June 16, 2009

Bill to repeal Nigerian Ports Act coming

By Tordue Salem

ABUJA — A Bill seeking to repeal the Nigerian Ports Act of 1993 is underway. The Bill is sponsored by the Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi-led House of Representatives Committee on Marine Transport. The Bill titled: Nigerian Ports Authority Act (Amendment) Bill, is slated for public hearing from June 17-18.

“The Nigerian Ports Act, 1993 (in this section referred to as “the repealed Act” is hereby repealed and the Company known as the Nigerian Ports Plc, registered under the Companies and Allied Matters Act 1990, and its board of directors are hereby dissolved”, the bill prescribed.

Part of the Bill also seeks to increase the powers of the Minister of Transport to “give to the (New Nigerian Ports) Authority directives of a general nature or relating generally to matters of policy with regard to the exercise by the Authority of its functions and it shall be the duty of the Authority to comply with the directives”.

The Bill also prescribes a two-year jail term without options of a fine for any captain of a Ship who enters a port without the express authorisation of a ports harbour.

“If a ship (a) enters any port or any approach to the port without an entry notice having been issued by the Authority in respect of the ship; or (b) enters any port or any approach to the port otherwise than as permitted by the entry notice; or (c) fails to leave any berth at the port when required to do so by the harbour master of the port, the master of the ship is guilty of an offence under this section and liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of two years without the option of a fine”, it states.