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Buhari Appoints BBOG Co-Founder As NPA Boss

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  • As EFCC chair, Magu, evades questions on Buratai’s Dubai houses

The vibrant Bring back Our Girls (BBOG) campaign for the return of missing Chibok school girls may suffer an unexpected set back as the Movement’s co-founder, Ms Hadiza Usman was on Tuesday, appointed Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).

The Director of Press, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Yetunde Sonaike in a signed statement issued in Abuja, said the President, Muhammadu Buhari also approved the appointement of Mohammed Bello-Koko as the Executive Director, Finance; Prof. Idris Abubakar, Executive Director Engineering; and Dr Sekonte Davies as Executive Director, Marine Operations.

The former Managing Director, Mallam Habib Abdullahi who was appointed by former President Goodluck Jonathan was earlier removed allegedly for refusing to ‘play ball’ with government funds, a reason for which Buhari allegedly restored him, when he took over, before finally replacing him now, at the expiration of his tenure.

The new Managing Director who was born on January 2, 1976 in Zaria, Kaduna State bagged a B.Sc. Business Administration from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria and a Post Graduate in Development Studies from University of Leeds, UK in 2009. Thereafter, she joined the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) from July 2000 to August 2004 as Enterprise Officer, before joining the UNDP in the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), from October 2004 to January 2008 as Special Assistant to the Minister on Project Implementation.

She also worked as Director of Strategy of Good Governance Group, from 2011 to 2015 uplifting the programmes of a Non-Governmental Organisation founded by the Governor of Kaduna State, Ahmed el Rufa’I; before finally being appointed El Rufa’i’s Chief of Staff.

She was appointed the NPA managing director from the position of Chief of Staff.

In a swift reaction to the appointment, the Maritime industry mobile encyclopaedia, President National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Lucky Eyis Amiwero welcomed the appointment, describing it as a fresh air, which the NPA actually need: “that is a good appointment so as to reposition NPA to be focus”.

Another respondent who spoke on conditions of anonymity asked whether the NPA had actually become the Northern Ports Authority.

“They removed Habib Abdullahi and replaced him with Usman”, he said, wondering if there was no any other competent person from outside Kano or Kaduna States who could pilot the affairs of the Ports Authority, that the Government has to bring in an administrator without any formal port experience to man the authority.

“Yorubas were pioneers in maritime industry, with the likes of SB BAKARE, YINKA FOLAWIYO, HENRY FAJEMIROKUN etc”, he stated further, adding “but, Yoruba o ronu o” ; before stressing “Can you check the status quo today? Can you see the who is who at MARITIME AGENCIES AND THEIR STATES OF ORIGIN today?

“NIMASA – DG: Dr Dakuku Peterside                   (Rivers);

NPA – MD: Ms Hadiza Bala Usman                    (Kaduna);

NSC – ES: Barr Hassan Bello                              (Kebbi);

NIWA – MD: Mr Boss Gida Mustapha              (Adamawa);

MAN –  Acting Rector: Engr Dr Ishiodu Anthony (Imo);

NRC – Acting MD: Engr Fidet Ohkiria                 (Edo);

NITT – DG/CE: Dr Aminu Musa Yusuf               (Kaduna);

CRFFN – Registrar: Sir Mike Jukwe                  (Benue); and the

NCS – CGC: Rtd. Col. Hameed Ali                       (Bauchi)”, he concluded.

In the meantime, the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, on Tuesday evaded questions on the recent calls for the probe of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, for purchasing properties worth $1.5m in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.

Magu was departing the Rockview Classic Hotel, in Abuja, venue of a one-day workshop on ‘Anti-corruption, ethics of the legal profession and justice sector,’ when some journalists approached him for an interview.

The event was co-organised by the Nigerian Bar Association and the  Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption.

Magu had adjusted himself to take questions from the journalists but as soon as the first question bordering on Buratai was asked, he sharply turned back and jumped into his waiting car.

Incidentally, while speaking earlier at the event, Magu had lamented various corrupt acts including a situation where a civil servant paid as much as over N800m as legal fee to lawyer.

Magu queried how a civil servant could have legitimately earned as much as N800m to pay a lawyer.

This came few days after some prominent legal practitioners, including Mr. Femi Falana (SAN),  had urged President Muhammadu Buhari to sack  Buratai, if the Army chief failed to voluntarily resign following the revelation that he  purchased the Dubai properties.

Magu had while speaking at the event had said his commission would start going after lawyers who aid their clients in laundering money.

He said the commission would not spare anybody, including Senior Advocates of Nigeria, who were found to have helped others to buy properties with stolen funds.

Other speakers at the event included the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami; and the Chairman, PACAC, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN).

Magu said, “I don’t want to mention some of our strategies, but we will start going after people now. If you are involved in laundering money, we will go after you it doesn’t matter who you are because the law does not respect anybody – whether you are the EFCC chairman, whether you are SAN.

“Sooner or later we will look at how people assist people to buy properties with stolen funds, how people assist others to escape justice and we will go after them.

“But for now, I want to say, please, join us in the fight against corruption to save this country so that our children and grandchildren will have a greater Nigeria.”

He said the issue of human rights needed to be de-emphasised in the ongoing war against corruption, as he urged lawyers to ply their trade while placing the interest of the nation above any other consideration.

Represented by a Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, the CJN said some recent events had called for self-assessment by players in the legal circles and justice system.

The CJN said, “Indeed, recent events within the profession have no doubt thrown up questions bordering on the ethical content of our profession and justice system, as well as its readiness to properly fight against corrupt practice.

“If charity, as they say begins at home, self appraisal must by necessity, start there too.

“This event calls for honest discourse and impartial considerations on a wide range of issues- legislative, fiscal, institutional and more importantly ethical, as affect the conduct of our Justice system.”

Additional report from Punch

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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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