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Analyses

Now That Moghalu Has Lost

Eyewitness reporter

George Moghalu, the Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) was among the 14 candidates who contested the All Progressive Party (APC) governorship primary for the November 6th  governorship elections in Anambra state.

At the party’s Anambra state primary election held last week, Moghalu came a distant third, losing the APC ticket to Senator Andy Uba.

According to the results announced Sunday, June 27th, 2021 at Golden Tulips Hotel, Agulu Lake, the NIWA boss garnered 18, 596 votes to come a distant third to Senator Uba, who grossed 230, 201 votes, thus putting paid to the ambition of Moghalu to govern Anambra state, at least in the next four years.

We are not by any means celebrating the electoral defeat of the NIWA boss nor gloating over the temporary setback in his electoral fortunes.

But what the Anambra people may have lost in denying Moghalu the APC ticket to vie for the highest position in the state, is now the NIWA gains.

We believe that now that Moghalu has lost in his ambition to run the state, at least at this period, he would now give maximum concentration to the administration of inland waterways in the country.

Chief Moghalu, a core member of the ruling party, was appointed as the Managing Director of NIWA in October 2019 to replace Senator Olorunbe Mamora who was appointed as the Minister of State for Health.

Until his appointment in 2019, Moghalu was the  National Auditor of his party.

Stakeholders claimed he was a reluctant NIWA boss as he still had his eyes firmly fixed on politics and how to fulfil his ambition to become the governor of Anambra State at the time he took over in 2019.

His action and miens betrayed his political ambition even while he reluctantly assumed duties at the Lokoja headquarters of the agency.His political ambition, which he could barely conceal, even at the early stage of his tenure, divided his attention and impaired his performance in the discharge of his core duties as NIWA boss.

The harvest of avoidable mishaps on the waterways, lack of will power by NIWA to enforce standard and regulations on the operators clearly showed management which lacked commitment and focus.

The failed state of some of our River ports, the under-utilisation of Onitsha Rivers Port, which one thought could have engaged his attention for obvious reasons, was also a pointer to leadership with divided interests.

The lifeless nature of NIWA’s leadership got to an alarming proportion when the waterways began to witness almost daily mishaps.

Stakeholders, who were concerned by the apparent lack of commitment and focus of NIWA leadership, began to voice out their trepidation over gradual decay and rot on our waterways.

They blamed lack of will to enforce regulations, safety, standard, and lack of regulation such as overloading, night voyage, rickety and old craft as causes of mishaps on the inland waterways.

The erstwhile President of Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA), Alhaji Aminu Umar,  believed that enforcement of safety and standard on the nation’s inland waterways is weak.

“I think the task of NIWA  is to standadise safety conditions and procedures on the nation’s waterway.

“There is no standard applied on the movement of people as all kind of boats are being used. It is important that we standardise because lack of safety and standard will increase accident.”

Umar was also alarmed at the unregulated movement of barges with passengers boats which he said was accidents in waiting, blaming it on the lack of weak regulatory powers of NIWA.

He said it’s a huge risk allowing badges moving containers around the port area to be moving side by side with boats moving passengers and vessels approaching the Lagos Ports.

“Moving people and containers at the same time is a huge risk and a safety concern. NIWA and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), should see to this,”

Another concerned stakeholder, a professor at the Lagos Business School, Dr. Frank Ojadi,  was alarmed at the level to which the Nigerian inland waterways has deteriorated.

He said it was shameful that the nation’s Inland waterways are in ruins and left to rot away instead of being a catalyst for development.

” The Inland Waterway Transport was the platform on which the colonial masters built Nigeria before the railway. It is a shame that it has been left to decay. That is how we do things in this country,” he said.

Also speaking, a member of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Kenneth Nwachukwu, asked why it was so difficult for NIWA to enforce the banning of night sailing, use of life jacket and overcrowding of boats?

“That the MD is unable to ban night sailing, use of life jacket and overloading is another testament that a lot still needed to be done to clean-up our inland waterways”.

The alarm raised by these stakeholders was an eloquent testimony to the level of loose control from the leadership of NIWA and this could be the function of lack of commitment and focus.

