Following the creation of the Ship-owners forum, a uniform platform for ship-owners under the Nigerian Indigenous Ship-owners Association (NISA) and Ship-owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), the factional battle in NISA has deepened and the recent statements by the Publicity Secretary of NISA, Engr. Emmanuel Ilori only helped to exacerbate the issue.
Engr. Emmanuel recently stated that NISA (or his faction of NISA) was not part of the newly formed ship-owners forum and this has stimulated several actions, statements and reactions.
MMS Plus spoke to Barr. Temisan Omasteye, a member of SOAN and former Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) who clarified that the Ship-owners forum is not an association. He said that SOAN was formed because NISA is an association that was formed by non-ship-owners.
“So, Ship-owners forum is a platform where only ship-owners can come together irrespective of whether you are in NISA or SOAN to discuss a common interest. It is now the voice for ship-owners. This explains why at the meeting that was called after the Minister’s statement if you cannot prove that you are a ship-owner you will not be allowed to attend. Some people in this category that came on that day were asked to step aside by Chief Jolapomo.
”So if you do not own a ship you cannot be a member of this forum. You can be along to your NISA or SOAN, but the forum is what we use to discuss with the Minister or NIMASA” Barr. Temisan said.
“At the meeting that day, Labinjo did not come but Jolapomo was there on the high-table. Aminu Umar who is the recognized president of NISA was there. Labinjo is not recognized and this should be made clear. But we agreed at the meeting that nobody should exchange words with Labinjo because it is like fighting a man at the village square. So let him be ranting and raking but as far as we are aware the general meeting knows he is not the president of NISA” Barr. Temisan stated.
“NISA’s problem is constitutional until the constitution is changed Aminu remains the president. In SOAN, associate members are not individuals, they are associations and they do not have any voting right. And the moment you don’t have a ship you stand down, with all due respect, does Labinjo have a ship now?
However, the Chairperson of the Ship-owners Forum, Mrs. Margret Orakwusi maintained that the group’s initial press release was clear on membership qualification.
“Only vessel owners are entitled to be members. SOAN & NISA members and indeed all vessel owners in Nigeria (Subject to meeting some stringent conditions) are entitled to join the Forum” she noted.
Margret maintained that the Forum does not admit non-vessel owners as members or as observers in our meetings.
“I will certainly ignore comments of non-attendees and detractors, they have nothing at stake, remember the king Solomon’s judgment of the issue of two claimants over a baby” she remarked.
However Mrs. Margret Orakwusi highlighted the main focus of the Ship-owners Forum to include; maritime security & safety, increasing indigenous ownership of vessels/participation in all Maritime contracts, sale of Nigeria crude, providing practical training for cadets, developing the nation’s seaports to accommodate big vessels, and establishing dedicated terminals to serve trawler owners to enable the anticipated growth in the industry.
According to Margret, “Ship-owners Forum would rather employ its time, resources and energy in identifying its many challenges and resolving them”.
Meanwhile, the President of NISA, Alhaji Aminu Umar while responding to the crisis in the Association, recently told MMS Plus that the association was close going to resolve its problems with Labinjo’s faction.
“We have been talking between the executives and other group of ship-owners with Labinjo. I think at a certain level, we are going to find a solution to it, I don’t think it will last long. Very soon I think all these issues will be resolved” he said.