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Bode George, Muazu back Shelle as Lagos PDP crisis deepens



…As APC Tell Fayose to Stop Lying On Salary Payment Default

The leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abuja and a stalwart of the party in Lagos, Chief Bode George, have descibed Monday’s purported removal of the state chairman of the party, Capt. Tunji Shelle (retd.) as a charade.

The national and South west leader of the party described those behind the ‘charade’ as jokers, adding that, they would be sanctioned for anti-party activities.
Spokesperson of the party, Olisa Metuh also disclosed in Abuja that the removal was null and void, adding that the state cannot remove the chairman, who is a memeber of the national NWC of the party.

The secretary of the party, Mr. Wahab Owokoniran, who read out 14 allegations against Shelle, on Monday accused him of mismanaging the campaign funds of the party and taking some decisions that were detrimental to the party.

The members, who were escorted to the premises by a team of policemen, appointed the vice chairman of the party in charge of Lagos-Central, Mr. Kamaldeen Olorunoje, as the acting chairman.

He said, “He (Shelle) unilaterally rendered the party structure inactive before, during and after the 2015 elections without the approval of the state executive committee.

“Funds were allocated to various party members and officials according to his wishes instead of seeking the approval of the SWC.”

Shelle was also accused of “surrendering the responsibility of the party to an interest group within the party during the elections.”

The SWC accused Shelle of sidelining the treasurer and the state secretary (Owokoniran).

The committee accused Shelle of manipulating the outcome of the party’s primaries last year which, they claimed, ultimately affected the performance of the party at the polls.

Owokoniran said for instance, the lawmaker representing Mushin constituency 1, Mr. Dauda Kako-Are, who was a member of the All Progressives Congress, wanted to defect to the PDP but Shelle prevented him from defecting, causing the lawmaker to contest on the platform of the Accord Party. Kako-Are went on to win the election.

In his acceptance speech, Olorunoje said he would look into the cause of the party’s poor performance before the local government election.

As the conference ended, some irate youths demonstrated outside the secretariat, chanting protest songs.

The youths, led by one Shamsideen Lawal, vowed not allow the new chairman and his team to function.

He said, “They definitely will be sanctioned. It is like trying to do a coup, which definitely has no constitutional backing, and you fail. They will be sanctioned for anti-party activities.”

George said only the National Executive Committee had the power to remove a party chairman. He added that Owokoniran was only an acting secretary and thus had no power to call such a meeting.

apc-logo-300x226Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress. (APC) in Ekiti State has asked Governor Ayodele Fayose to stop peddling lies on e-payment system introduced by former Governor Kayode Fayemi’s administration, saying discrediting the scheme as harbouring ghost workers with attendant inability to pay workers was insincerity taken too far.

A statement by the Publicity Secretary, Taiwo Olatunbosun,  said Fayose’s claim was another lie to explain away his alleged greed,  insensitivity and lack of commitment to the welfare of Ekiti workers.

‘The e-payment system is the system embraced all over the world, including many PDP-controlled states and at the Federal level. The e-payment system has proved very effective in Ekiti State as workers were not owed any salary for the period Fayemi was in the saddle. The system has also been used by Fayose in paying workers since he assumed office; and so when did he suddenly discover that the e-payment system is not good?’ Olatubosun queried.

He said if there was any system that had potential to eliminate fraud in salary payment, e-payment was the answer.
The APC spokesman alleged that by his claim, the governor was up to a systematic sacking of more workers some of whom he had sacked since he assumed office.
‘We are aware of his plans to bring into  Ekiti civil service outsiders from Ibadan who are his cronies against the civil service rules,’ Olatubosun alleged, adding:‎

‘Ekiti workers should ask Fayose why the same e- payment system ensured their regular salary payment as at when due under the Fayemi administration but it is now impossible under his administration despite reduction in the work force as many workers, including permanent secretaries, have been sacked.

‘Many employment schemes that take millions of naira from government’s treasury have been cancelled by the governor, six months moratorium was granted in bond debt repayment, which enables him to save N3 billion.
‘There is 60 per cent cut in running grants and allowances to workers and traditional rulers. This is apart from N22 billion refund on federal roads constructed by Ekiti State and N2 billion Ecological Fund he had received. The question is; what is Fayose doing with all these funds,? Olatunbosun queried.‎

He added that it was a height of wickedness for the governor who claims to be a friend of the masses to allocate N200 million monthly to himself as security vote and another N250 million  running grant as first line charge while at the same time blind to the suffering of workers whose average salary was N28,000.‎
‘How many times will this governor conduct verification exercise after the‎ first two exercise during which three teachers died in a road crash along Ise-Ekiti road while travelling for their verification exercise?’ he queried.
Olatubosun challenged the governor to tell Ekiti people how much he pays monthly to his Anambra and Ogun states election sponsors who, he  alleged, helped him fix June 21, 2014 governorship election.

While symphatising with the workers for ‘falling prey to the antics of Fayose’, he urged them to use all legal means to demand for their pay and \’resist any disguised attempt to sack them as the current verification exercise is another smokescreen for a fraudulent agenda against workers’ interest’.

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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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ADEBAYO SARUMI: Doyen of Maritime Industry Marks 80th Anniversary, Saturday 

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