By John Iwori

The war of attrition among indigenous ship owners seemed not have ended with the Nigeria Ship owners Association (NISA) dissociating itself from the newly formed Ship owners Forum.

The forum was constituted last week as an umbrella body for indigenous ship owners in the country.

NISA in a statement signed by its Coordinator, Lagos Zone, Captain Taiwo Akinpelumi, stated it was not part of the Ship Owners Forum as reported in the media recently.

“We (NISA) categorically write to dissociate Nigeria Ship owners Association (NISA) completely from the purported Ship owners Forum. Firstly, a decision of such magnitude and proportion requires wide consultation with members, if at all interested, and are willing to unite, merge, fuse or partner NISA with any group, union, organisation or association, to be under an umbrella.

“Such a decision should be taken at the General Assembly of the members, which was not the case in this instance. Secondly, Mr. Aminu Umar cannot represent NISA. It is against the NISA Constitution for anyone under whatever guise to represent the association in that capacity. Having not been nominated by the association nor delegated by the President, Captain Olaniyi Labinjo, the elected, authentic and current leader of NISA, who is and still remains in office until the expiration of his tenure,” the statement said.

Giving more insight into why NISA disassociated itself from the forum, Akinpelumi noted that there was a subsisting court order restraining Aminu Umar and his group from parading himself as the acting President of NISA tills the determination of the substantive suit before it.

According to him, the report as contained in the newspapers that Aminu Umar represented the leadership of NISA was a nullity at its best and in contempt of the order of a competent court.

Continuing, Akinpelumi said: “It is our humble opinion that the government cannot decree an association for investors, stakeholders or NISA in particular, in the shipping sector by fiat or through pronouncement of its officials. This will amount to the ‘Principal dishing out instructions to his Pupils’ and our members being investors and major stakeholders in the maritime sector deserve better treatment and respect and should be free to determine if necessary to belong to any forum.

The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria guarantees freedom of association. NISA is certainly not part of any forum as claimed by the news reports”.