Recently, the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) rolled the red carpet to honour the immediate past Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council; Barrister Hassan Bello.
In a carnival-like setting, the association’s chieftains took turns to justify their decision to celebrate him. The association went on to crown him as Grand Patron.
Founder of the association, Dr. Bonniface Aniebonam stated that Hassan Bello has proven himself over the years to be an exemplary leader.
Aniebonam rehearsed the impact of Bello’s tenure on the nation’s maritime industry and particularly how his influence and polices have made business and live easy for freight forwarders.
While underscoring the impactful eight years’ tenure of Hassan Bello, the NAGAFF founder noted that, if not for Bello, perhaps the Nigerian Shippers’ Council would have long ceased to exist.
Also eulogizing the retired CEO, the National President of the Association, Dr Increase Uche described Bello as a quintessential servant leader, humble, amiable and a purposeful man of action, great performer and an achiever per excellence.
Highlighting some of the landmark achievements of Hassan Bello, the NAGAFF President listed the achievements to include: abrogation of all forms of illegal and unapproved charges by terminal operators and shipping companies, mediation role to address all forms of arbitrariness by the service providers, promotion of inter-agency relationship to ensure synergy and collaboration, re-enforcement of the Complaint and Monitoring Unit of the Council for prompt response to complaints and grievances from users of port services.
The honour done to Bello and the encomium were not different from how he was celebrated in June when the Nigerian Shippers’ Council equally rolled out the drums to ‘pull-out’ their own.
No retiring Chief Executive Officer of the Council was ever celebrated as Hassan Bello was at that colourful event in Lagos.
From the Minister of Transportation; Mr Rotimi Amaechi, to serving CEOs of sister government agencies to retired chief executives and eminent stakeholders, it was a day of encomiums.
“For him to be having this standing ovation at his departure, it means that he is a good man, and his going is a bit emotional for me and my family. We wish him well,” Amaechi said.
The Chairman, Governing Board of the Nigerian Shippers Council, Bashir Sheriff Machina, highlighted some achievements that were recorded by Bello. “Everybody knew NSC existed before Bello but nobody knew the potentials therein. He made NSC the port economic regulator, he commissioned the Kaduna Inland dry port, he facilitated the establishment of policy framework for Vehicle Transit Areas(VTA), Dala dry port in Kano, and established zonal offices for the council, among many other things.”
He told the large gathering that, “Hassan is a man who wanted to serve because of service not because of riches”.
On his part, the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency(NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, had described Bello as a book with many chapters. “There are chapters of Hassan Bello in the maritime industry. Any chapter you open you will find things interesting about him.”
He said Bello championed the Nigerian Port Process Manual(NPPM) to address efficiency at the port. He championed the elimination of corruption in the ports, while being instrumental to the synergy among agencies at the ports.
Yes, Bello championed a lot of things within his eight years as the CEO of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council.
Apart from the Inland Dry Ports, some of which are already functioning and the zonal head offices, one significant milestone recorded by the retired Chief Executive Officer is the bold move to enact the National Transport Commission (NTC) Bill.
He gave his all for the NTC Bill; pushed its return to the National Assembly twice and were it not for the withdrawal of assent by the President, the NTC would have been upstanding by now.
It is our hope that, considering the importance of the NTC, the Bill would be allowed eventual safe passage. This is one big legacy that Hassan Bello has bequeathed to the nation’s transportation industry.
Without mincing words, Hassan Bello also pushed for the introduction of Cargo Tracking Note also known as Advanced Cargo Information System (ACIS). Undoubtedly, due to his further engagement with stakeholders, the policy which was opposed by industry operators, including shipping lines and shippers and others when it was first mooted in 2015 has now been approved by the Federal Government due to rising insecurity in the country.
His was indeed eight shortest years at the helm of affairs as the CEO. From near-obscurity, he transformed the agency to a force to reckon with.
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