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ARMS PROBE: I’ll open up next week, says Falae



  • As Kalu, The Sun return N9m

National Chairman of  Social Democratic Party, SDP, Chief Olu Falae, yesterday, said he has fixed next week to adequately address his alleged involvement in the ongoing arms deal scandal involving the former National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd).

This came as he insisted that the alleged N100 million linking with with the former NSA was given him by former Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, saying he had never communicated with the former security chief since 1987,when he was Secretary to the Federal Government while the latter held sway as the Aide-de-Camp, ADC to then military president, General Ibrahim Babangida.

He said he was ashamed to be linked with the scandal, adding that he had not involved himself in any shady deal in his life.

The former presidential candidate of defunct Alliance for Democracy, AD, said those seeking to blackmail him would permanently shut their mouths and have nothing any more to speak about the issue by the time he presents his side of the story next week.

Chief Falae, who addressed SDP faithful, after the party’s National Executive Council meeting, in Abuja, commended them for the maturity they handled the matter since it started.

He said the alliance he entered with the PDP was normal in a democracy, saying he did same for Buhari’s defunct All Nigerian Peoples Party, ANPP,  in 2007, when Buhari ran as its presidential candidate.

He said: “Some people are still writing spurious nonsense but I intend to address the press sometimes next week, probably in Lagos, to tell my story so everybody can hear and the blackmailers can shut up forever.”

Also, he said: “I have said so several times and I will say so now as a believer in God, that I did not collect even one naira from Col. Dasuki. Not just that, that I have had absolutely no feelings whatsoever, with Col. Dasuki. I think the last time I saw Col. Dasuki must have been in 1987, when he was ADC to General Babangida and I was Secretary to the Federal Government. So we worked together, that was on 1987.That is 29 years ago. So, ladies and gentlemen, please, put your mind at rest. I have nothing to  do with Dasuki. I took no money from Dasuki.

“The N100 million they are talking about, it was the money sent by the PDP to our party, SDP, following our endorsement of their presidential candidate. After a hotly debate, we agreed to endorse their candidate and after the endorsement, they said ‘we know that your party hasn’t got money with which to campaign for our candidate. To enable you campaign effectively for him and your candidate, we want to send you some money and I said thank you.’

“And they sent this N100 million which I transferred to the account of your party. And which was used along other funds I raised for the party  to conduct the last election. Remember that I set up a committee here which set up the modalities for distributing the money to the various states, depending on the number of candidates, whether you have a governorship candidate, House of Representatives candidates and the rest,

“So, the money was not for Olu Falae, I did not take one naira out of it. And since this party started, with all humility, I have been the sole source of funding for this party. I have used my personal funds, apart from my friends who work in private sector, even in government, under confidentiality, they have contributed money through me to fund this party, because they believe in me and they believe in this party.

“And we did not just endorse Jonathan, because we were not happy about the way that government was running, we told them that if we are going to support your man, you must fulfill certain conditions and those conditions were presented. We told them why we were not happy with their performance. We said they must accept a policy of zero tolerance for corruption, they must create jobs for the unemployed, that they must not spend all their revenue, they must leave some surplus for capital development  and they must fight and destroy Boko Haram so that we can know peace in Nigeria  and that they must restructure Nigeria so that every part of Nigeria will be happy to be in Nigeria and nobody will want to leave Nigeria. And finally that if they win the election with our support, they should allow us to have reasonable participation in the government.

In the meantime, as Nigeria’s anticorruption war gathers momentum, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has said it wanted to interrogate some beneficiaries of the N120m compensation paid to some newspaper outfits even as the Sun Newspaper recently announced that they have returned the N9million it received from the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), which was given to them from the office of the embattled former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki. Managing Director/Editor- in- Chief of The Sun, Mr. Eric Osagie, in a statement said it took the decision to return the money following the controversies it has generated and also as a means to come clean.

“The Management of The Sun Publishing Limited has considered the public outcry and diverse controversies generated among media houses, the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) and the public over the N120 million paid by the Goodluck Jonathan administration as compensation to newspaper companies for the unlawful seizure of their newspapers and stoppage of circulation by armed soldiers in several cities across the country in June 2014,” the statement read.

“After the unlawful action of the military, to which The Sun lost millions of naira, we had signified the intention to commence litigation against the Federal Government along with other affected newspaper companies.

However, at the level of the NPAN, which The Sun is a member, a decision was collectively taken to accept the Presidency’s offer of peaceful settlement in place of litigation in the interest of peace and national security. “We were later informed of the payment of N120 million compensation out of which the sum of N9 million was paid to The Sun Management by the NPAN.

At the time the compensation was paid, we had no inkling whatsoever under which expenditure sub-head in the Presidency the fund was sourced and that it was allegedly part of the funds meant for the purchase of arms.

In the light of the foregoing, we have returned the cheque of N9 million to the NPAN for onward transmission to the source through which it came.”

The fund given to the newspaper houses is believed to have come from the $2.1 billion intended for arming Nigeria’s military against Boko Haram but were instead funneled into the accounts of several high-profile politicians, media moguls, and military officers during President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

Vanguard with additional report from National Mirror


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



…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



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

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Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured



…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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