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APC chief beheaded in Rivers ahead of rerun

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  • As more Civilians die in Aleppo rocket attack as Syria war continues

Two weeks to the March 19 legislative rerun in Rivers State, masked gunmen at 9 pm on Saturday, beheaded a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Franklin Obi, and killed his wife and 18-year-old son, Bestman.

The gunmen took away the head of Franklin. After shooting him dead, they severed his head and disappeared.

The killings took place at Omoku, headquarters of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government, hometown of the state Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Felix Obuah.

In Omoku last month, 25 persons were killed, with many of them beheaded.

Until his murder at his home on Rutachi Street in Omoku, Obi was the APC’s chairman of Ward 4, the same ward with Obuah.

Police Commissioner Musa Kimo, yesterday, visited the deceased’s family. Kimo described the incident as sad, while the stateAPC, through its Publicity Secretary, Chris Finebone, condemned the barbaric act.

It was learnt some persons in the neighbourhood saw the masked gunmen before the murder, but failed to report to the police or raise the alarm.

A 16-year-old daughter of the deceased, Victory, who was in a room with his elder brother, Bestman, saw her dad beheaded through an opening.

Victory said after killing his parents, the gunmen came into the room and ordered them to leave the room. But she said the killers, annoyed by Bestman’s sluggishness, shot him dead at close range.

APC said: “The killing of our Franklin Obi on Saturday night was shocking, to say the least. It goes to support what we know that the PDP members have been responsible for all the killings in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government.

“Make your deductions: the late Franklin Obi was the APC’s Ward 4 chairman. He managed and moderated the Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni APC’s meeting last Thursday in Omoku and by Saturday he was killed and beheaded, with the wife and son also killed.”

The police chief regretted  that some people saw the masked gunmen, but failed to report to the police.

He urged the people to always inform the police, whenever they notice any suspicious movement.

Kimo said: “I am here in Omoku this time on a sad note. It is sad in the sense that we are bereaved. The governor (Nyesom Wike), some security officers and I were in Omoku two weeks ago in search of peace. Unfortunately, violence has continued to pervade, dovetailing into kidnappings and murders.

“On Saturday night, precisely 2100 hours, Mr. Franklin Obi, APC chairman, Ward 4, Omoku, the wife and son were murdered in their house. This is bad. This is a sin and unacceptable.

“I am here to commiserate with the family and to re-strategise and put measures in place to forestall future recurrence.”

The police commissioner said the police would ensure that those behind the dastardly act were arrested and prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to others.

Kimo said investigations were on into killings in Omoku, including the murder of Franklin Obi, his wife and son.

The police chief also visited the Oba (Eze Ogba) of Ogbaland, Sir Chukumela Nnam Obi II, at Omoku.

The first class monarch, who was sad at the shocking killings in Omoku and other parts of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni, declared that the killers who did not want him and his people to have peace, would never know peace.

In the meantime, at least nine civilians have been killed and dozens more wounded after mortar rounds and rockets were fired on a mainly Kurdish residential quarter in the northern city of Aleppo, according to the Syrian Kurdish YPG group.

State-run news agency SANA said Sunday’s attack, which wounded at least 40 people, occurred in Sheikh Maqsoud, which has been subjected to shelling for days.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a UK-based group monitoring the war, said more than 70 rockets and mortar shells were fired by armed groups, including al-Nusra Front.

At least 135 people have been killed since a US- and Russia-backed ceasefire started a week ago.

Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group are excluded from the truce.

The ceasefire has brought a sharp drop in violence to much of Syria despite sporadic violations and mutual accusations of breaches.

Global foreign ministers – having cautiously praised “real progress” of the ceasefire – have said the focus is on convincing all parties to return to planned UN-brokered peace talks in Switzerland.

“We want a speedy resumption of the negotiations in Geneva, but two conditions must be fulfilled: access for all Syrians to humanitarian aid, and full respect of the ceasefire,” Jean-Marc Ayrault, French foreign minister, said at a meeting in Paris last Friday held to discuss the truce.

Rapid advances by the Syrian army and its allies in the Aleppo countryside early last month allowed them to cut vital supplies lines by rebels into Aleppo city from Turkey.

The YPG also made advances in that area in the wake of the progress by the government forces.

Nation with additional report from MSN

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WAIVER CESSATION: Igbokwe urges NIMASA to evolve stronger collaboration with Ships owners

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…Stresses the need for timely disbursement of N44.6billion CVFF***

Highly revered Nigerian Maritime Lawyer, and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Igbokwe has urged the Nigeria Maritime Administration and safety Agency (NIMASA) to partner with ship owners and relevant association in the industry to evolving a more vibrant merchant shipping and cabotage trade regime.

Igbokwe gave the counsel during his paper presentation at the just concluded two-day stakeholders’ meeting on Cabotage waiver restrictions, organized by NIMASA.

“NIMASA and shipowners should develop merchant shipping including cabotage trade. A good start is to partner with the relevant associations in this field, such as the Nigeria Indigenous Shipowners Association (NISA), Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Oil Trade Group & Maritime Trade Group of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).

