Connect with us
>

Archives

BringBackOurGirls: Chibok Victim Found in Nigeria After 2 Years, Activist Says

Published

on

One of the schoolgirls whose abduction triggered the #BringBackOurGirlscampaign has been located after more than two years in captivity, activists and military officials said Wednesday.

The mass kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls by Boko Haram from the Nigerian town of Chibok in April 2014 ignited an international outcry. The ensuing#BringBackOurGirls campaign was backed by the likes of Michelle Obama, while the U.S. and other countries sent military assistance.

A handful of the kidnapped girls managed to escape early on but most were never found.

However on Wednesday the Nigerian Army and the #BringBackOurGirls campaign group said that one of the remaining captives, a 19-year-old with a 4-month-old baby, was rescued by pro-government vigilantes on the edge of Nigeria’s Sambisa Forest, a Boko Haram hideout.

Alongside her, the Civilian JTF detained a “suspected Boko Haram terrorist” named Mohammed Hayatu, who claimed to be her “husband,” according to a statement from Nigerian Army spokesman Col. Sani Usman.

Boko Haram fighters are known to have forced their kidnap victims into marriage, rape, and conscription as suicide bombers, according to Amnesty International and others.

The precise details of how the young woman was recovered by the militiamen was immediately unclear. The military initially gave a different name for the young woman, before correcting themselves.

“This is a major, major breakthrough — this is the breakthrough we’ve been waiting for,” Bukky Shonibare, one of the strategic team members of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign, told NBC News. Her group also gave details of the rescue that were consistent with the military’s updated account.

The young woman was taken to a military base in the town of Damboa before being brought to her mother and her former high-school head teacher — both of whom positively confirmed her identify, according to Shonibare.

The activists are “100 percent sure that this was one of the Chibok girls,” Shonibare added.

The teenager, Hayatu and the baby were all taken to the regional capital of Maiduguri for medical attention and screening, the military said.

According to Shonibare’s account, the girl said the rest of the Chibok girls were in the Sambisa Forest, contradicting previous suggestions that the group had been split up and taken abroad.

“At some points we heard they were in four different camps,” she said. “Now this girl is saying all of them are in Sambisa … It’s just 24 horus since [ she was found], so we need to, as the days go by, get more information from her to get an assessment of how many are there.”

John Campbell, the former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, told NBC News: “If the positive ID by the mother and the head teacher checks out, it would seem that she really is one of the Chibok girls. The question is whether it does check out.”

He added: “I would want to talk to the mother and head teacher rather than a military spokesman who, as far as I’m concerned, as limited credibility.”

While the Chibok Girls drew the most international attention, an estimated 2,000-plus women and girls have been abducted during Boko Haram’s violent campaign in Nigeria. Chibok may not even be the largest group to be kidnapped, with Human Rights Watch reporting that some 400 people were taken from the town of Damasak last year.

The army gave details of a large-scale operation against Boko Haram on Tuesday — the day the young woman was reportedly found — in Sambisa forest.

The military said troops killed 15 Boko Haram fighters after coming under heavy fire in the area of Alafa.

Troops also rescued 41 hostages — mainly women and children, the military added in a statement.

While Nigeria’s government has publicly touted an aggressive campaign to beat back Boko Haram, its failure to find the girls has drawn criticism.

The news comes one day after the president’s wife, Aisha Buhari, presented “symbolic” checks to the mothers of the missing girls.

NBC

Archives

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

Published

on

…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. 

Continue Reading

Archives

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

Published

on

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

Continue Reading

Archives

Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured

Published

on

…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

Continue Reading

Advertisement

Editor’s Pick

Politics