Mr. Simon Nwonu, DNP NAGAFF.
Story by Dili Utomi.
SHIPPERS COUNCIL LACKS THE INSTRUMENT OF COERCION- Nwonu.
There is a constant and continuous reaction to the recent increase in the terminal charges by the concessioneers. The latest reaction is from the deputy national president of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) Mr. Simeon Nwonu who in an exclusive interview blamed the government for not doing its duty by properly empowering its agencies to carry out their responsibilities.
Mr. Nwonu said that when there is any action, there must be a reaction and so the action of increasing the terminal charges by the operators has also been met with equal and opposite reaction by stakeholders. He says that the truth is that Nigeria is such a volatile environment that everything is in motion and nothing is static and so the reactions are just in obedience of the natural law of physics so to speak. Quoting Mr. Nwonu “We are like sheep without a shepherd in the maritime domain and I am not so surprised there they have decided to do an arbitrary increase. It is true that we have the Nigerian Shippers Council to regulate the activities within the Maritime sector, but because of their lack of power of enforcement, there is going to be very little change, and knowing this very well, the terminal operators and the shipping companies behave the way they do”. He said that the Shippers Council should be allowed to use an agency like the police or the Nigerian Civil Defence Corps to carry out their enforcement duty in order to give then the muscle needed while doing their job, just like the Standards Organisation of Nigeria or the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control. “I do not know why they are not allowed to use these entities for their enforcement. The NSC does not just have the instrument of coercion”.
Mr. Nwonu made an allusion to the suggestion that the owners of these shipping companies and terminal operators are people in government and this is a major reason for the unrestrained impunity on the part of the regulatory bodies. He gave an example by asking a question ” Have you asked yourself why all the tank farms around Coconut bus stop have continued to be there in spite of all the public outcry”. he also answered the question by saying that it is because the owners are people in government and are therefore too powerful for their businesses to be properly regulated.
“Though the times are hard and the future may seem bleak because of the present circumstances, but in order to break this spell of chaos and socioeconomic stagnation, we should realise that every society is dynamic. We should continue to constantly speak out and give the right advice and also always do the right thing so that we can build a society of our dreams. So many things are wrong with our system, but we should not and cannot relent and everyone should look to do the right thing always”, he concluded.