Thursday, April 21, 2016 5:45 pm
The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Mr Hassan Bello, said on Thursday that about 4,000 judges had benefited from various courses and seminars organised by the council on admiralty laws in Nigeria.
He announced this at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja.
Bello said that for 14 years, the council had been educating Judges on Admiralty laws by organising the Annual Maritime Seminar for Judges in conjunction with the National Judicial Institute (NJI).
He said the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, had also expressed the view that admiralty or shipping laws be introduced in law schools in the country.
According to him, the training of Judges on the laws applicable in shipping is technical, complex, expensive and not taught in universities and schools.
He said that some Judges had no background of the laws, adding that since the inception of the seminar, Judges had been able to dispense admiralty cases on time.
The executive secretary said that judges had learnt a lot on the laws.
“Maritime cases were decided in good time and quality of judgments were internationally acknowledged.
“The seminar also influenced legislation on admiralty law which were backed up by international law and unified.
“We have had the Carriage of Goods by Sea (Hamburg Rules) being domesticated and there had been some changes in the Merchant Shipping Act,’’ Bello said.
The executive secretary said that with proper focus on the laws, cases of armed robbery and piracy at sea would be addressed.
He said that the next edition of the Maritime Seminar for Judges this year would be attended by Chief Justices of Ghana, Sierra-Leone and Gambia.
On Cargo Defence Fund (CDF), Bello disclosed that a new Board of Trustees would soon be constituted to oversee the fund.
He said that the council would launch publicity for the CDF for shippers to benefit.
The executive secretary described CDF as a Legal Aid Scheme.
“When our shippers have cases before courts, they may not have resources to pursue such cases and they abandoned their claims.
“So, by doing this, we have lost a member.
“The CDF is meant to prosecute cases in favour of indigent shippers (exporters and importers) and many shippers had benefited,’’ Bello said.
He said that the council through the CDF also prosecuted cases abroad.
“We have a case of a person who had duped some Nigerians on stock fish and we used Interpol to bring him to Nigeria,’’ the executive secretary said.
On ship building, Bello said that the Federal Government had set up a committee to ensure that Nigerians owned ships.
“Unless we own ships, we are not a maritime nation. You can imagine all the earnings from freight if Nigerians own ships.
“ The Federal Ministry of Transportation is guiding us toward that,’’ he said.