Maritime stakeholders have expressed anger mixed with anxiety over what they described as total domination of maritime institutions with the chief executive officers of Northern extraction.
Following the emergence of Hammed Ibrahim Ali, a retired Colonel of Nigerian Army, as the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service, some industry commentators stated that the appointment signaled total ”annihilation” of the sector by a section of the country.
They pointed to the Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA) which may have been inadvertently ”ceded” to Kano states as the agency have over the years been headed by people of Kano descent.
However, the agency is presently led by AlhajiHabibAbdullahi, from Kano in Northern Nigeria.
Similarly, the Nigeria Shippers’ Council is headed by Barrister Hassam Bello from the North while National Inland Waterways Authority(NIWA) is headed by yet another Northern extract, Barrister Danladi Ibrahim.
Another strategic maritime agency which is headed by a Northern is the Maritime Administration and Safety Agency(NIMASA).
The super-rich agency is headed by AlhajiHaruna Baba Jauro. Even though, he occupies the exalted position in the acting capacity, sources close to the agency claimed that the NIMASA helmsman may be lobbying to be confirmed as the substantive DG.
It was also being speculated that the Presidency may have ”overlooked” NIMASA in its latest appointments, thus lending credence to the possibility of confirming Jauro as the substantive helmsman.
The only government institution which is presently spared from the rampaging northern domination is the Nigeria Maritime Academy(MAN),Oron, AkwaIbom state.
A seasoned maritime journalist and publisher of Shipping World magazine, AsuBeks, condemned the appointments saying, “This is a Nigeria Customs Service and not a northern Customs Service and Mr. President must be seen to be fair to all sections of the country.
“Since 1975 to date, the North has dominated the position of the CG as if there are no qualified officers from the other parts of the country. It is unacceptable and maritime stakeholders are determined to shut the ports in protest of this action.”
Similarly, other stakeholders observed the current dispensation where all the strategic maritime agencies are headed by northerners will alienate other sections of the countries .
”Does that means there are no people from other region who can meet the moral and integrity standard of Mr President?, one of the industry players queried.