Studies have shown that it is seemingly only in maritime industry that the proclivity to have multiple associations doing the same thing exist. And they remain unregulated. There is hardly any association of people offering one value or the other that does not have duplicates. At the slightest disagreement or provocation, a disgruntled member will leave and establish a rival group, mostly out of selfish interest. Could this be associated with the business of the industry where dogs eat dogs as often said?
The simple reason for this is greed, selfishness, tendencies for fraud and wanton display of fake life style. The only groups whose integrity of oneness have remained intact but not challenged are the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria(MWUN) and Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria(STOAN). The maritime media, freight forwarders and haulage operators as well as ship owners and women associations seem to be the worst hit.
Painfully, they all do the same thing with different narratives. What can you talk about ideas? Drop a project idea today, the next morning somebody else photocopies it and change the name for a pet project! This is the industry with huge potential to grow people and the economy but creativity is scarce. Without creativity it is difficult to leverage the array of technology platforms to advance and face competition. There is so much bad-blood, Pull- him- down syndrome and conspiracies.
Some ideas suffer lack of support because of personalities associated with them! Why? The running envy and enmity among some people or between persons. And these factors could derail the objectives of the new Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy because players and stakeholders may just micro-manage the new Minister by shielding him away from genuine experts that will help him birth the strategy for success.
The fight in the Nigeria Ship -Owners Association (NISA) is about interest and conspiracy to retain sources of survival. According sources within, there was a plan by the Integrity Group within NISA to form a parallel body latching on the outcome of the last election after they failed to win the argument by votes against holding election. The steering committee had fought to remain in power. However, the man who lost the election was not interested in forming another NISA to repeat the mistake that led to the formation of the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria(SOAN), which has found itself in the same pot of the alleged over domineering control or hijack of the founders like NISA.
It is crisis of interest everywhere. The seeming supremacy tussle between the Integrity Group of NISA and the newly elected executive shifted to advertorial placement in the media. While the Exco congratulated President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Integrity Group of NISA choose to congratulate Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo as the nominee for Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy. The point of departure was however that the Integrity Group choose to post their advert message on the general NISA WhatsApp platform. Consequently, the poster was removed. And another member of the IG who wrote a justification for this post was also yanked off. Since then, the reconciliation committee has not done much leading to court action. This is another NISA loading and the fight is not getting clean either. Fight is also loading in SOAN! How can all this be playing out? No wonder the industry is somewhat stagnated with too many talk-shops and secret fights killing genuine efforts. Is as if the baton of war has been handed over in a swift move to NISA by the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents(ANLCA), which just made peace.
As expected, however, the suspended members and his company, Capt Kola Raheem and Kotram Nig Ltd, has instituted a N5million fundamental human rights enforcement suit against Jubril Rowaye, the Association WhatsApp Platform Admin and Trustees of the Association, in the Suit No FHC/L/CS/1853/2023 pending before Hon. Justice Aneke of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi Lagos.
Capt Raheem, the suspended member and his company alleged that Mr. Jubril Rowaye, 1st Respondent, acting on the instruction of the Trustees Of the Association, 2nd Respondent, witch-hunted, oppressed and removed him, Capt Kola Raheem, 2nd Applicant, from the WhatsApp Platform for forwarding a congratulatory message of the then Minister of Marine and Blue Economy designate to the Association WhatsApp Platform.
The Applicants argued that their removal did not follow due process and that the acts of the ‘Respondents’ constitute an infringement on their right to freedom of expression and association, having placed the Applicants in a state of public ridicule by the said action.
The applicants, Kotram Nig Ltd and Capt Kola Raheem, are seeking other reliefs among which are:
A declaration that the unlawful exclusion and removal of Applicants by 1st Respondent’s under the instruction of 2nd Respondent from the Nigeria Shipowners Association whatsApp platform was illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional and a breach of Applicants’ fundamental human rights of expression protected under Sections 39 and 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 and Articles 2, 4, 5, 6, and 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004;
b) A declaration that Respondent failed to avail Applicants fair hearing before removing and excluding them from the Nigeria Shipowners Association WhatsApp platform;
c) An order of this Honourable Court directing, mandating and/or compelling the Respondents, their staff, agents, employees, Servants, officers forthwith to unconditionally re-admit Applicants back to the Nigeria Shipowners Association WhatsApp platform;
d) An order of this Honourable Court that Respondent tenders to Applicants an unreserved apology in two (2) widely read national newspapers for their unlawful exclusion and removal WhatsApp Platform;
e) An order of injunction restraining the Respondents whether by themselves or by their officers, agents, servants, privies or otherwise however from carrying future act such maligning and deregistering Applicants from the Nigeria Shipowners Association or in any other manner infringing on their Fundamental Rights of the Applicants of association;
f) An order directing payment of the sum of N5,000,000.00 (Five Million Naira only) being the damages against the Respondents for the violation of Applicants’ Constitutional right;
g) The Sum Of N1,000,000 incurred by Applicants’ as Solicitor Fees; and
h) Cost of action.
The Applicants further alleged that they are deeply concerned and saddened that the Press release/Interview by Sola Adewumi and Jubril Rowaye on behalf of the Association are littered with falsehood and outright misrepresentation of facts in a manner that criminal defamation can be rightly inferred.
As at the time of filling this report, no date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.