Lawyer seeks special recognition for maritime, transport sectors

Container stacking area at the port.

Container stacking area at the port.

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria and leading Maritime lawyer, Mr Chidi Ilogu, has said the maritime and the transport sectors deserve to be treated as specialized industry.

As such, he said the sector needs to be manned by specialists and technocrats who can add value to its policy implementation.

The senior advocate stated those as a guest speaker at the maiden Public lecture of the Department of Commercial and Industrial law in the faculty of law of the University of Lagos.

He spoke on a paper titled, ‘Contemporary Issues in Nigerian Maritime Law and Practice’.

He also called for the integration of all other agencies to work together towards achieving set policy objectives, adding that it will also help to facilitate purposeful policy implementation.

The SAN said despite the fact that Nigeria is endowed with extensive maritime jurisdiction with living and non-living resources that contribute substantially to the national economy, the coastal and waterways are still unexploited within the transport chain.

Ilogu also lamented that the much talked about ‘vision’ of turning the Nigerian Ports into a hub of the West and Central Africa sub-region remains ‘wishful thinking’ and not a reality after 40 years.

He added that there has also been little progress about dredging the ports channels and indeed the inland waterways.

The lawyer also used the opportunity to call on the National Assembly to expedite actions on the pending National Transport Commission bill and harped on the need to harmonized all versions to come up with a law that will be in the best interest of the transport industry.

He lamented the insecurity of the maritime industry and it effects on the economy.

He said: “Maritime security remains a major concern for international and coastal shipping in Nigeria with adverse consequences which include high freight and insurance costs, safety of cargo, passengers, crew and vessels.

“This concern is heightened by the fact that piracy and other violent attacks against the safe prosecution and execution of the sea voyage and oil and gas operation have been on the increase in the Gulf of Guinea.”

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