That is why stakeholders said the loss of Moghalu in the APC primaries, though painful, was a blessing for NIWA.

They believe the loss will now afford Moghalu ample time to focus on how to direct the affairs of NIWA to achieve maximum efficiency.

“Now that he has lost, he should concentrate on the job he is being paid for,”  an angry operator on the nation’s inland waterways said.

“We urge him to pay more attention on how to enforce standard and safety on the waterways to forestall further loss of lives and properties on the waters” another stakeholder interjected.

The stakeholders believed the relative calm and safety on the Lagos waterways was largely due to the activities and purposeful leadership of the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) which has been proactive, focused and committed in its quest to enforce discipline on the waterways.

“If left for NIWA, the Lagos waterways could also have witnessed the similar harvest of mishaps as the case in other parts of the country,” another operator said.

“NIWA has practically gone into a coma under its present management as the activities of the agency are not being felt going by the regular mishaps that happen on our waterways where it is now free for all for all kind of boats and crafts whose operators have no or little regards for standard and safety,”  an expert in the industry said.

It is therefore the general wish of all stakeholders that Chief Moghalu, now that he has lost the Anambra state APC primary election, would give his assignment at NIWA the utmost priority, maximum and committed attention it deserves in order to bring order and sanity to the nation’s waterways.

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Analyses

Maritime Labour’s selfish stand against Ports and Harbour Bill

Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, PG, MWUN

The Eyewitness News Analysis

For nine years, maritime labour has fought against the passage of the Ports and Harbour Bill 2015.

Initiated in the eighth Assembly and sponsored by Senator Andy Uba of Anambra South Senatorial District in 2015, the bill, read for the first time on the floor of the National Assembly in 2016, seeks, among other things, the decentralization of ports operations by involving more private interests in ports operations.

The purpose is to open up the ports space for massive investments and attract private sector funds that would be used to build massive port infrastructure.

The bill, if allowed to be passed into law, will repeal the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) ACT 1955 as amended by Act CAP 126 LFN 2004 and establish Nigerian Ports and Harbour Authority.

The bill seeks to further consolidate the gains of the 2006 ports concession programme which ceded terminal operations functions of the NPA to the private interests.

However, the bill which enjoyed accelerated hearing on the floor of both the Senate and the House of Representatives, was stalled and got stuck at the ninth National Assembly where it had passed through the third and final reading and waiting to be passed to the House of Representatives for concurrence before its transmission to the President for his assent.

The maritime labour under the aegis of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria( MWUN) had mobilised its massive membership across the maritime space to stall the passage of the bill.

The major reason for its opposition, according to Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, the President-General of the Union, is the fear of job loss for the teeming members of the union.

The position of the Maritime Workers union is quite understandable and in tandem with the modus operandi of all labour unions.

No matter the nobility and credibility of the objectives of any public service reform, if it conflicts with the interests of the members, the labour unions will fight it.

In as much as we sympathise with the position of maritime labour on the issue of the Ports and Harbour bill, its position against the passage of this noble bill, is at best, selfish and self–serving.

The Union has not controverted the public benefits which the bill, when passed into law, will bring to the Port operations in the country.

Such benefits as attracting more private sector funds to develop the maritime industry and fix the decaying port infrastructure, thus making our ports more attractive and competitive globally.

Over the years, the government has been overwhelmed with the demands to fund public infrastructures, hence its attraction to concessions, collaborations and partnerships with private sectors in order to get their funds for the development of some critical public infrastructures.

The worsening economy in the country has further placed a huge burden on the government so much so that it has started to falter in some of its financial obligations to these public infrastructures.

Further borrowing will sink the economy into a deeper mess as the country still wallows in the anguish of repaying its humongous debts.

So private participation such as the one being sought by the Port and Harbor Bill will save the nation’s sea ports from further decay due to the inability of the government to fund such a huge commitment.

For many years, the Nigerian Ports Authority has been going cap in hands to the multi- national finance companies to seek $800 million needed to rehabilitate the dilapidated ports infrastructures at Apapa, Tin Can, Onne and Calabar ports, an amount the Federal government could not afford.

