A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Igbokwe has charged the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) to extend its annual seminar for judges to universities, so as to properly educate intending lawyers on maritime laws.
Igbokwe gave this charge in a chat with Shipping Position Daily, in Lagos when he accompanied members of the National Association of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mining and Agriculture (NACCIMA) on a courtesy visit to the Nigerian Shippers’ Council in Apapa, Lagos.
He said one of the major challenges facing shippers especially, a Nigerian shipper is that when their ships are arrested, they are detained and they lose a lot of money while in detention which directly and indirectly affects the values of these ships and the finances of the owners.
Explaining further, Igbokwe said that even though nobody should take arrest out of the business, it should be properly managed to avoid loss of value.
“The Shippers’ Council, for many years has been organizing the National Judicial Summit for judges which has gone a long way to strengthen the judges and also the practitioners to become aware of maritime laws and how they affect shipping and the economy”, he noted.
He maintained that talking the seminar for judges to the universities will go a long way in helping the economy, even as he fingered ignorance as one of the greatest challenges in the sector.
“Now the question is, what do you intend to do with the seminar for judges what does your council intend to do to further take this trainings to the universities, so that by the time the lawyers are coming out, they would have become so familiar with the maritime law that they would be in a position to understand what they are supposed to do because it is also the lawyers that become judges. So if they are trained in the maritime law in the universities, that will go a long way in helping the economy because we believe that one of the greatest problems is ignorance”, he argued.
Reacting to this, the Executive Secretary of the NSC, Mr Hassan Bello, said that the council has been engaging the Nigerian University Commission (NUC) to introduce maritime law as a compulsory subject in university curriculum for law students.
He maintained that maritime law is neither thought in the universities or law schools, adding that maritime disputes are very expensive.
“My learned colleague, the issue of enlightenment is very important, as a matter of fact, the council has been engaging the Nigerian University Commission (NUC) to introduce maritime law as a compulsory subject in the universities because you have to start somewhere. This maritime law is neither thought in the Nigerian universities nor in the law school, maritime law disputes are very expensive, maritime law takes all the money. You know delays are occasioned at the court and when a shipper takes a case to the court it gets delayed because the law, lawyer and all that do not know. And to this occasion time is money especially, maritime business so we instituted maritime seminar to educate the judges and through that we have seen a lot of improvements”, he explained.
Bello disclosed that the there are lots of implications in arresting a ship which the judges are ignorant of the economic loss in arresting and detaining a ship, adding that the agency has put a lot of things in place to assist shippers that cannot pursue their case.