Executive Secretary/CEO, NSC, Barrister Hassan Bello

The Nigerian Shippers Council, the nation’s economic regulator for the seaport industry has said that Nigeria and Ghana would have a lot to gain in enhancing trade facilitation not only between both countries but also across the Sub-Saharan Africa.

Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of the council, Barrister Hassan Bello, who made the pledge, spoke at the weekend during a reception dinner organised by the council in honour of the retiring Director-General of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority GSA, Prof. Emmanuel Kofi Mbiah, who retired recently after 35 years of active service.

According to him, Nigeria and Ghana remain two brothers in the region and have a lot in common, and therefore have a lot of contribution towards the growth and development not only within the region but also across the continent of Africa.

The Executive Secretary, who eulogised Mbiah for his immense contributions to the development of trade and shipping not only in Ghana but also in Africa, noted that the honour for him was well deserved.

“Shipping as you well know is an international business and so Mbiah remains an international figure, and so as a maritime lawyer, he has made the maritime legal practitioners proud and so he deserves every honour given to him today”.

“Mbiah has brought his knowledge and wealth of experience, which he exhibited as an international maritime lawyer of repute. This has made the maritime legal practitioners and indeed the global maritime stakeholders proud of him’’, Bello said emphatically.

The NSC-boss, who is also a maritime lawyer of repute, said it was in recognition of these great achievements in the shipping industry that led to Mbiah’s recent appointment at the CEO of Ghana Institute of Shipping.

The immediate past CEO of GSC was also at one time, chairman of the African Shippers’ Association ASA, for several years during which he promoted Africa’s maritime interest among the comity of shipping nations community, an accomplishment most maritime stakeholders, including the NSC insist was worthy of appreciation.

Scores of maritime stakeholders and legal practitioners and captains of industry at the dinner took their turns to pay tribute to Mbiah, describing him as a force to reckon with in African maritime development , particularly in maritime law practice.

Former Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, who was also the chairman of the occasion while congratulating the former CEO of GSC for a successful tenure, prayed for his success in future endeavours.

Meanwhile, former Executive Secretary of the council, Captain Adamu Biu, while speaking at the occasion, said he had travelled to many parts of the continent with Mbiah on maritime issues during which he supported Nigeria, describing him as a knowledgeable man.

Former President of Women International Shipping and Trading Association of Nigeria WISTA, Mrs Jean Chiazor Anishere also described him as a great voice in the industry.

According to her, Mbiah was not just a legal luminary, but a “convention to be ratified”.

“He can’t just retire, the industry needs you. Please do not rest, we need you to mentor us’’, Anishere said.

A maritime lawyer and chairman, Nigerian Maritime Law Association, Chidi Ilogu, SAN, who spoke on behalf of maritime lawyers, said Mbiah was very much a part of the Nigerian bar, a distinguished jurist.

Ilogu said he has known Mbiah for the past 20 years and has equally shared knowledge with him.

Ilogu announced the induction of Mbiah in his Association, saying he was free to attend the forthcoming Annual General Meeting AGM of the association coming up in Uyo later in the year.

In his remark, the retiring GSC-boss, who was accompanied his wife and two daughters appreciated Nigerians for the encomiums.

He said, “I have learnt so much from Nigeria and will accept all the names. Never did I expect such honour. I am indeed grateful”.

He served Ghana Shippers’ Authority for 35 years and rose to become the MD in 1999.

He was the chairman of the International Maritime Organisation IMO, Legal Committee in London, and bowed out when he addressed the 11th Maritime Law Seminar for Judges of the Superior Courts of Ghana in November last year.

As chairman of African Shippers Association, he championed the institution Maritime Law Seminar, which is a pet project of the NSC for judges in Ghana.

He is a visiting professor at the World Maritime and Lund Universities in Malmo, Sweden and has been appointed by the IMO Secretary General as a Member of the Board International Maritime Law Institute of the IMO in Malta.