Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday advised the Federal Government against resuscitating the defunct Nigerian National Shipping Line, NNSL.
Obasanjo, who gave the advice in his address as Chairman of a two-day stakeholders’ conference on the maritime industry in Lagos, blamed the demise of NNSL on the lack of professionalism and high level corruption at the time.
He said: “NNSL had been liquidated; they tried Nigeria Unity Line, it collapsed. 19 brand new ships were specially built for Nigeria and we did not take delivery of some of them until I left office in 1979.
“When I came back in 1999, NNSL had been liquidated with all 19 ships and the five already in existence gone.
“Two of the ships were missing for almost two years and it was discovered that one military man was using them all over the world without accountability.”
Obasanjo urged the present administration to “think out of the box” and come up with what should be done to grow the maritime industry.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, said the Federal Government was ready to create an enabling environment for steering the maritime industry to its rightful position.
Amaechi said government would provide safe environment for both foreign and indigenous investors to reap returns on their investment without compromising the nation’s economic benefits.
In a welcome address, the Minister of State, Aviation, Mr. Hadi Sirika, said that the forum was holding at a time there was a need to identify the challenges and opportunities in the maritime industry.
Sirika said the conference would proffer solutions on challenges affecting the growth of the maritime industry.