By Samson Echenim
The Taiwo Afolabi Maritime Conference, an annual industry event in Nigeria has been slated for September 13 and will focus on how the country’s maritime industry can leverage on innovation and practical reforms to take the next leap.
Olasupo Shasore, a senior Nigeria lawyer and former attorney general and commissioner of justice, Lagos State, and a partner at African Law Practice, will deliver the keynote address at the event, which will take place at the JF Ade Ajayi Auditorium, University of Lagos.
The conference, held in honour of Taiwo Afolabi, group executive vice-chairman, SIFAX Group, is an initiative of the Maritime Forum, University of Lagos and SIFAX Group.
Shasore will lead other eminent maritime industry leaders, legal experts, academics and university students drawn from about ten institutions to discuss on the theme “Innovations and Practical Reforms Towards Sustainable Growth in Nigeria’s Maritime Sector”.
Other discussants expected at the event include Henry Ajetunmobi, vice president, Nigerian Ports Consultative Council; Adetola Bucknor Taiwo, partner, Paul Usoro & Co., Rollens McFoy, executive eirector, operations, Oceandeep Services; Olayiwola Shittu, former president, Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents; Hassan Bello, executive secretary/CEO, Nigeria Shippers’ Council; Hadiza Bala Usman, managing director, Nigerian Ports Authority, among others.
While speaking on the forthcoming event, Afolabi said the need to deepen discourse around topical issues in the country’s maritime industry, as well as proffering practical solutions to them gave birth to the conference.
He said: “The fourth edition of the conference would dwell on issues bordering on innovations and practical reforms needed towards the sustainability of growth in the country’s maritime sector. We are at a point where the country’s maritime sector needs a consistent and sustained growth. To achieve this, we need to invest in innovations and more reforms. The sector’s reform in 2006 which gave birth to the concessioning of the port has yielded great gains for Nigeria. In fact, the concessioning has served as a model for many other African countries. Now that we have seen the fruits of concessioning, we need to embark on more aggressive reforms and innovations that will make the maritime sector the major earner for the government.
“Distinguished experts have been invited as speakers to provide practical insights into various innovations and reforms we can embark on to achieve the maritime sector of our dreams. I look forward to the useful insights based on years of industry experience that they will bring to the conference. I am convinced that such insights would be useful to the industry, the government and participants.”
On his own part, Gbenga Akinlade, president, Maritime Forum, said the conference would be beneficial both to the industry and the students due to its objective of being an avenue to stimulate intellectual discussions between maritime experts and the university community, especially students with interest in the maritime industry, on contemporary issues in the industry, both locally and internationally. He further explained that the conference has launched a dedicated website where relevant information about the conference are available.