Transport Minister, NIMASA, Others Mourn Barrister Margaret Orakwusi, Say Nigeria Lost a Rare Gem

By:Joy Enamuna

The Maritime Reporters Association of Nigerian (MARAN) has described the death of Barr Margaret Orakwusi as a huge loss to the Nigerian maritime industry, adding that Nigerian maritime sector has lost a rare gem.

In a press statement issued on behalf of MARAN, signed by its President, Mr Godfrey Bivbere, the association described the death of Barr Orakwusi, a maritime lawyer with over 3-decades, and a frontline shipowner, as a huge loss

According to MARAN, “Orakwusi is a front line shipping expert who has engraved her footprints in the sands of time in maritime sector, especially in her struggle for growth and survival of Fish Trawling business in Nigeria”

MARAN said that “Orakwusi would be greatly missed for her positive role and contributions towards the growth of Nigerian maritime sector”

The association however noted that Barr Orakwusi is the second maritime expert that the maritime sector is losing after the death of another Icon, Otunba Kunle Folarin who died in 2022.

The association urged other living maritime sector icons on the need for mentorship and knowledge transfer to younger professionals coming up in the industry in order to avoid dearth of knowledge in the Sector.

According to o a message sent by the deceased children;
Ezinma Ileka, Binyelum and Ody Orakwusi, the former President of Shipowners Forum died on April 28th, 2023 after a brief illness.

“With total submission to the will of God, we sadly announce the passing of our beloved Mother, Sister, Aunty; Princess (Barrister) Margaret Nkem Onyema-Orakwusi which occurred on April 28th, 2023 after a brief illness”

“The family requests privacy during this difficult time but will host visitations between Monday May 1st and Friday May 5th, 2023 within the hours of 4pm – 7pm daily at her residence in Ikoyi.

“The Family will make funeral announcement in due course.
Kindly put us in your thoughts and prayers as we navigate this difficult time” the message reads

Meanwhile, the Management and staff of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) wish to express its deep shock over the death of Barr. Margaret Nkem Onyema-Orakwusi who is a foremost maritime practitioner, chairman of Nigerian Ship Owners Forum and member of many notable organizations in the country.

The Managing Director Chief Dr. George Moghalu described her as an Icon of the Maritime Industry who has contributed to the growth and development of the Authority.

The Late Barr. Margaret Nkem Onyema-Orakwusi is a client and friend of NIWA and the Authority will surely miss her.

The MD also commiserates with her family and loved ones and prayed to God Almighty to grant them the fortitude to bear the great loss.
May her gentle soul rest in peace.

The Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh OFR, paid a condolence visit to the home of Late Barr. (Mrs.) Margaret Orakwusi, in Ikoyi, on Monday.

Orakwusi died on April 28th, 2023 after a brief illness as announced via a statement by Ezinma Ileka, Binyelum, and Ody Orakwusi (Children of Princess Margaret Nkem Onyema-Orakwusi)

Jamoh has described Orakwusi as someone who staked her all for the good of the nation’s shipping industry, even as he lamented that her demise is a huge loss to the maritime sector and the nation at large.

His words: “Orakwusi was a leader and an industry stakeholder extraordinaire who truly staked her all for the good of the nation’s maritime industry. She was humble and easy to talk to. She was brilliant and ever-bubbling with insightful counsel, always on the frontlines and willing to contribute.”

“Her every move and utterance was well-intentioned. Barely asking but always giving. Singlehandedly taking on the impossible. Barrister Margaret Orakwusi was loved by all. Oh! What a loss. May her memory be a blessing that inspires us all.”

Orakwusi was an amazon in the nation’s maritime sector, playing numerous strategic roles over the years including: Chairperson, Nigerian Ship-owners Forum; first female President, Nigeria Trawler Owners Association (NITOA) 2008 – 2011; Pioneer Co-Chairman, Nigerian Fisheries Laboratory, a joint venture between the Private Sector (NITOA) and the Federal Government (Ministry of Agriculture) established to certify seafood products exported from Nigeria.

She was also a member, Nigerian Bar Association 1985 to 2023; Member, Board of Trustees, Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) 2014 to 2023; 1st Vice-President, Nigerian Ship Owners Association 2014; Chairman, Nigeria Maritime Expo (NIMAREX) 2013 – 2014; Council Member, Nigerian Chamber of Shipping 2012 – 2023; among others

Aside, Minster of Transportation, Sambo Jaji said, “I received with shock,
in the early hours of Saturday 29th April 2023, the passing of Chief (Ms) Barrister Margaret Nkem Onyema-Oriakwusi, a jewel in our nation’s maritime industry and a passionate voice among maritime practitioners at home and abroad.
While we mourn the loss of a jewel, a mother and an Amazon, we pay tributes to her and celebrate a life well-lived.

Her veritable contributions to the nation’s maritime growth, particularly in the Trawler business, among many others are worthy of mention.
Her highly cerebral views, passionate and endearing work ethic stands her out among her peers, and this we admire.
May the Almighty God grant her family and the maritime industry the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss.
May her legacies endure, her memories cherished and her soul rest in perfect peace.

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