By BENJAMIN OMOIKE
Maritime Journalists Association of Nigeria (MAJAN), has officially commissioned its Secretariat located at No 19, Calcutta Crescent, Apapa, Lagos.
The colourful ceremony, which held on Thursday, September 8, 2022, had in attendance the creme de la creme in the maritime industry, and was indeed a spectacle to behold.
At the occasion, MAJAN specially recognised the Founder, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), who is also the spiritual leader and Founder, New Nigeria Peoples’ Party (NNPP), Dr Boniface Okechukwu Aniebonam, by conferring on him the award of ‘Freight Forwarder General of Nigerian Maritime Industry’.
The Association equally named its Conference Room after Dr Aniebonam, as a mark of honour for his enormous support – not just to MAJAN – but his immense contribution to the Nigerian maritime industry.
The newly-commissioned Secretariat has a standard News Room, Radio Studio and Conference Hall for meetings, among other facilities for journalists to perform their duties seamlessly.
Speaking before the award presentation, the President of MAJAN, Mr Ray Ugochukwu, said Dr Aniebonam has given a lot to the Nigerian Maritime industry and his contributions in trying to reposition and enthrone international best practices in the way freight forwarding business is done in Nigeria speaks volumes.
Ugochukwu pointed out that Aniebonam did not stop at founding one of the most vibrant industry Association cum pressure group (NAGAFF), he was also pivotal in the establishment of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding Practice in Nigeria (CRFFN), adding that his foray into politics, which saw to his founding the NNPP, was solely to ‘fight from the inside’.
“His benevolence to MAJAN knows no bounds, we do not even know how to express our gratitude to him. This are the salient reasons for bestowing this honour on him,” Ugochukwu said.
In his remark, Dr. Aniebonam congratulated MAJAN for the epoch-making achievement and thanked the Association and its leadership for bestowing the Award on him.
Dr Aniebonam, however, charged journalists to focus on investigative journalism, saying such endeavour is the key to success in journalism.
He said: “our country is sinking and we must play our own role to stop it from sinking. Just as I have spoken, all of us must wake up to our responsibilities. He who goes to equity must do that with clean hands, the freight forwarder must abide by the laws of the land to also find justice. If you contravene the law, you should be ready to face the music.
“Do not complain about the Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Strike force and others if you are not doing what is right in the eyes of the law, you must first of all comply, before going to equity. The NDLEA must also do their job by educating and orientating the freight Forwarders of the dangers of drug use and how to identify the different types of illicit drugs when sighted, we cannot run away from it,”.
He also said the CRFFN must be properly modelled to discharge it’s responsibility to freight forwarders for all to benefit.
“Journalists must ensure that this is done by reporting facts, because if this is done the benefits will also come down to them in the form of capacity building and other forms of training,” Dr Aniebonam said.
Also speaking at the occasion, the National President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Hon. Tony Iju Nwabunike, who was ably represented by the Secretary General, Alhaji Babatunde Mukaila, commended MAJAN for its outstanding performance in responsible reportage and advocacy for a better maritime industry.
He applauded the association for taking a bold step in acquiring a secretariat to serve as its operational office. He however urged all MAJAN members to focus more on factual and investigative reporting.
In his remarks, the representative, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Apapa division, Mr Maggaji, advised MAJAN members to take their statutory duty of investigative Journalism more serious.
Also speaking, a reputable stakeholder in the industry, Hajia Bola Muse, who graced the occasion, commended the leadership of MAJAN for being focused, consistent and committed in its duties over the years.