Emeka Akabogu (Lawyer)
Ship owners are ordinarily one of the most important stakeholders in the maritime industry and have the power to hold the key regulators accountable. Unfortunately, this key stakeholder group has not been able to do that in the last couple of years due to a lack of cohesion and inability to speak with one voice. The proliferation of ship owners’ associations may be a factor in this, but not necessarily the cause. If the various ship owners’ associations have a singleness of purpose and work together, they can help in developing the country by holding the government to account and channeling the right policy and decision-making.
Mr. Paul Ndibe (CILT)
The various shipping associations and organizations that are being formed are for the interest of the operators in that sector. The only thing is that there should be a way associations can moderate their practices and behaviors so that it will not be dysfunctional. And instead of aiding shipping it will now be destroying issues relating to shipping. And on that other level with the expectations that African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will open up exports for Nigerians, we cannot do all our exports by road, majority will go through the sea given the coastal lines we have in Africa. And in that sense this multiplicity if shipping associations we have might be able to start developing capacity no matter the level to take of the chain in this sector.
Rev Jonathan Nicol(SALS)
There is nothing wrong in forming associations; it is a means of coming together to do things in common and in agreement. So if the association is known as ship owners association there is nothing wrong with them coming together at all because you know in this country, you have to fight for everything and the government doesn’t give anything unless you fight for it. And the shortest way to get what you want is to form an association to achieve a particular objective and to be recognized and get what you are entitled to get from the government.
Yes I believe, it is good, as long as the regulatory body recognized it, they have their members who are working for their common interest, so I see no disadvantage in the proliferation of the association as long as they work for one common interest.
Aminu Umar (NISA President)
I have said it before, it is my wish that all the association can come under one umbrella, this would make us speak in one formidable voice, but on the other hand I don’t think having the different groups has affected the shipping industry in any way. Barrister Alex Afolalu (Maritime Lawyer)
As a lawyer, I will tell you everybody have the right to freedom of association however for the benefits of the association I would say, having proliferation of associations is not good for the industry, because you will agree with me that there would be differences in agreement, the ability to speak in one accord may likely not happen all the time. But, going forward I would suggest that coming together under one umbrella will be the best for the industry. John Okpono
The only thing I will advise is that it depends on the content we put something, one the constitutional provision for freedom of association, so when you have freedom of association I see nothing bad in belonging to any group, the only problem there is that can they work in unity? I belong to a group called ITF which covers over 300 states with more than 50 million members, but we have a common ground we meet and discourse, but when we have proliferation of ship owners association, can they come together as one, do they form a common goal, so these are the things we need to look at, to see if it benefits the maritime industry or not.