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Independent, Corrupt-free Judiciary’ll boost maritime sector–SGF



George Akume

The Secretary General of the Federation, Senator George Akume, has said that an independent and corrupt free Judiciary will boost maritime sector and propel the country for economic growth.

The SGF stated this at the 17th edition of the International Maritime Seminar for Judges series organized by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council in collaboration with the National Judicial Institute.

Akume decribe corruption as an impediment capable of slowing down the growth and development of any nation.

” Corruption in any society increase the cost of doing business, limits economic growth, negatively impacts social well-being, deprives the government of legitimate revenue and tarnishes the country’s image,” said Akume

Emphasising the need for a robust Judiciary where court decisions are devoid of favouritism, but transparent, fair, timely and adherence to internationally recognized norms to encourage both foreign and local private sector investment, urge stakeholders in the maritime sector to collaboratively eradicate ccorrupt practices from the maritime industry.

The SGF further restate President Tinubu’s committed to fulfilling its international, regional and sub-regional obligations, particularly regarding the international conventions, treaties and agreements to which Nigeria is a signatory to, and also acknowledged that the Nigerian Shippers’ Council’s enabling Act, promulgated in 1978, requires revision to address recent developments in the maritime sector with an expression of support to the ongoing efforts of the National Assembly towards enacting a robust Port Economic Regulatory Framework for the Port sector.

The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Gboyega Oyetola, in his remarks acknowledged that the Nigerian Shippers’ Council and the National Judicial Institute have been actively collaborating since 1995 when the first seminar was held, with the aim of educating and providing the Justices and Judges of the superior courts in the country with contemporary development knowledge needed in the complex and dynamic subject of admiralty law and practice, in the administration of justice in Nigeria.

Noting that the maritime sector is a complex and dynamic field that requires comprehensive legal and regulatory systems, and the need for Judges to be indispensable in interpreting and applying such laws in resolving disputes, in line with international best practices.

” Maritime law is not just about resolving conflicts at sea, but also safeguarding the rights and responsibilities of nations, corporations, and individuals as well as ensure the protection of the marine environment, the regulation of maritime commerce, and the security of navigation routes as the rule of law in maritime affairs underpins the stability and prosperity of the global economy.”

Oyetola further emphasised the crucial role played by Juges in shaping the maritime legal landscape, adding that interpretations, and decisions have implications on businesses and individuals operating in the maritime sector, in ensuring sustainability and resilience of the blue economy.

He assured that the ministry is assiduously working tirelessly to strengthen the institutional and legal frameworks of the agencies under the Ministry, which is why it has thrown it weight behind the repeal of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council Act CAP N113 LFN and the enactment of the Nigerian Shipping and Port Economic Regulatory Agency Bill, 2024, in order to bring it up to speed with current realities and maximize the gains of the ongoing reforms when it is eventually passed in to law.

The Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Shippers Council Mr Pius Akutah in his remarks revealed that the recommendations made in earlier seminars before this, was what berth the admiralty rules in the federal high court to explain the importance of the seminar.

Akutah noted that the maritime sector is moving at a speed of light with the evolving of new innovations eruoting in the sector, hence the need to bring the current Nigeria Shippers Council Act, promulgated in 1978 to speed and in consonance with the modern realities of the maritime sector, especially now that the president’s focus is on the maritime and blue economy.

So to grow the economy therefore, there is a need to enact strong laws capable of bringing the maritime sector to the current realities.

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