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BIAFRA: I’ll rather die in prison than for Ohanaeze to claim credit for my release —Kanu

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The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB has warned those who are claiming to be representing the group, including the members of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and its youth wing to stop such move, that nobody speaks or represents them, unless such a person or persons are designated officers of IPOB worldwide.

The group also said that its leader Mr. Kanu said he would rather die in jail than for the Ohanaeze Ndigbo to claim the glory of his release as he has no business with the Igbo Socio cultural organization. ”I will rather die in jail than for Ohanaeze Ndigbo to claim the glory of my release,“ Kanu reportedly said.

IPOB in a statement signed by its United Kingdom spokesmen, Dr Clifford Iroanya and Emma Mmezu, a lawyer said: “We are in court and our wish is to expose the fraudulent charge of treasonable felony before the whole world.

At the end of this case, the corrupt and compromised segment of the Nigerian judiciary will be publicly disgraced. “Our march to freedom is unstoppable; this is something Buhari ought to know. We have come to die for Biafra if that is what it will take to be free. Our resolve should not be underestimated.

As our leader will always say, “Nigeria will kill us, we will kill them but in the end, we will win.” IPOB reaction follows an alarm raised from Enugu yesterday by some of the group’s members that some people suspected to be Ohanaeze Ndigbo and their youth wing were impersonating IPOB leaders in Enugu, claiming to be representing IPOB in meeting with some American officials who were in Nigeria to have a meeting with the group on the release of their leader.

IPOB officials said such a negotiation would need the designated presence and contribution of IPOB members, but they were not informed. “The people went ahead to speak for IPOB when they do not have the power and authorization of the group to speak for them.

“People alleged to be members of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Ohanaeze Youth wing were said to have met with some Americans at Nike Lake Resort Hotel between  6pm and 7pm  Saturday  evening.”

Information about the alleged meeting at the hotel was said to have gotten the attention of the United Kingdom spokespersons of IPOB, who felt embarrassed by the meeting and some of the demands the people claiming to be representing IPOB said should be done for the group for peace to reign.

“If any country or group is coming to Nigeria to discuss anything concerning IPOB and the release or freedom of our incarcerated leader and Director of Radio Biafra, Mr. Nnandi Kanu, it is not Ohanaeze Ndigbo or their youth wing that will speak for us because they are not our members and so, cannot represent or speak for us. We urged the Americans who came for the meeting that the alleged representatives of IPOB did not represent or have our support. Nobody speaks or represents IPOB except its principal and designated officers.

“We learnt that they cornered some Americans who came to Enugu to have audience with the IPOB over the way forward on the issue of Biafra agitation and the continued incarceration of our leader Mr. Nnamdi Kanu. We want to let the world know that they do not have authority to speak or represent us. They are on their own and should be ignored.

“We want to use this opportunity to tell the Americans that came and the world that the people who claimed to have represented IPOB in the meeting were impostors, they are not members of IPOB, they are the usual Ohanaeze contractors who will always condemn IPOB, but will be fast to hijack anything good that is coming to the South East states through IPOB. They do not have our support and will never represent us in anything.

“We want to tell the representatives of the American government who met with them at Nike Lake Resort Hotel between 6pm and 7pm Friday evening to ignore them and whatever discussion concerning IPOB they had with them, because it does not represent our views or demands as IPOB members” they said.

But in a swift reaction, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council, OYC, denied that it was working to trade off MASSOB/IPOB, saying that it has rather continued to work hard to secure the release of the detained leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu.

Reacting to the allegation that it held discussion with certain USA Embassy Group on the Biafran agitation where it allegedly traded off both MASSOB and IPOB, the group denied the allegation in a statement which read: “The attention of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council is drawn to a rumour peddled by some enemies of Ndigbo and busy body alarmists to the effect that a USA-based delegation that came to Nigeria held discussions with the National leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council and at the purported meeting, the Biafran cause was betrayed by the Ohanaeze Youth Council. “This story and rumour is a blatant lie. Nothing like that happened. It’s the figment of imagination of the rumour peddlers.”

“The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council had been at the forefront of the release of the Director of Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu. They have always stood and called on the Federal Government to be fair, just and equitable to Ndigbo. They have interacted and continued to interact with MASSOB/IPOB leaders with a view to finding an amicable solution to the issue on ground.

“We call on all Igbos, MASSOB/IPOB members and Nigerians to disregard the rumour which is completely false. We must continue to seek for ways to address the issues and challenges confronting the Igbo nation within the contest of a United Nigeria that is just equitable and fair to all. “We will not be deterred by the blackmail from enemies of Ndigbo in other to distract us. Radio Biafra should cross check their facts before broadcasting.

Our advice to Biafra agitators in diaspora is to confirm any Information before disseminating it as we believe that self determination is a just cause but should be through referendum.

“Finally, dialogue is the best way of resolving conflicts, as we are the major stakeholder in Igbo land, we are at the final stage to see Nnamdi Kanu regain his freedom and no threatening calls and messages from enemies of Ndigbo will ever distract Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth council worldwide from playing the same historic role the late Senator Uche Chukwumerije played to release then Ralph Uwazurike and Uche Madu from detention, as only political solution remains the way to free Freedom Fighters worldwide.

“The National President of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council worldwide, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro will continue to work assiduously with other stakeholders to see that Nnamdi Kanu regains his freedom soonest”, the statement signed by the OYC Secretary, Mazi Okwu Nnabuike said.

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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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