If the suggestions of stakeholders at the just concluded Maritime Seminar for Judges which held last week in Abuja is adopted, the Nigeria Shippers’ Council (NSC) is heading for a transformation into National Transport Commission (NTC).
This is even as stakeholders in the maritime sector intensified the call for harmonisation of existing domestic maritime laws to avoid duplicity of functions among agencies.
All these and many more are contained in a communique issued at the end of the two-day seminar.
According to the communiqué, in consideration of the National Transport Commission (NTC) Bill before the National Assembly, regards must be made to the history, legal functions and legal contents of the NSC.
The seminar participants also said that the Federal Government should, as a matter of urgency, consider the enactment of the Ports and Harbour Authority Act while calling for the harmonisation of existing domestic maritime laws to avoid duplicity of functions among agencies.
The communiqué urged government to put in place adequate measures to sanitise the freight forwarding and the customs brokerage business in Nigeria ports, it also urged the Federal Government to factor independent power providers into renewals of the concession/lease at the Nigerian ports to solve the country’s power problems.
According the communiqué, the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) should initiate legislations to cover liability of terminal operators for loss, damage or delay to cargo. This, the communiqué said, was in accordance with the framework under the United Nations Convention on Liability of Terminal Operators 1991.
It called for the teaching of the Admiralty law in Nigerian universities in view of its strategic importance in Nigeria. The communiqué stressed the need for a holistic review of the Admiralty Jurisdiction Procedure Rules 2011 and the establishment of an Admiralty Division in the Federal High Court. It said that it was pertinent to review the Evidence Act on electronic evidence and further consider the enactment of an Information Technology Act similar to the Indian Information Technology Act 2010.
The communiqué recommended the establishment of an Electronic Registry (E-Registry) where security granted with respect to electronic documents can be registered and recorded, among others.
Recall that the 14th Biennial Maritime Seminar for Judges, was organised by the NSC and Federal Ministry of Transportation in collaboration with the National Judicial Institute (NJI) and Nigerian Maritime Law Association.