Many stakeholders fear that the terms for such loans may not be too favourable to Nigeria as the lenders, in order to hedge against any risks, may hold the NPA to ransom, thus mortgaging our ports to foreign interests.

But with the passage of the contended bill, private sector funds will be readily available to carry out such remedial works without necessarily mortgaging our ports to the imperialist multi-national Finance corporations.

The labour union should rise above its selfish and parochial interests and look at the larger picture of the more developed and efficient port system under deregulated port operations.

The same opposition the Labor put up against the port concession programme of 2006 because of fear of job loss.

Yes, the programme recorded some casualties just as similar reform exercises, but the end eventually justified the means.

As widely acknowledged by the stakeholders, port concession, which ceded terminal operations to private interests, has resulted to massive infrastructural rebirth at the Nigerian Ports.

Terminal operations have become highly efficient, fast and safe which has led to a quicker rate of turnaround time of vessels.

The concessionaires have injected massive funds for the infrastructural development of the terminals.

While the concession programme shipped out redundant labourers, those who survived the purge now earn fatter salaries with mouth-watering remunerations and fantastic welfare packages which was not the case during the pre-concession era.

Comrade Adewale Adeniyi at one time attested to this change in the financial fortunes of his members who are working at the terminals.Working against the passage of the Ports and Harbour Bill will be tantamount to stagnating the progress of the ports and the retardation of the financial fortunes of the very workers the union is claiming to be fighting for.

We understand that there would be casualties just as in the port concession programme and other reforms exercises, but those who are left will enjoy the benefits of the reform.

We are not an advocate of job loss especially at this trying time of the economy when the unemployment market is congested but no surgery is carried out without pain.

No reform is without casualties but the end will certainly justify the means.

Rather than the labour union throw away the baby with the birth water and oppose the passage of the bill in its entirety, the leadership of the union led by the amiable and indefatigable Prince Adewale Adeyanju, should seek to sit with the government and find a common ground for mutual benefits.

No government would be as insensitive as to throw away its workers who have staked their lives and energies to build an entity without adequate compensation and reward.

Just as what happened during the negotiations over the workers’ fate at the concession exercise when the affected workers were given a soft landing, the labour Union could made a similar demand to give a soft landing for any casualty that may be recorded under the disputed bill.

But to outrightly ask the government to jettison the bill which the generality of stakeholders had described as a new dawn in the maritime industry would be the height of self-preservation and selfishness, thereby placing the interests of few persons over the general good of the industry.

We understand the frustration of Comrade Adewale Adeyanju and his team over their inability to access the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola yet, we advise the team should be more persistent and patient.

With patience and diplomacy, the Minister will grant them an audience.

The Union should desist from clothing its interests for opposing the bill in the garb of public interests as it sought to do when its leadership claimed that the bill will expose the port space to security risks, a claim that is not verifiable and an attempt to blackmail the government.

Comrade Adewale Adeyanju should not yield to the urge to disrupt port activities should the union not have its way over the bill as the industry has enjoyed an uncommon industrial peace and harmony since he ascended the leadership of the union, a feat that was largely attributed to his style of negotiation rooted in lobbying and dialogue.

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Analyses

Nigerian Shippers’ Council: An economic regulator as hypocritical arbiter 

Emmanuel Jime, NSC Boss
The Eyewitness Reporter
Today, Tuesday, October 24th, 2023, the looming disruption of port operations by the distraught freight forwarders who were protesting what they called a unilateral increase in terminal charges by the terminal operators, was dissipated when all the parties involved in the cargo value chain, especially the freight forwarders, were called for the re-negotiation of the increase.
The  Nigerian Shippers’Council, which was said to have approved the initial increase without the involvement of the freight forwarders, beat a quick retreat amidst mounting pressure from the irate freight forwarders and called for a truce between the contending parties.
Yesterday, Monday, October 23rd, under the siege of the rampaging freight forwarders, the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) who had stormed the corporate office of the  Nigerian Shippers’Council Council, the Executive  Secretary of the council, Emmanuel Jime, had quickly recanted the initial hike, said to be over 600 percent, admitting that there was an error in the process leading to the increase.
Held ” hostage” by the protesting freight forwarders troop, marshaled by the Field Commander, Alhaji Tanko Ibrahim, the National Coordinator, NAGAFF 100 percent Compliance team, Jime agreed that the council had made a mistake.
“There were certain steps that were not proper; so we will review them immediately” Jime admitted while addressing the irate freight forwarders on Monday, October 23rd, 2023.

