Encomiums poured in torrents as the former Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hassan Bello, took a bow out of office after eight years of meritorious service to the nation’s maritime industry.
Bello was first appointed Executive Secretary/CEO of NSC in 2013 following the expiration of the tenure of Captain Adamu Biu. Prior to that appointment, Bello was the Council’s Director of Legal Services.
He was reappointed for a second four- year tenure on June 20, 2017 by professor Yemi Osinbajo, then in his Acting Capacity as President.
Speaking at a send forth and Servicom long service award ceremony organized in his honour by the management of NSC in Lagos on Friday, industry stakeholders took turns to pay their tribute to the outgoing Executive Secretary for his contribution to the development of the Nigerian ports system and the maritime sector at large.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, described Bello as a good man just as he commended him for his achievements at the NSC.
“For him to be having this standing ovation at his departure, it means that he is a good man and his going is a bit emotional for me and my family. We wish him well,” he said.
Similarly, Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Bashir Jamoh, said Bello is known for his doggedness in proffering solutions to contain corruption at the port, issues of gridlock, national fleet and trade facilitation among others.
On her part, Chairman, Shipowners Forum and a Board member of the NSC, Margret Orakwusi, said Bello had given a lot to the industry and hoped that after distinguishing himself, the country would appreciate him by giving him a higher appointment.
She described Bello as a man of integrity, brilliant and lived by example and had challenged them to work during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Former Managing Director of NPA, Adebayo Sarumi. said that each time he speaks of Bello, he puts himself in the position of a father that had raised a son that made him proud.
“I am proud to say that I employed him into NSC as a lawyer and he is a man we need as a transport Coordinator. I call him Mr. Intermodalism. He was able to bring the shipping service and the providers of shipping service to a level playing ground,” he said.
Chairman, NSC Board, Bashir Muchina, said eight years of Bello,s tenure were years of non-stop action with him always raising the bar.
Machina who was represented by Otunba Seyi Oduntana said Bello’s determination and courage led to the Shippers’ Council becoming the ports economic regulator. He outlined his other achievements to include the completion of the Kaduna Inland dry port, Dala dry port and construction of Ibadan dry port as well as establishments of Truck Transit Parks in strategic locations across the country.
The Servicom Nodal Coordinator, Nnenna Akajiemelu, noted that showing appreciation to staff brings about entrenchment of healthy competition and mentorship of the young ones to do the right thing.
She noted that Servicom worked to raise and praise those who excel at their assigned task including the outgone Executive Secretary who he said delivered great service and giant strides at the Council.
“In celebrating those that excel, there is a need to also shame those that have not performed and that was what Servicom was established to do. We are here today to praise and celebrate our dear brother, Bello and we are proud to associate with his milestone. We are celebrating long years of selfless service, mentorship, ownership and working to excel,” she said.
Responding, Bello thanked the NSC management for the honour accorded him and promised his continued support to the Council.
He also expressed appreciation to the Federal Ministry of Transport and the staff of the Council, saying it was their support that enabled him succeed.
Bello, however decried the lack of synergy and what he termed cosmetic cooperation among maritime agencies, saying it is the major reason for the stunted growth in the industry.
“There is no agency that is better than the other. Everyone of us has a role to play. Agencies are not graded by their budgets but it is very unfortunate that some agencies think that maritime starts and ends with them. No, it cannot be.
“Some agencies are defending territories, they spend so much money defending these territories while they neglect what they are set up to do. That is why we have problems. We cannot be having cosmetic cooperation, we need genuine cooperation,” he said.
While calling for genuine collaboration among maritime agencies to achieve a progressive port system, Bello said if the idea of the Council on managing the gridlock on Apapa had been bought, the port city would not be in a chaotic situation as it is presently experiencing today.