By Ray Ugochukwu
The Founder of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP), Dr Boniface Okechukwu Aniebonam, has adduced reasons why Nigerians, especially port users and operators, should go all out on Saturday to vote his party into power.
At a media briefing in Apapa, Lagos, on Thursday, Aniebonam, who is the Chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of the party, explained that NNPP emanated from the maritime industry, specifically, to correct the observed ills in the system in order for businesses to thrive in the country.
Reiterating the Social Contract his principal, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, the presidential candidate of the party, had with maritime stakeholders in Lagos on August 23, 2022 at the Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, he said Nigeria needed a leader with the political will to deliver.
In his words, “As a continuation of the Social Contract my principal, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, had with maritime stakeholders in Lagos last year at the Sheraton Hotel, I have invited you to thank you all for your support so far.
“Remember, we told him our expectations for the industry if he wins. You also remember that NNPP originated from NAGAFF (National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders). NAGAFF was set up to liberate freight forwarders and this we have achieved through the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN). Because of some distortions in the body by some vested interests, we’re not there yet but there’s a big hope as the journey has started.
Aniebonam (m) flanked by NAGAFF chieftains at the media briefing
So, we felt that the next stage is to liberate the port sector of its many encumbrances. That’s why NNPP has come. For 20 years now the party has been onboard but God this time around, brought out a person with capacity in the person of Senator Kwankwaso to be on the driving seat, a man that has all it takes to deliver”.
Some of the areas, amongst others, he strongly believes the Kwankwasiyya Movement leader would tackle, if elected president, is the granting of partial autonomy to the Nigeria Customs Service (NSC) to effectively perform its function as the lead agency in the ports.
Aniebonam also assured that an NNPP government would ensure the “appointment of Comptroller General of Customs (CGC) from within career officers” and “opening of Nigerian borders for cross-border trade and transportation” to thrive.
Container stacking at port
He also assured that Kwankwaso would ensure that the CRFFN was removed “from the clutches of the Transportation Ministry to be partially autonomous in line with the Act” establishing it.
He also promised that his party, while in power would review “the inherent law of waiver clause as contained in the Cabotage Act” and “make it to enhance local content in its application”.
The former Customs officer added, “Enhancement of commercial shipping and partnership with private operators: the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) must ensure that Nigeria flies flags to mitigate the colossal loss of revenue inherent in freight rates”.
For importers and exporters, the NNPP BoT Chairman asserted, “Seizure of trade goods must stop forthwith when presented before the Customs at the Examination Bay designated for Customs purpose”.
“Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to be returned to the ports and borders to join NDLEA and NAFDAC to perform their statutory duty of quality control of imported goods.
“Establishment of truck terminals in partnership with private operators to service the ports in a call-up system.
“Warri Port, river port of Onitsha, Oguta river port and other ports must be made to function with a view to decongesting Lagos ports and environs”, among others, Aniebonam added.
Aniebonam, the Spiritual Leader of the party summarised his presentation: “As the Founder of NNPP, I hereby advise every stakeholder in the maritime business, transportation, logistics, importers and exporters, freight forwarding practitioners and agents of government to understand that NNPP is our own. If we want to unbundle ourselves from slavery in our industry, it is an opportunity for us to elect our own to enable us resolve our constraints in the interest of our businesses.
“I therefore urge all of you to go out en masse and vote Senator Rabiu Musa as the President of Nigeria”.