They are big players in the maritime industry in Nigeria, they play in the big waters and are making waves in the ocean. BABAJIDE OKEOWO profiles top women in the maritime sector and how they are carving a niche for themselves in a rather male dominated industry.
Hadiza Bala Usman: MD, Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA.
She is the Managing Director, of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA). A position she was appointed to by President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, 11 July ,2016.
As the helmsman of the NPA, she has brought remarkable improvement to the agency.
The agency recently acquired four 60-tonne Buller- pull tug boats with state-of-the-art equipment and fully computerised engines, to boost efficiency and increase government revenue at the ports.
The boats, it was gathered, are worth over $30million.
The boats – Mt Daura, Mt Ubima, Mt Uromi and Mt Majaya – were built by DAMEN Engineering, a Netherlands under strict supervision of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The engines were built by Roll Royce.
Also, in her bid to implement the ease of doing business initiative of the Federal Government, Usman has taken steps to make doing business easier and cheaper across the nation’s seaports.
NPA, under her leadership, has promised that the agency would review the tariffs charged by terminal operators in order to reduce the cost of doing business at the ports.
She also championed and launched the harmonised Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and Port Service Support Portal (PSSP) designed to stem corrupt practices and ensure a user-friendly port.
The SOP is a collation of operational procedures of all maritime government agencies, shipping companies, terminal operators, freight forwarders, associations and other stakeholders.
The PSSP, on the other hand, is a complaint management portal for operators to lodge complaints if any agency fails to follow the SOP. This is anchored by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council.
Margaret Onyema-Orakwusi: Past Chairman, NIMAREX, President, NITOA
Mrs. Margaret Orakwusi is the perfect definition of Lord of the Sea; she is a ship-owner, a lawyer, fishing trawler owner and a former chairman of the Nigeria Maritime Expo (NIMAREX) planning committee.
She is a barrister, Ex-President, Nigerian Trawler Operators Association (NITOA), Chief Executive Officer MORBOD Fisheries Limited, a maritime consultant and public speaker.
She is currently at the helm of affairs at the Ship Owners’ Forum, which comprises two organisations: The Ship Owners’ Association of Nigeria (SOAN) and Nigerian Indigenous Ship-owners’ Association, NISA; which came together early 2016, and collectively agreed to form a common umbrella. They comprised ship owning companies with proven track records of activities recognised by upstream and downstream sectors of the industry.
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She is the Chairman, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria and Vice President of Princess Vicky Haastrup ENL Consortium Limited.
Haastrup assumed her current position at ENL Consortium Limited, a multi-billion naira wholly-owned Nigerian company on April 3, 2006. She was named by Pathway Africa magazine as Maritime Woman of the Year Award in 2006. Towards the end of 2016, she was installed as the 4th President of Certified Institute of Shipping on Nigeria.
Haastrup occupies a position that was once the exclusive preserve of men, and, she is doing just fine.