• Thu. Jun 20th, 2024

Sonny Eja, New SOAN Executives, Sworn in

Mr. Sonny Eja, the managing director of Petromarine Nigeria Ltd, was sworn in as the president of the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) last month at a colourful event at Oriental Hotel Victoria Island Lagos. He was sworn in with other executives including Dr. Louis Ekere, the 1st Vice-President; Gbolahan Shaba, 2nd Vice-President; Babalola Adefarati, Financial Secretary/Treasurer; Ms. Iroghama Ogbeifun, Chairman of Technical Committee; Ben Ibrahim Garba, Chairman of Training and Capacity Building Committee; Emmanuel Okene, Chairman of the Finance and Membership Committee; Ms. Bassey Adie, Chairman of the Ethics and Privileges Committee.

Mr. Hassan Bello, former Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council conducted the swearing-in ceremony while bemoaning the disappointing fortunes of the industry. “Imagine what we could do as an economy with $9.1 billion. We can earn up to $5.4 billion as a shipping contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and of course, the government would earn up to $1.6 billion annually. it’s an enormous task which would require the government’s support, but I will advise SOAN not to wait for the government,” he said.

Mr. Eja, in his speech, concurred with Bello that the Nigerian marine and blue economy possesses the potential to create 50 million jobs and shipowners ought to be in the driving seat if the government could facilitate ship acquisition and access to cargo. He argued that “harnessing the blue economy could be a game changer for this nation and ship owners must be at the heart of this drive for economic growth,” and pledged that he would work hard to deliver benefits to  members and protect their collective interests by engaging with MDAs such as the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on shipping sector policy formulation and implementation.

The pioneer president of SOAN, Greg Ogbeifun, thanked the government for creating the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, and urged SOAN to actualize trade in the global shipping industry if the government mitigates the barriers that limit Nigerian operators in the cabotage and coastal transportation sectors.