“I’ll make sure that we re-engage the process in a way that will meet the needs and expectations of stakeholders in the industry.”

“I have personally discovered that our internal mechanism has not been properly implemented in order for us to arrive at the decision that we made.

“We made that decision, I cannot deny it, but the decision was made on the basis of some information that was provided by certain people.
.”We’ll review the decision,”
True to his words, Jime quickly convened a meeting among the terminal operators, shipping companies, and freight forwarders where the parties mutually agreed to a price hike of 400 percent.
With this, all parties were happy and the looming unrest in the port was dispersed.
The whole scenario has exposed the hypocrisy and insincerity of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council which is the economic regulator and statutory arbiter between the terminal operators and the shippers.
By its status and stature, the council is statutorily mandated to protect the interests of shippers against the imperialist tendency of the terminal operators.
It was at a later stage of its creation, that the scope of its functions was expanded to economic regulation which gives it the authority to mediate between the shippers and the service providers in terms of charges and services.
In the build-up to the initial increase which the council was said to have endorsed, why didn’t Jime and his management team do the right thing as espoused by the concession agreement that negotiations on price increase by the terminal operators should involve the shippers as represented by their agents and the terminal operators?
What is the input of the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy who has to endorse the increase as recommended by the shippers council as contained in the concession agreement?
The Nigerian Shippers’ Council had all along been playing the Ostrich as its management kept sealed lips over the template adopted for the initial hike.
It was not until the heat from the agitating freight forwarders was getting unbearable that the Council’s  Emmanuel Jime started to make his confession.
Like the politician he is, he was quick to recount the initial flawed process he was involved in order to stave off the looming unsavory consequence.
From the confession made by the Shippers’ Council boss, it was obvious that the council did not involve the freight forwarders in the initial process leading to the 600 percent now-rested hike.
It shows the height of insincerity and an act of complicity on the part of the Shippers ‘Council to have secretly approved the initial hike without following due process.
In as much as the terminal operators have the right to increase their charges, given the prevailing economic situation in the country, the shippers and their freight agents who will bear the brunt of the hike have the right to be part of the negotiation.
This was what the Shippers’Council did today, Tuesday, October 24th, 2023, though belatedly.
If the NAGAFF troop as commandeered by the fiery Tanko Ibrahim had not carried out physical blockage of some terminals and laid a siege on the headquarters of the Shippers’Council in protest, then it goes without saying that the initial hike would have gone unchallenged.
The council, in this matter, had given itself away as a biased and compromised arbiter whose hands have to be forced to do the right thing.
If the council had abinitio followed the due process in this matter, it would have saved the industry the avoidable tension that was generated in the last one week.
One thing stands out: no one, including the freight forwarders, has denied the necessity of a price hike, but the point of friction was the failure of the commercial regulator to toe the line of due diligence.
Unfortunately, the council, by this act of commission or omission, may have sustained a deep cut in its approval rating among the shippers whose interests it was statutorily created to protect and at the same time lost the confidence of the freight forwarders as an impartial arbiter.
Kudos to Tanko Ibrahim and his team who refused to be docile like the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) whose new leadership has displayed an unimaginable level of docility in this cause.
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Analyses

Jamoh’s three years in office: Achievements, Prospects, Projections

Bashir Jamoh, DG, NIMASA

Today marks the third year when Dr Bashir Jamoh was appointed as the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency(NIMASA).

During these eventful years, Nigeria’s maritime industry has witnessed astronomical growth and quantum development which has earned the country international recognition and goodwill.

