIMASA) Act to contribute 1 per cent of its income to the Nigerian Navy.


The move was condemned by sector players in the course of a One-Day Public Hearing on, "A bill for an Act to Amend the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Security Agency Act, No. 17 2017 to raise the functions of the Agency and for associated matters (HB 1131 & 1178)," before the Property of Representative Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration.


Speaking at the occasion, the President, African Ship owners Association and a former Director Basic of NIMASA, Mr. Temisan Omatseye pointed out clearly that it will be against all international conventions of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) entered into by the Federal Republic of Nigeria which has to be implemented.
When citing Section 22 (P) of the NIMASA Act, which provides chance for the Agency to provide maritime security, he noted that the IMO frowns at troubles of military engagement in commercial activities.


Also lending his voice to condemn the proposed bill, the Chairman, Ports Consultative Council, Kunle Folarin noted that Nigeria is a vital stakeholder in the international maritime space, therefore the need to workout caution in amending any bill that may jeopardise the future of Nigeria in the worldwide maritime sector.
In his words, "NIMASA’s efforts on regional co-operation should really be consolidated, rather than trying to usurp some of the functions of the Agency as it will impact the day to day operations of NIMASA in carrying out its mandates."


He having said that was swift to caution that the House of Representatives Committee on Maritime Security, Education and Administration ought to make certain that NIMASA and Nigerian Navy ought to not function at cross-purposes as they are each vital to the security and security of the nation’s territorial waterways.
Meanwhile, the representative of the Association of Marine Engineers and Surveyors (AMES), Emmanuel Ilori in sturdy terms also condemned the moves by the Nigerian Navy to usurp the roles of NIMASA by way of in search of amendment to the bill.


According to him, he mentioned that the Cabotage fund need to not be raided to fund an additional Agency of government that already has a price range from the Federal Government. He referred to as on the Navy to seek for more budgetary funding from the right supply and not from NIMASA as each Agencies’ have their jurisdiction as with regards to spending budget and expenditure.


"NIMASA is already investing in infrastructure that will lead to a total coverage of the maritime sector, therefore the will need to encourage them for the excellent of the maritime sector. At this vital time, it is premature to seek any type of amendment and we will need to assistance NIMASA on this far more so we are going to IMO once more and Nigeria should not be an object of ridicule again, "Ilori mentioned.


Other Stakeholders who also condemned the proposed bill contain, the President of the Stevedoring Association of Nigeria, Mr. Bolaji Sunmola, representative of the Nigerian Maritime Law Association (NMLA) Mrs. Oritsema Tosa, Lagos coordinator of the Nigerian Ship Owners Association (NISA), Captain Taiwo Akinpelumi, Director Common, NISA, Engr. Oliver Ogbuagu, Secretary Basic, Abuja MoU, Mrs. Mfon Usoro amongst other individuals unanimously known as for caution, noting that NIMASA wants much more strength in order to be capable to carry out its function properly.


In his comment, the Director Common, NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside noted that NIMASA is a accountable agency and will generally encourage collaborations rather than acrimonies.
The NIMASA boss who was represented by the Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, Mr. Ahmed Gambo stated that, "it is national interest and challenges of international finest practices that is top rated most it is not an concern of NIMASA versus the Nigerian Navy."
He applied the chance to urge the Residence Committee to take an informed position on the matter ahead of them in the interest of the nation, to consolidate the powers of the Agency, rather than do otherwise.


Earlier in his opening remarks, the Chairman of the House Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration, Mohammed Umaru Bago observed that the maritime business is so vital to the nation and its economy in distinct that anything regarding its statutory and regulatory framework should really be provided adequate legislative attention.


The Speaker of the Home of Representative Yakubu Dogara, who was represented by Dr. Ossai Ossai, who is also the Chairman of the Committee on Ethics and Privilege, noted that the essence of the Public Hearing is to give everybody an chance to air their views and contribute to the legislative course of action.


Meanwhile, Dakuku has stated that capacity creating initiatives and sectorial reforms are vital components that can address maritime safety troubles in the Gulf of Guinea.
He created this position identified in a paper presented at a G7 high level meeting on maritime safety in Rome, Italy. The NIMASA DG noted that despite the security challenges becoming faced in the region, lots of concerted efforts with Stakeholders and other government Agencies have been place in location to check the menace.

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