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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 right
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.

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 Shipping.

“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 shipping 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.



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