In this comprehensive profile of the administration of the Kaduna State-born technocrat in NIMASA, theeyewitnessnews reporter takes a cursory look at the achievements, prospects and projections of the agency to make the industry more robust for efficiency, investments and accelerated growth.  

 

The Mandate

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) was established by an Act of Parliament (The NIMASA Act 2007) with two cardinal objectives, namely;

  1. To Regulate and Promote Maritime Safety, Security, Marine Pollution and Maritime Labour.
  2. To promote the development of Indigenous Commercial Shipping in International and Coastal Shipping Trade

 

The Agency derives its mandate from four Acts of the National Assembly. These are NIMASA Act, 2007, Cabotage Act, 2003, Merchant Shipping Act, 2007 and SPOMO Act, 2019.

VISION 

To be the leading maritime administration in Africa advancing Nigeria’s global maritime goals

MISSION 

To achieve and sustain safe, secure shipping, cleaner oceans and enhanced maritime capacity in line with global best practices towards Nigeria’s economic development

OUR CORE VALUES

C – COMMITMENT

A – ACCOUNTABILITY

P – PROFESSIONALISM

I – INTEGRITY

T – TEAMWORK

E – EXCELLENCE

L – LEADERSHIP

D – DISCIPLINE

 

OUR PERFORMANCE TRIPOD

MARITIME SECURITY S1: 

Security of the Maritime Domain is very critical to the day-to-day operation of the sector. Security helps to boost investors’ confidence; hence, the following key accomplishments are under the current dispensation.

  1. Signing into law of the SPOMO Act by Mr. President
  2. The launch of the Deep Blue Project
  3. Significant Reduction in Piracy and Kidnappings
  4. Arrests and Successful Prosecution of Criminals
  5. Leadership of Regional Maritime Collaboration Forum to tackle Insecurity
  6. Nigeria’s Removal from IBM’s Red List

 

AIM OF THE DEEP BLUE PROJECT

The aim of the project is to establish a sustainable architecture for improved maritime safety and security through increased monitoring and compliance enforcement within Nigeria’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), with a view to effectively tackling the challenges of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

THE DEEP BLUE PROJECT ASSETS BREAKDOWN 

Classified into 3 (three) with over 254 personnel drawn from Military and paramilitary organizations. These are; Marine, Land and Air Assets.

  • Marine Assets

Special Mission Vessels – 2 (DB Abuja and DB Lagos)

Fast Intervention Boats – 17

  • Air Assets

Special Mission Helicopters 3

Special Mission Aircrafts 2

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)

  • Land Assets

Armored Vehicles – 17

Facilities – Command, Control, Computer, Communication and Intelligence (C4i) Centre, Training Facilities (Shooting Range, C4i Training Centre etc.). Training; various training for all personnel in the deep blue project on the assets and facilities.

THE INTER-OPERABILITY OF THE DEEP BLUE ASSETS

  1. Effective implementation of the Deep Blue Project contributed to the reduction in piracy cases with only one piracy case as of May 2022, 6 cases in 2021 from 35 cases  in 2020 and 2019 respectively

OUR PERFORMANCE TRIPOD

MARITIME SAFETY S2:

The Agency observed that shipping is critical to global trade, yet it is the most vulnerable in terms of safety. This explains the reason the IMO (International Maritime Organization) adopted the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention to ensure the safety of those involved.

Consequently, empowered by enabling legislations, NIMASA takes this as a critical aspect of its job to ensure safety of ships and those on board, through proper enforcement of maritime safety conventions.

 

ACHIEVEMENT AND INITIATIVES 

   

 

OUR PERFORMANCE TRIPOD 

 

SHIPPING DEVELOPMENT S3

 

 

The critical aspect of shipping development encompasses fleet expansion, shipbuilding and ship repairs. Shipping is responsible for over 90 percent of international transportation of goods that sustain the global supply chain, which is a significant component of the global economy, enhancing imports and exports of goods and services.

NIMASA is poised to advance shipping by ensuring a conducive environment for commercial shipping and encouraging more indigenous participation in the global shipping trade.

