The University of Lagos (UNILAG), the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile Ife and the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) have emerged winners of the Maritime Blueprint Competition in which law students from eight universities participated.
The competition, sponsored by SIFAX Group, is one of the activities of the Taiwo Afolabi Annual Maritime Conference, which is in its second edition and held in partnership with the Maritime Forum of the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos.
At the end of the keenly-contested competition, which used a debate format, University of Lagos emerged the overall winner with 85 points while OAU and UNN came second and third respectively with 78 and 75 points. Other schools that participated include Bowen University, University of Benin, Babcock University, University of Ibadan and Lagos State University.
Various maritime topics were debated by the participants. Some of the topics were: “Is a reduction of port custom charges favourable to the Nigerian maritime sector”, “Carriage of goods by sea: Rotterdam rules or Hamburg rules, which is more suitable”, “Is arbitration the most effective means for settlement of maritime disputes” and “Is insurance pivotal to achieving prompt settlement of maritime claims. ”
Mouth-watering prizes including laptops, smart phones and cash were given to the winners.
Speaking on the competition, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, Group Executive Vice Chairman, SIFAX Group, said the need to deepen the knowledge base of the law students and to stimulate their interest in the country’s maritime industry were responsible for the company’s sponsorship of the competition.
“We don’t have enough maritime legal experts in the industry as I speak to you. Very few students also show interests in the legal aspect of the sector. Having identified this, the company decided to take up the sponsorship of the competition.
“We believe that this gesture would go a long way in stimulating interest of students in maritime law. I am personally leading the mentorship charge because as a lawyer, I have experienced firsthand the many opportunities inherent in the application of law to the maritime sector.
“We are also doing this because at SIFAX Group, it’s part of our corporate philosophy to positively affect the society,” he said.
SIFAX Group is one of Africa’s fastest growing multinational corporations with diverse interests in Maritime, Aviation, Haulage & Logistics, Oil & Gas and Hospitality.