Joy ,Excitement,as Akutah ‘Hits The Ground Running’ At Nigerian Shippers’ Council
By Aluta News
Indications are rife that Barrister Pius Ukeyima Akutah has hit the ground running already in his first couple of months in office as Executive Secretary/ Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC).
The new helmsman has reportedly ushered in an atmosphere of calm, conviviality, mutual trust and harmony among staff at the Lagos headquarters of the Council, as well as with stakeholders and the union.
This is a trend close watchers opine is already on the way to permeating to all of the offices and branches of the NSC nationwide.
A snap unannounced visit by Barrister Akutah to the Makurdi office of the Council in the first week of January this year, during which he exhorted the staff to imbibe a renewed culture of dedication to duty, signalled the high standards which should be expected under his regime.
It will most likely be a blend of top quality professionalism in service delivery driven by a staff corps motivated to the right levels under a captain focused on the results demanded by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in his reform agenda.
Such lofty expectations are in part down to the very nature of the man Barrister Pius Akutah, a philanthropist and community development ‘fanatic’ with a knack for creating inter-personal relationships and motivating people to positive action wherever he is found.
Then the new atmosphere already coursing through the NSC by his coming in derives in large part to his background as a seasoned lawyer and bureaucrat kitted beforehand for the arduous task of superintending over the Council.
He was appointed to his new job on 25th October, 2023 from the Federal Ministry of Justice where he was an Assistant Director, and assumed office just a week after, on 1st November, totting a rich CV as an expert in International Criminal Law.
While at the Ministry of Justice he held several positions along an upward trajectory of career progression, the most recent being Head of the Central Authority Unit of the International Cooperation Department, Office of The Honourable The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice where he worked with the Department of Public Prosecutions of the Federation, International Criminal Law Division, Mutual Legal Assistance and Extradition unit.
Strict commitment to delivery on target objectives were core attributes of the new NSC boss while discharging a plethora of national assignments, both at home and abroad, on the various beats he manned at the Ministry of Justice, including his pioneering the development of International Cooperation Law and Processes in Nigeria from scratch to where it is today.
Barrister Akutah, therefore, was onto familiar territory when he assumed duties at the helmship of the NSC, as such hitting the ground running from the very first day was natural with the distinguished Ushongo – Benue born Member of the Niger (MON).
As the Port Economic Regulator, the NSC creates and enforces the regulatory regime at the Nigerian ports for the control of tariffs, rates, charges and other economic services, in line with the Federal Government’s outlined ports agenda, as well as addresses issues associated with port concession activities pursuant to realising the objectives Nigeria’s ports operations.
NSC, as a trade facilitation agency, also bears the responsibility to promote fair trade practices among shippers and ports services consumers, placing the Council in pole position as a foremost economic regulatory agency.
It is at such a height of international maritime trade regulation administration that Barrister Akuta is functioning, with such seamless fusion into the job brief as could only be possible with one familiar with the nuances and labyrinths of international legal practice and diplomacy.
For those who know him, seeing him turn the NSC around and position it where it should be as Nigeria’s major international maritime regulator in a truly professional sense will be familiar news, as anything short of that would have been out of his character.
A typical emblematic illustration of who the man Barrister Akutah is may be found with the people of the neighbouring communities of Mbagwaza and Tsambe council wards in Ushongo and Vandeikya LGA of Benue State, where his decisive intervention to stop a violent and bloody communal clash sometime in 2020 that had already claimed lives over right to a water well will remain indelible in the chronicles of their history.
That intervention which consisted in his undertaking shuttle diplomacy personally between the warring communities culminated in his sponsoring the sinking and powering of two motorized boreholes, one for each of the communities, a gesture which brought lasting peace to the area to this day.
The new NSC boss is adept in United Nations conventions, regional and sub-regional charters, and agreements, as well as the operations of public international institutions and multinational corporations, having also handled the negotiating of international agreements, and formulating Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) and prosecution of extradition cases.
His rich track record of career progression is near inexhaustible, as it further reflects experience garnered while serving as Senior State Counsel from January 2009 to January 2012, in the Federal Ministry of Justice during which time he was involved in the practice of International Criminal Law handling cases of transnational crimes, including but not limited to cybercrime, terrorism-related offences, drug trafficking, bank fraud, and various other forms of transnational crime.
Such a work resume as Barrister Akutah has amassed in career pursuit is tailor-made cognate to the job brief of the ES/ CEO of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, and the indicators are no doubt up for a new order there.
From available indications, it will be an order of positive renewed professionalism powering the attainment of the set objectives of the reform agenda of the Tinubu administration in the maritime sector of the economy.