Agbakoba calls for unbundling of NIMASA… wants Shippers’ Council to regulate shipping
Maritime Lawyer, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) has called for the unbundling of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency(NIMASA).
Agbakoba made the call at a press briefing organised by his chambers to discuss the need for repositioning of the maritime sector, which he said could become Nigeria’s major revenue generator.
The human rights lawyer told newsmen that NIMASA had virtually become inefficient because it had taken on too many responsibilities in the maritime administration.
“I still hold the view that NIMASA should be unbundled.
“NIMASA was first the Nigerian Maritime Authority (NMA), and then, it swallowed the government inspector of shipping.
“Even that original NMA Law, there were too many things; there was Cabotage, ship development, cargo allocations.
“Safety and security was the government’s inspector of shipping, but NIMASA swallowed it,”Agbakoba said.
He also said that NIMASA took over the permanent representation of Nigeria at the International Seabed Authority, which was created by the United Nations for the common exploitation of the natural resources of the high seas.
According to Agbakoba, “NIMASA has become inefficient with too many responsibilities and needs to be unbundled.”
He was also of the view that Cabotage enforcement is a huge job and should be an agency on its own while suggesting that the Nigeria Shippers’ Council be the regulator of shipping in Nigeria.
In the same vein, Agbakoba said that the nation’s maritime and safety issues were better handle when it was the responsibility of the Government’s Inspector of Ships.
“In the old days, maritime safety and security issues were handled at 88 Marine Road. They had the skills to protect our waters.
“The second step was to assist them by creating a coast guard to patrol the waters; somehow, NIMASA felt they were the ones entitled to do maritime safety and security.
“So, government inspector of ships died and NIMASA took it over, with the consequences that we can now see. It hasn’t worked because they are dealing with far too many issues,” Agbakoba said.
The maritime lawyer concluded that it was important to interrogate policy of shipping and decide who does what.
He said Nigeria needed to go back to the international standard of practice where there is the maritime security and safety agency, now that Nigeria lacked it.