Executive Vice Chairman, SIFAX Group, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi (in stripe suit) in the midst of the winning students from UNILAG, UNN and OAU at the 2017 Maritime Blueprint Competition award ceremony held recently in Lagos.

The University of Nigeria, Nsukka, University of Lagos, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife have emerged winners of the 2017 edition of Maritime Blueprint Competition, participated in by law students from eight universities across the country.

The competition, sponsored by the SIFAX Group, is one of the activities that mark the Taiwo Afolabi Annual Maritime Conference, held in partnership with the Maritime Forum of the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, which is in its second edition.

The SIFAX Group is one of Africa’s fastest growing multinational corporations with diverse interests in Maritime, Aviation, Haulage and Logistics, Oil and Gas and Hospitality.

A statement by the group’s head of media, Muyiwa Akande, said that at the end of the keenly-contested debate competition, the, University of Lagos emerged the overall winner with 85 points while OAU and UNN came second and third respectively with 78 and 75 points.

Other participating schools include Bowen University, University of Benin, Babcock University, University of Ibadan and Lagos State University.

It was gathered that various maritime topics debated on include “Is a reduction in port- Custom charges favourable to the Nigeria’s maritime industry”, “Carriage of goods by sea: Rotterdam or Hamburg Rules, which is more suitable”, “Is arbitration the most effective means of settlement of maritime disputes” and “Is insurance pivotal to achieving prompt settlement of maritime claims. ”

The winners at the end of the event got mouth-watering prizes such as laptops, smart phones and cash.

Executive Vice Chairman of the SIFAX Group, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, while speaking on the competition, said the decision of the company to finance the competition was informed by need to deepen the knowledge base of the law students and to stimulate their interest in the country’s maritime industry.

“We don’t have enough maritime legal experts in the industry as I speak to you. Very few students also show interests in the legal aspect of the industry. Having identified this, the company decided to take up the sponsorship of the competition.

“We believe that this gesture would go a long way in stimulating interest of students in maritime law. I am personally leading the mentorship charge because as a lawyer, I have experienced firsthand the many opportunities inherent in the application of law to the maritime industry.

“We are also doing this because at SIFAX Group, it’s part of our corporate philosophy to positively affect the society, especially where we operate” Dr. Afolabi said.