…Barriers against investment in water transportation, tourism
…Protracted court battle needless, says Mamora
By Seun Ibiyemi
The lingering dispute between Lagos State and the Federal Government over the control of waterways has come to a rest, with the signing of an agreement for cooperation by both parties on Monday.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu received the officials of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) led by the Managing Director, Sen. Olorunnimbe Mamora, for the ratification of the treaty, which will guarantee a better working relationship between NIWA and Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA).
The row over the control of waterways surrounding Lagos started more than 10 years ago between NIWA and LASWA, with both parties locking horns in a protracted legal battle. With the new agreement, both parties will now have a joint responsibility to ensure safety, harmonise tariffs and monitor regulations on the waterways.
After signing the agreement, Gov. Sanwo-Olu said the development implied the unlocking of investment in water transportation, which is one of the cardinal projects of his administration.
The Governor described the treaty as “right choice” to end the long-drawn-out rift, pointing out that the ceremony was a testimony to the benefits the citizens could gain when agencies of government agree to collaborate.
He said: “I congratulate these two agencies of government that have found it right to collaborate. This is one of the progresses we have made to promote ease of doing business and as regulators, we must always find a way to close our differences in order to convince investors and private sector.
“Transportation is one of the cardinal objectives of this administration. We have said we have plans to introduce a comprehensive intermodal transportation system, which will cover rail, roads and waterways. A critical component of this objective is what this agreement just enabled for us. It means we are prepared for investors and partners who have shown interest in partnership on waterway transportation to move our people from one part of the state to another.
“We are assuring investors that issues around regulations between these agencies of the state and Federal governments have eased out. Investors don’t have anything to fear again. The safety of people that will be using the ferry services for tourism and leisure is paramount. This is one of the things the agreement has addressed. We can monitor and ensure regulations are followed, since both agencies are now in agreement.”
Sanwo-Olu said the effort by his government to harness the State’s potential in water tourism had received a boost with the signing of the agreement, saying the treaty had removed impediments preventing the state from tapping investment in water tourism.
Mamora said the agreement was signed in good faith and in the best interest of the people, noting that the previous administration in the State prepared the groundwork for collaboration between NIWA and LASWA.
The NIWA boss said Sanwo-Olu’s anxiousness to see the end of the dispute led to the agreement, which would result in increased surveillance on waterways, harmony in tariffs and regulations.
“We don’t need the court to intervene in ensuring safety on waterways and protecting the rights of our people and avoiding multiple taxation which discourages investors. These are the areas we are partnering on. This agreement shows that we care for our people, particularly the users of the waterways.
“This agreement means better life for our people. What we have signed today will promote better working relationship and collaboration for the good of our people. Our desire is to see the possibility of settling out of court, because this disagreement has been on for over 10 years. The most important thing is that, once we have this understanding, we won’t have issues. Investors, too, would be free to come in, since they know there is no friction and restrictions again.”
Also, the LASWA General Manager, Mr Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, expressed optimism that the collaboration would promote safety standards on waterways, adding that it would open up the sector for sustainable development.
Transport professionals hail Jamoh’s success as CIOTA President
…As Chief of Army Staff commends Institute
By Seun Ibiyemi
Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh OFR has received commendation for his efforts in transforming and promoting the transportation sector as President of the Chartered Institute of Transport Administration of Nigeria (CIoTA).
The accolades poured in during the 4th National Transport Summit of the Institute in Abuja, Tuesday.
In the same vein, the Nigerian Army and other security agencies pledged their support to the growth and improvement of the country’s transportation sector to international standards, expressing their willingness to collaborate with CIoTA to achieve this feat.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Faruq Yahaya who was represented by Maj Gen. E Akerejola commended the President and members of CIoTA for the many economic sectors it touches on. From facilitating international trade, supporting food security and enabling industrial and infrastructural development.
The COAS stated that the theme of the summit “Transport Safety and Security Administration in Nigeria,” was also timely, as it is “an important aspect of the Transportation sector which has often been overlooked by many including the transport professionals and academia.”
”Over the years, the transportation sector has witnessed series of issues and challenges ranging from poor infrastructure, poor regulations, limited specialised professional training institutions, lack of effective and efficient transport policies, intra industry squabbles among transport professionals, to unethical behaviours, poor working condition amongst others,” he said.
He reassured the Institute of the Nigerian Army’s resolve to support the transportation sector wherever necessary.
On his part, President CIoTA and DG of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh whose speech was read by Prof Samuel Odewumi noted that the theme for this year’s summit is focused on safety and security of the transportation sector in Nigeria.
In his words, “We were able to achieve the Chartering of the Institute, Renewed Advocacy, Vigorous Membership Drive and Certification. This year’s summit focuses on Safety & Security on all modes of transportation; hence we must all work together as stakeholders and custodians of the transportation sector of Nigeria. Safety and security are paramount to achieving a robust and intermodal transport regime in Nigeria.
“CIoTA is the only statutory professional association in charge of the Transportation Industry in Nigeria; therefore deserves to be accorded its place in nomination of members into relevant agencies and in consultations for policy formulation and implementation strategies. It is the right thing to do. As a Chartered Institute, our role is very huge; with great opportunities and challenges. Let’s focus on the job at hand,” Jamoh stated.
Also speaking at the event, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council, Emmanuel Jime, represented by Chief C.C Agu, said, “without security and safety, transport cannot develop, and transport itself happens to be the catalyst for development of the economy.”
He charged the Summit to come up with a standard to bring sanity to the country’s transportation systems.
