Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has advised the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to “think out of the box.”
Speaking in Lagos on Monday during a two-day stakeholders’ conference on the maritime industry, Obasanjo advised the federal government against resuscitating the defunct Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL).
The former president blamed the demise of NNSL on lack of professionalism, high level corruption and criticised alleged impunity in the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
“NNSL had been liquidated, they tried Nigeria Unity Line and it collapsed. 19 brand new ships were specially built for Nigeria, we did not take delivery of some of them until I left office in 1979,” he said.
“The current government should think out of the box and come up with what should be done to grow the maritime industry.
“When I came back in 1999, NNSL had been liquidated with all the 19 ships gone as well as the five ships in existence.
“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 and no accountability.
“Until NIMASA became a source where people steal money, nobody knew too much about it. Before we tried to privatise Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), I went to Singapore where you get your container within one hour of arriving the port.
“If we cannot perform like Singapore, we have to do better than what we are doing now.”
Transportation minister, Rotimi Amaechi, on his part, said government was ready to create an enabling environment for steering the maritime industry to its rightful position.