NIMASA Tips For Ports Commercial Regulator- NCMDLCA boss
From Benjamin A Ameh
The National President of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Mr. Lucky Amiwero, has joined the festering debate over which agency should become the economic regulator for the maritime industry.
Briefing journalists in Apapa, Lagos, yesterday at the association’s National Secretariat on the state-of-the-nation’s maritime industry, Amiwero said that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) should be named as the commercial regulator for the industry.
He noted that NIMASA is better positioned to carry out the function of a commercial regulator, because, according to him, the act setting up the agency covers areas such as shipping, which a commercial regulator should regulate.
Amiwero further pointed out that the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) cannot be a commercial regulator, since, according to him, the agency is part of those to be regulated.
NCMDLCA Boss also that the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Amiwero said that there is nowhere in the world where shippers’ council also function as regulation.
Therefore as he put it “In the whole maritime agencies, NIMASA should have been better to handle it. When you are talking about an independent regulator, NIMASA actually acts as an umpire to do that work. And when you look at their legislation, NIMASA is better focused to do that than any other agency. For instance, NPA cannot regulate itself. Shippers’ Council can only regulate nothing but shippers. There is nowhere in the world where shippers’ councils are involved in regulation; they don’t have what is takes to carry out regulation. So, NIMASA has what it takes, because they have been technical regulator to the industry. And when you look at their law, their law is very clear; their law actually extends to shipping. And they are the people who can register terminal operators. And when you go to places like America, the terminal operators are under MARA, and that is what NIMASA is supposed to do. And NIMASA has the competent staff to handle it, not NPA or Shippers’ Council.”
Amiweo went further to encourage NIMASA to begin the process of becoming a commercial regulator by approaching the National Assembly with its Act for possible amendments.
Amiwero use the occasion to revealed that he has sued the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS); the Comptroller-General of Customs, Alhaji Dikko Inde Abdullahi; Comptroller of the Federal of Operations Unit, Zone ‘A,’ NCS; and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) over alleged unlawful arrest, assault and subsequent detention.
Speaking yesterday, the NCMDLCA Legal Consultant, Mr. Osuala Nwagbara, said that his client, Amiwero, is seeking thirteen reliefs from a Federal High Court in Lagos in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/774/2012.
According to Nwagbara, some of the reliefs include for the court to determine whether the NCS has the right to arrest and subsequently arraign a Nigerian citizen for issues that do not border on revenue loss at the court.
My client is equally seeking general damages of N10 billion for the violation his legal right.
“I want to bring to the notice of the Nigerian press and public that Mr, Lucky Eyis Amiwero has now approached the court to ventilate his grievances over his unlawful arrest, detention and subsequent charge to court by the Nigeria Customs Service for and on behalf of the Nigeria Customs Service and Attorney General of the Federation. Some of the pronouncements we expect from the court will be based on whether the Nigeria Customs has the right to arrest a Nigerian citizen, detain him after assaulting him and charge him to court on issues that do not pertain to loss of revenue within the jurisdiction of the Nigeria Customs Service to collect,” Nwagbara said.