Other speakers at the event include, Director General of the Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology (NITT) Zaria, the Rector, International Aviation College Ilorin, Col. Yakubu Okatahi, the representative of the Ogun State Governor and Commandant TRACE, Prince Olaseni Ogunyemi.
NPA port community system will support Blue Economy potentials — MD
By Seun Ibiyemi
The Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko has said the planned port community system (PCS) by the authority is also geared towards supporting the nation’s economy to harvest more benefits from the blue economy.
Bello-Koko who said this in London where he is attending the 33rd session of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) General Assembly, described the initiative as a game changer that will integrate all stakeholders within the maritime sector, promote national economy and support security of vessels, crew members and cargoes within the Nigerian maritime domain.
He also expressed optimism that Nigeria will achieve the port automation and necessary integration ahead of the IMO 2025 deadline set for member countries.
The NPA MD who is on the entourage of the Honourable Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, CON and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, added that the PCS will foster transparency, support ease of doing business and trade facilitation.
He explained some steps taken by the authority to set the PCS in motion ahead of the 2025 IMO deadline to include development of automation-based processes. In the past, before the introduction of e-sen, (Electronic Ship Entry Notice), it took about two weeks from the time of application to the time of approval and issuance of the ship entry notice certification.
However, since the introduction of electronic processing of ship entry notice, it takes about one hour for a function that used to take up to one or two weeks, depending on the idiosyncrasies of the man on the table and all the tables the documents need to pass through.
He said the system will save cost of doing business and make our ports trade friendly by carrying out a function of two weeks in one hour and enhance faster ship turnaround time.
He added that NPA collaborative efforts with the IMO to achieve a world class port community system is at an advanced stage and would soon migrate into implementation in line with global standards.
Bello-Koko added that while in London, the Honourable Minister will lead Nigeria’s delegation into a series of bilateral meetings with Ministers of Marine affairs of Greece, Mexico and Qatar today to set the stage for improved Nigeria’s participation in global maritime trade.
Maritime Workers kick over extortion of truck drivers on port access roads
The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has said that it would no longer tolerate the extortion and constant harassment of truck drivers on port access roads.
This is even as the union entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) and Nexus Association of Maritime Transport Operators (NAMTOP).
Apart from protecting truckers from harassment, intimidation and extortion by security operatives controlling traffic, unions insist that the MoU is also truckers and Dockworkers welfare.
Speaking during the signing of the MoU held at the NARTO National secretariat in Lagos, President General of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju lamented that truckers spend more money per trip due to illegal payment ranging from N30,000 and above at checkpoints created by security personnel that control traffic.
This, he said, has continued to result in high cost of transportation as truck owners increase their bills, which at the end, is passed to the end user of the products.
Adeyanju warned that the union would no longer tolerate any form of harassment and extortion of truck drivers by Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) officials and other security agencies adding that MWUN may be forced to declare a trade dispute should the harassment of truckers, especially within the port access roads, continues.
“This is a new dawn in the history of truckers operation where we have leaders of the various maritime and transport unions coming together to form this collaboration. The Lagos state government should look into the extortion of truckers and make sure they organised the LASTMA management.
“With this collaboration, on behalf of MWUN, the era of impounding trucks on the roads against this collaboration stops as from today. We have signed a legitimate MoU and we are working within the ports. If any truck is arrested on the road, we might be forced to declare a trade dispute against the constituted authority in the Nigerian ports because the truckers have suffered enough in the hands of those that are supposed to protect them,” he warned.
Adeyanju also highlighted the importance of sincerity and commitment from all parties involved in the collaboration, stating that if there is no sincerity of purpose, the collaboration may fail.
On his part, National President of NARTO, Yusuf Othman, said the collaboration by the unions will enhance the operations of members.
“This collaboration is signed today so that we can have better operations. Transporters have suffered alot in the hands of non-state actors and security agencies. So this is high time we come together to get a better result,” he said.
Representative and Chairman, Board of Trustees of NAMTOP, Maroof Raheem said, “We have a reason to collaborate together for us to succeed in the face of the challenge we are facing in the industry. Truckers are facing a lot of harassment from security agencies despite being on the roads for weeks. That is why we are collaborating with MWUN because they are in the port 24/7.”
Also speaking, Patron of NAMTOP, Chief Remi Ogungbemi, expressed optimism about the collaboration just as he commended the MWUN PG for his efforts in transforming the union.
“We have never had it so peaceful with MWUN like the way we have it now, there was a time when a year will hardly pass without you seeing dead bodies on the road as a result of fighting and all that, but all that has changed now,” he said.
Ogungbemi commended the collaborative spirit that paves the way for a more harmonious working relationship.
Alhaji Salami Ishola, a trucker, and a key figure in the collaborative efforts, expressed joy and sense of triumph over past challenges, emphasising the resilience required to bring these entities together.
“It’s been a while that we have been trying to come together, but it has been difficult. But I am happy today because we are coming together to speak in one voice to tackle issues affecting us,” he said.
On his part, Mr Aloga Ogbogo, the Executive Secretary of NARTO, provided a poignant perspective on the journey leading to this collaborative milestone.
“The journey to where we are today has not been easy,” he admitted, reflecting on his proactive approach in initiating discussions with MWUN’s leadership. Ogbogo highlighted the relevance of trucks at the port to MWUN, emphasizing the need for collaboration to address shared concerns.
Ogbogo expressed deep appreciation to the MWUN’s President General, citing the transformative impact on the union’s history.
“Today, history has been made in the maritime industry, and to God be the glory,” he declared.
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