“A cursory look at their vision, mission and objectives, show that they are willing to improve the maritime sector, not just for their members but for stakeholders in the maritime economy and the country”.

Adding that it is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a through briefing and regular consultation with ships owners, in other to have insight on the challenges facing the ship owners.

“It is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a thorough briefing and regular consultations with shipowners, to receive insight on the challenges they face, and how the Agency can assist in solving them and encouraging them to invest and participate in the maritime sector, for its development. 

“NIMASA should see them as partners in progress because, if they do not invest in buying ships and registering them in Nigeria, there would be no Nigerian-owned ships in its Register and NIMASA would be unable to discharge its main objective.

The Maritime lawyer also urged NIMASA  to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF)that currently stands at about N44.6 billion.

“Lest it be forgotten, what is on the lips of almost every shipowner, is the need to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (the CVFF’), which was established by the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act, 2003. It was established to promote the development of indigenous ship acquisition capacity, by providing financial assistance to Nigerian citizens and shipping companies wholly owned by Nigerian operating in the domestic coastal shipping, to purchase and maintain vessels and build shipping capacity. 

“Research shows that this fund has grown to about N44.6billion; and that due to its non-disbursement, financial institutions have repossessed some vessels, resulting in a 43% reduction of the number of operational indigenous shipping companies in Nigeria, in the past few years. 

“Without beating around the bush, to promote indigenous maritime development, prompt action must be taken by NIMASA to commence the disbursement of this Fund to qualified shipowners pursuant to the extant Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (“CVFF”) Regulations.

Mike Igbokwe (SAN)

“Indeed, as part of its statutory functions, NIMASA is to enforce and administer the provisions of the Cabotage Act 2003 and develop and implement policies and programmes which will facilitate the growth of local capacity in ownership, manning and construction of ships and other maritime infrastructure. Disbursing the CVFF is one of the ways NIMASA can fulfill this mandate.

“To assist in this task, there must be collaboration between NIMASA, financial institutions, the Minister of Transportation, as contained in the CVFF Regulations that are yet to be implemented”, the legal guru highlighted further. 

He urged the agency to create the right environment for its stakeholders to build on and engender the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders.

“Lastly, which is the main reason why we are all here, cessation of ministerial waivers on some cabotage requirements, which I believe is worth applause in favour of NIMASA. 

“This is because it appears that the readiness to obtain/grant waivers had made some of the vessels and their owners engaged in cabotage trade, to become complacent and indifferent in quickly ensuring that they updated their capacities, so as not to require the waivers. 

“The cessation of waivers is a way of forcing the relevant stakeholders of the maritime sector, to find workable solutions within, for maritime development and fill the gaps in the local capacities in 100% Nigerian crewing, ship ownership, and ship building, that had necessitated the existence of the waivers since about 15 years ago, when the Cabotage Act came into being. 

“However, NIMASA must ensure that the right environment is provided for its stakeholders to build and possess the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders. Or better still, that they are solved within the next 5 years of its intention to stop granting waivers”, he further explained. 

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Breaking News: The Funeral Rites of Matriarch C. Ogbeifun is Live

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The Burial Ceremony of Engr. Greg Ogbeifun’s mother is live. Watch on the website: www.maritimefirstnewspaper.com and on Youtube: Maritimefirst Newspaper.

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Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured

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…As Valles Steamship Orders 112,000 dwt Tanker from South Korea***

A wind farm supply vessel and a cargo ship collided in the Baltic Sea on Tuesday leaving 15 injured.

The Cyprus-flagged 80-meter general cargo ship Raba collided with Denmark-flagged 31-meter wind farm supply vessel World Bora near Rügen Island, about three nautical miles off the coast of Hamburg. 

Many of those injured were service engineers on the wind farm vessel, and 10 were seriously hurt. 

They were headed to Iberdrola’s 350MW Wikinger wind farm. Nine of the people on board the World Bora were employees of Siemens Gamesa, two were employees of Iberdrola and four were crew.

The cause of the incident is not yet known, and no pollution has been reported.

After the collision, the two ships were able to proceed to Rügen under their own power, and the injured were then taken to hospital. 

Lifeboat crews from the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service tended to them prior to their transport to hospital via ambulance and helicopter.

“Iberdrola wishes to thank the rescue services for their diligence and professionalism,” the company said in a statement.

In the meantime, the Hong Kong-based shipowner Valles Steamship has ordered a new 112,000 dwt crude oil tanker from South Korea’s Sumitomo Heavy Industries Marine & Engineering.

Sumitomo is to deliver the Aframax to Valles Steamship by the end of 2020, according to data provided by Asiasis.

The newbuild Aframax will join seven other Aframaxes in Valles Steamship’s fleet. Other ships operated by the company include Panamax bulkers and medium and long range product tankers.

The company’s most-recently delivered unit is the 114,426 dwt Aframax tanker Seagalaxy. The naming and delivery of the tanker took place in February 2019, at Namura Shipbuilding’s yard in Japan.

Maritime Executive with additional report from World Maritime News

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