 

NSDP BREAKDOWN AS AT OCTOBER 2021

 

WASTE TO WEALTH PROGRAMME / EMPLOYMENT GENERATION – 1,190 MARINE LITTER MARSHALS

The Making of Nigeria’s Blue Economy Strategic Document

  • Vice President His Excellency Yemi Osinbajo will Chair the Expanded Committee on the Blue Economy Strategy Development and its Implementation Task Team.
  • The Federal Ministry of Transportation under the leadership of the Honourable Minister for Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi
  • Federal Ministry of Transportation as the Secretariat

BLUE ECONOMY AND LITTORAL STATES ENGAGEMENT

CABOTAGE VESSEL FINANCING FUND (CVFF) – STATUS OF DELIVERY

Presidential approval was granted for disbursement.

Primary lending institutions appointed.

Disbursement is likely second quarter of 2023.

 

MARITIME SAFETY

The Federal Executive Council, at the end of the last quarter of 2021, approved the wreck removals from the Badagry axis up to the Tincan Island project has gone

very far.

Again, in the first quarter of 2022, the Federal Executive Council approved the removal of the entire wrecks also in the other zones of Nigeria, comprising the Western zone with headquarters in Lagos, Eastern zone headquarters in Port Harcourt, and then the central Zone headquarters in Warri. All these projects have achieved major milestones.

We engaged the Nigerian Navy Naval Dockyard in Lagos to repair our operational vessels, Millennia 1 and Millennium 2. Today both vessels and five others are almost ready

 

 

 

for deployment for enforcement purposes. This will also enhance our search and rescue operation, and port and flag state administration amongst others.

In other to attend to the emergencies that may occur after Search and Rescue operations, the Agency has built two brand new Search and Base clinics of international standard at Azare Crescent, Apapa and Kirikiri. We are hopeful to commission it soon. The hospital is not for NIMASA or Nigeria, but for the original Regional States, NIMASA is in charge of nine countries in terms of Search and Rescue. The hospital is of high international standard, we hope to treat all calibers of patients locally, and internationally, with the state-of-the-art equipment the facility will possess, when completed.

In the area of our Flag and Port State Administration, at the inception of the administration, there was no single vessel for enforcement. Today, we have built seven brand new bulletproof boats and we expect them to have completed the building. They are being built in Spain, and we are hoping that before the end of March, we will receive and commission the vessel.

As soon as the vessels are commissioned, there will be enhanced enforcement performance; and we plan to divide the use of the vessels; not only in Lagos but also in other zones of the Agency. All these will cater for the issue of safety.

MARITIME SECURITY 

Before 2019, we do not have law, separate law that tried these offenders and criminals that we arrest those involved in piracy and kidnapping.

Therefore, we are trying to get this formal act Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Related Offences (SPOMO) Act signed by Mr. President in June 2019. As of today, we have secured convictions under this Act. This has also served as a deterrent to would-be criminals.

To further deter these criminalities on the waterways and make our youths gainfully employed, the Agency engaged the Marine Litter Marshals Usually;

In the area of education, the Agency introduced the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP). The Nigerian NSDP development program is a capacity development programme.

Now in order to ensure that we do not forget our own training institution in Nigeria, we have improved our interface with the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron. The Agency’s statutory funding of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria in Oron has been on point since 2020.

We have Simulators, among other state-of-the-art facilities, and the funding by NIMASA has been unhindered. This is in addition to other private maritime institutions, the private like Charkins, which are now also coming up with a lot of accreditation of diplomas and other short-term certificates that we are doing it locally, saving foreign exchange that we are having.

In addition to this initiative, the Agency created skill acquisition centres across six geopolitical zones. For the South-West we have Lagos, in the South-East we have Anambra, for South-South we have Bayelsa, in North-East, we have Maiduguri, Borno state; for North-West we have Kaduna State for North Central we have Kwara.

So all these skill acquisition centers have the capacity of training younger Nigerians on different aspects of professionalism under that. This is to help trim the number of this criminality in our own territorial waters. Records, therefore, show that from the third quarter of 2021 until date, we have never recorded one single attack in our own territorial water.

 

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