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Buhari unfolds 10-point agenda



President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, (rtd), yesterday outlined 10 development challenges as the mission of his presidency due to begin on May 29.

Speaking in Abuja in an address he delivered at the induction held for the incoming members of the National Assembly organised by the National Institute or Legislative Studies, General Buhari listed the challenges as:

. General insecurity and insurgency that has caused extreme human hardship and destruction of lives, livelihoods that may take us over a decade to rebuild across most of North Eastern Nigeria and some parts of North Western Nigeria;

. Devastation and environmental degradation in the Niger Delta area which must be attended to;

. Decline in revenues due to fall in oil prices which poses a threat to government’s capacity to deliver on reconstruction of devastated areas and the new government development agenda;

. Endemic corruption which has crippled human and infrastructure development for decades;

. Unacceptably poor provision of power supply which has had a crippling effect on development of small businesses and indeed the wider economy;

. Deindustrialisation for the past three decades leading to closure of many industries and migration of many to other African countries;

. Unacceptably high levels of unemployment and especially youth unemployment reaching over 40%;

.High cost of governance that has been crowding out capital and human development;

. Erosion of public social services such as infrastructure, health and education; and

.Lack of development in the agricultural and solid mineral sectors.

Underscoring the need for collaboration between his presidency and the National Assembly, he said: “The legislature is a critical component and necessary ingredient of democracy and good governance. The legislature by nature is inherently democratic in the sense that all members are equal and are elected representatives of the Nigerian people. As President-elect, I recognize this fact and believe that legislators carry this heavy burden of representation with all the seriousness it deserves.

“For a president to be successful in addressing community development and general welfare of the various people of the country, he or she would benefit from working closely and in harmony with the legislative arm of government. I, therefore, commit myself to working with the legislature as development partners motivated by the desire to deliver good governance.”

General Buhari, while congratulating the lawmakers on their election, asked them to be mindful that they and the other elected officials are on the threshold of history.

He recalled that “for the first time in our post independence history, power is going to be transferred from an incumbent ruling party to an opposition party. This is in spite of predictions of calamitous outcomes. Nigerians have, indeed, proven once again that they are a united people and stand resolute to protect its growing democracy.”

The President-elect commended the political class, including outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan for their spirit of sportsmanship during and after the election, adding that the victory was not only for those that won at the polls.

According to him, “I dare say, it is equally a victory for all political parties and their leaderships for according due respect to the electoral process and accepting the results in most cases. I wish to specifically acknowledge the role played by the President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, for accepting results of the election before the final announcement was made.”

Buhari also commended “the professionalism of our security agencies, the competence and resilience of INEC,” and “above all, the doggedness of Nigerians and their commitment to ensuring that their wishes are represented and respected.”

Earlier, the Senate President and Chairman of the National Assembly, Sen. David Mark, commended the President-elect for making history as the ‘’first to address a semi-joint session of the National Assembly where both presiding officers are present.’

“Today is a historic day in Nigerian democracy as it is the first time a President-elect is addressing almost a joint session of the National Assembly; the difference is that there’s no Mace and the venue is also different,” Mark noted.

He assured the President-elect of the cooperation of the incoming assembly in delivering good governance.

Tambuwal, in his votes of thanks, commended the President-elect for making out time to address incoming lawmakers, assuring him of their unconditional support as he prepares to steer the affairs the state.

“I must commend you for choosing to come yourself to meet with members-elect to address them as your partners in progress by the grace of God.

“If I said this on behalf of the incoming 8th Assembly, I don’t think it will be out of place that I’m sure they will extend their unconditional hands of friendship as you resume your duties of piloting the nation’s affairs,” Tambuwal assured.



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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