By Correspondent in Lagos
A call has gone to the appropriate authorities to establish a Regional Convention for Carriage of Goods to harmonise African interest.
Former Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Mr Hassan Bello, made the call in Lagos on Wednesday at a Cocktail party in his honour by the Nigeria Maritime Law Association (NMLA) in his honour.
He said the call became imperative because as a matter of necessity, Africa should have such body to boost trade among nations in the continent which he put at about 60 per cent in terms of diversity and infrastructure.
Bello,who note absence of common currency and common law about trade among Africans, stressed the need for restructuring to the enable Federal Government hands over ports; operations to local governments to manage while the Federal Government would serve as the regulator.
He said expressed delight over the Ibom Deep Sea Port, owned by the state government.
On the role of NMLA,Bello urged the association,to out of necessity, get involve in enacting modern legal system to support trade and address issues concerning carriage of goods.’’
He urged NMLA members to come together and work with his successor in the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, to form a legal system for modern trade on delivery of cargo.
He stressed the need for the transportation sector to also contribute to the economy like the mining, communication, and agriculture sectors.
Bello also stressed the need for Africa to establish its own law, adding that fairness was not the flagship of international shipping.
He recalled that the council had fought for congestion charges.
“I cautioned the internationality of the maritime and International Maritime Organisation (IMO) for reducing emission without identifying who would bear the cost.
“There is the need to come up with laws that will suit the interests of Africa,’’ he said.
Bello said that Nigeria Shippers’ Council had been collaborating with NMLA on Hamburg Rules and other convention.
The Hamburg Rules border on rules governing the international shipment of goods, resulting from the United Nations International Convention on the Carriage of Goods by Sea adopted in Hamburg on March 31, 1978.
Bello called for the need to have a regional convention for the carriage of goods, stressing that Nigeria should champion the cause for other countries on the continent to harmonise operations regarding carriage of goods.
He urged the maritime lawyer to work with his successor to build the law on liability and domestic carriage and streamline all the existing conventions.
He commended the association and appealed to its members to extend the cooperation given to him while he was in office to the new executive secretary of the council.
Bello promised to continue to contribute to efforts aimed at reforming the maritime architecture and the domestication of the many legislations in the Shipping Act which he said was inaugurated for judges during the Maritime seminar.
In his remarks, the new Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) Mr Emmanuel Jime, said that there was a testimony and a book in print about Hassan Bello’s contributions and achievements to the maritime industry and described Bello as a humble man to the core.
“I am using this medium to seek your support and I had been briefed that for us to record more successes and achievements, there must be room for stakeholders’ partnership,’’ Jime said.
Mr Tahiru Idris, Director, Legal at the NSC, said that NMLA was an association established to support the maritime operators regarding due process in the carriage of goods.
He urged the players in the sector to always support the country in any way that would make it succeed.
In her closing remarks, the President of NMLA, Mrs Funke Agbor, described Bello as a very special person to her members, adding he was always putting them on their toes in the line of duty.
Agbor promised that the association would continue to support the industry for the good of the country.
She said majority of their members were private sector lawyers acting for foreign interests and were able to work with Bello due to his high level of understanding.
She said the association was also ready to work with the government in ensuring coverage of gaps between it and the private sector,for the benefit of Nigerians.