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Bullion van escort opens fire on Falae’s car



  • As 153 Nigerians remain on death row in Malaysia, China over drugs

A former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae, on Tuesday escaped death after one of the policemen escorting a bullion van opened fire on his vehicle while travelling to Ile-Ife, Osun State.

Our correspondent learnt that the incident happened at Ile-Oluji Junction. Falae was travelling   to Ile-Ife for Afenifere leaders’ visit to the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi.

Sources at Ife palace told our correspondent that the former Minister of Finance, who is the National Chairman of the Social Democratic Party, briefed some persons at Ile-Ife about the incident before the meeting with the Ooni.

Falae was quoted to have said, “I was coming from Akure, approaching Ilesa. I saw some vehicles ahead of me. There was a bullion van in front, the vehicles ahead of us were overtaking the bullion van and we followed too.

“We just barely passed them when I heard a shot and I heard a bang on the car. We stopped and we discovered that they had shot at our car.

“They didn’t stop. We stopped at Erin-Ijesa and complained to the police at the checkpoint that one of the policemen escorting   a bullion van fired at us at Ile-Oluji Juction.”

Efforts to speak directly to Falae were unsuccessful as calls put to his telephone did not connect.

However, a leader of the Afenifere in Osun State, Mr. Niyi Owolade, confirmed the shooting to our correspondent on the telephone.

Owolade said he spoke to Falae directly and he told him that a policeman attached to a bullion van shot at his car while coming to Ile-Ife.

He said, “I have just spoken to him and he confirmed it. He said his car was shot at by a bullion van escort.

“Chief said he would take it up because such a thing should not be allowed.”

The personal assistant to Falae, Capt, Moshood Raji, also confirmed the incident to one of our correspondents on the telephone.

He said, “Yes, it is true they shot at the car between Ikeji-Arakeji and Ipetu in Osun State.

“There were three vehicles and Chief Falae’s SUV drove past the pilot,   one of the policemen fired at the SUV. Nobody was injured and Chief Falae and everybody is fine.”

He added that Falae would report the matter to the police authorities after   returning   to Akure.

Falae was recently abducted by some hoodlums on his farm in Akure and he was released after he had paid some amount of money as ransom to his captors.

Meanwhile, Oba Ogunwusi has urged Afenifere to make Yoruba’s progress their priority.

The Ooni stated this during a courtesy visit of the group to his palace.

The monarch, who has been touring Yorubaland with his message of peace and unity, expressed his dissatisfaction with the disunity among Yoruba.

Ogunwusi said, “Despite how powerful and influential we are in Yorubaland, we have allowed politicians to cause disunity among us.

“I am happy to meet you today and I want to use this opportunity to appeal to you to leave politics and love each other for the sake of progress of Yorubaland.

“I want you to go and meet those that offended you and settle the dispute. I am very sure that Yorubaland will progress if we can love one another.”

The Afenifere Leader, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, assured the monarch of the group’s readiness to support any course that could promote unity in Yorubaland.

In the meantime, Senate yesterday raised the alarm that about 153 Nigerians are currently awaiting execution in Malaysia and China, following their involvement in illicit drugs. The lawmakers also revealed that four out of 11 Nigerians on death row were executed in April 2015 by Indonesian authorities despite pleas for leniency by Nigeria, the United Nations and Amnesty International.

This was as the senaNigerians were executed in China also in April last year, even as 120 others are still on death row for drug-related offences, with 74 of them being held in Guandong and Guanxi provinces.

The lawmakers said in Singapore, one Nigerian is awaiting the hangman’s noose because of his participation in drug offence. These revelations came to light yesterday during a debate on a motion sponsored by Senator Gbenga Ashafa and supported by 21 others.

The senators consequently urged the Federal Government to restructure and reposition the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, to be able to meet the challenges of evasive drug traffickers who use Nigerians to traffic the illicit products. The lawmakers also asked the police, NDLEA, NAFDAC, Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria, PCN, and other regulatory agencies to develop a collaborative approach towards curbing the incidence of drug use and abuse in the country.

They, in addition, mandated the Committee on Drugs and Narcotics to urgently consider the amendment of Section 23 of the PCN Act, to include the sale of prescription pills over the counter as an offence punishable by the Act.

In his lead presentation, Ashafa disclosed that many Nigerian youths’ involvement in illicit global drugs trade had led them to be currently on death row in different countries. According to him, drug offences in some countries attract capital punishment. Ashafa expressed concerns that in spite of the execution, some desperate Nigerians were still not deterred.

He said: “The case for leniency was rendered impotent because, at that point, seven fresh cases of drug trafficking involving Nigerians had just emerged in Indonesia.”

He stated that these desperate Nigerians used to disguise as university students colluding with drug syndicates to undermine the visa system and gain entrance into Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and other drug traffic routes.

According to him, 30 out of 80 foreign students arrested in 2015 were Nigerians in Malaysia where authorities have confirmed that 40 per cent of foreigners arrested for drug offences are from Nigeria. Senator Ashafa regretted that Nigerians’ involvement in drug business is tarnishing the image of the country.

“Our nationals are viewed with suspicion and subjected to demeaning treatment at airports across the world as a result of this negative perception.”

The lawmaker chided the Federal Government for not taking serious actions to curb the menace of drug couriers and their sponsors within and outside the country. In their contributions, Senators Sam Anyanwu, Oluremi Tinubu, Barau Jibrin and Ovie Omo- Agege also condemned the rate at which Nigerian youths are involved in drug-related offences. In particular, Senator Tinubu called for the establishment of more rehabilitation centres to handle Nigerians already addicted to drugs.

In his short remarks, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, stressed the urgent need to curb the menace of illicit drugs among the youths before it escalates.

Punch with additional report from National Mirror


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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