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B’Haram in bold attempt to take over Yobe Govt House in Damaturu

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Dreaded members of the violent Islamic sects, Boko Haram, on Monday attacked Damaturu, the capital Yobe state in a failed attempt to over throw the government and take over the Yobe State Government House and perhaps set up a caliphate like they did in other places where they took positions.
But the military reportedly put up a fierce battle to avoid losing the seat of power to the insurgents. And Governor Ibrahim Gaidam later issued a statement to commend the gallantry of the soldiers for successfully defending the Government House.

In a similar way, the insurgents also attacked Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.  The attacks on the two state capitals, six were said to have been killed in Maiduguri where female suicide bombers attacked shops in the Monday Market while the casualty figure for Damaturu, where insurgents reportedly fired consistently for hours, was not known as of the time of this filing this report.

In Damaturu, the insurgents were said to have attacked a police station and opened fire on an air force fighter jet circling the attacked area, witnesses said.

The insurgents, sources told our correspondent, had arrived in the Yobe State capital as early as 4.00am from Gujba and that they started shooting sporadically as soon as they entered the city thus forcing many residents to flee into the bushes.

Many residents of the town in areas such as Pawari and Byepass immediately abandoned their abodes and fled.

Gujba is in the south-eastern part of the town.

A security source who preferred anonymity said the insurgents, numbering over one hundred, attacked the Police Mobile Unit where they exchanged gunfire with the police on duty and succeeded in sending the policemen away.

The administrative block of the Yobe State University and that of the state radio corporation and the Police Mobile Base, all located along the path of the insurgents were said to have been set ablaze.

The witness said, “The military jet has to be deployed to push the insurgents back as the situation is now under control and the entire town has been cordoned off.

“The casualties cannot be counted for now but it is massive; the insurgents were overwhelmed and they suffered a lot of death but few police officers and civilians were also killed in the crossfire.”

In the Maiduguri attack, six persons were killed, including the two female suicide bombers who detonated explosive devices at the popular Monday Market.

Witnesses and security sources said the first explosion occurred around 11:20am at one of the entrances of the market when a female suicide bomber, who refused to submit herself for security check, detonated the explosives strapped to her body.

Three persons and the suicide bomber were said to have died in the first explosion.

“She (the female suicide bomber) refused to submit herself to members of the civilian JTF who were conducting checks at the market and therefore detonated the explosives on her,” a witness told our correspondent.

Another eyewitness said, “The youth vigilante pushed her aside telling her to leave the market if she was not ready to be checked and it was at this time the bomb on her exploded, tearing her into pieces and cutting off the arm of the Civilian JTF.”

Just as this was happening, a second female suicide bomber ran into a shop and was dragged out by the shop owners and in the process the bomb on her exploded, claiming her life and that of the unfortunate shop owner.

“She ran into a shop with the explosives on her and while the shop owner was dragging her out, a bomb exploded on her,” a security source said.

The incident caused panic in the metropolis as parents rushed to fetch their children from schools while businesses promptly shut their doors.

The security source told our correspondent further that “one of the female suicide bombers arrested revealed to the youth vigilante group that there were 52 female suicide bombers currently prowling the Maiduguri Township.

He said the female suicide bombers were specially commissioned to attack high density areas in the town.

Analysts believed on Monday that the attack on Damaturu and Yobe represented a total breakdown of law and order in the North-East as the insurgents had hitherto raided remote and unmanned villages and communities.

A resident of Damaturu, who spoke to our correspondent on the phone, said, “We were woken up by sound of gunshots and explosions and up till now (8:30am) we cannot leave our homes as we are still hearing gunshots though less deafening than about two hours ago.

“Everyone is indoor and our children are all at home with us, no one dares go out.”

In Damaturu, the insurgents while shouting “Allahu Akbar” reportedly moved towards the Government House in an apparent effort to take over the seat of government

But the Yobe State governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Gaidam, later issued a statement, asking the people of the state to be vigilant and fish out any member of the dreaded sect that might be hiding among them.

The governor in the statement by his spokesman, Mallam Abdullahi Bego, on Monday afternoon, said, “Early this morning, insurgents and terrorists suspected to be members of Boko Haram launched attacks on Damaturu, the Yobe State capital.

“His Excellency Governor Ibrahim Gaidam, who is on official assignment to Abuja at the moment, was briefed on the situation by heads of the law enforcement agencies on the ground in Damaturu.

“The governor has condemned the attack as heinous and barbaric. He has also expressed appreciation to the security forces who worked very hard on the ground and from the air to repel the attack and force many of the attackers to flee. As a result of their efforts, Damaturu remains firmly under government control.

“The governor has also been told that the security effort is still ongoing. Security agents will continue to track and pursue any remnants of the attackers who might still be hiding in town.”

Gaidam asked the residents of Damaturu and other towns in the state to continue to remain vigilant and pray to Almighty Allah for His intervention, insisting that the prayers offered so far have been “significant to the success that the security forces recorded today.”

He also directed hospital authorities to provide adequate support to innocent victims of the attack.

A military source said if the military had not put up a determined fight, the insurgents had planned to take over the military and security facilities in the town thus the control of ammunition and machinery deployed in the state to fight the insurgents.

Friday last week, insurgents blasted the Kano Central Mosque where the Emir of Kano normally led the Jamaat prayer, killing no fewer than 120 persons with over 200 sustaining injuries. Additional report culled from Punch.

The Citizen

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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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