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EFCC docks Metuh over alleged destruction of evidence



  • Human rights won’t stop anti-corruption war, says Lai Mohammed

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Thursday, docked the embattled National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, before an Abuja High Court sitting at Maitama, on a two-count charge bordering on his alleged destruction of evidence against him.

Metuh who pleaded not guilty to the charge, was again brought to court  ‎in handcuffs by prison officials.

EFCC told the court that ‎the PDP spokesman who is also facing another seven-count criminal charge before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja, tore and attempted to chew a confessional statement he made under caution while undergoing interrogation.

The anti-graft agency maintained that the said statement would have been vital to its prosecution of the criminal ‎case pending against Metuh before the Federal High Court.

It said that Metuh, by his action, committed an offence contrary to sections 166 and 326 of the Penal Code Act. Meantime,‎ Justice Ishaq Bello has adjourned hearing on Metuh’s bail application till Monday.

The Judge however queried why the EFCC failed to incorporate the current charge to the one already pending before the FHC. It will be recalled that Justice Abang ‎had on Tuesday, granted Metuh bail to the tune of N400million.

The court however ordered that he should be remanded at Kuje Prison pending when he is able to perfect all the bail conditions.

In the meantime, The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Thursday, that corrupt politicians under probe by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have no moral authority to claim their rights were denied when their alleged actions eroded other people’s rights and led to countless deaths and suffering.

Mohammed said it was absurd that after stealing the country blind, some corrupt politicians were busy claiming their rights were infringed on.

The minister said this during a visit to the Women FM 91.7 radio station in Arepo, Ogun State, on Thursday. He said human rights claims would not stop President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption war, adding that the Federal Government was not selective in its anti-corruption war as being claimed because it was only logical that the Peoples Democratic Party which was in power for 16 years should be the focus of the corruption probes.

Using a Yoruba proverb to justify his position, Mohammed said, “ Eni ti o ba ni iyawo, ana e o le ku.” This simply means that an unmarried man cannot claim to lose an in-law.

He said, “The Federal Government is being criticised for infringing on human rights. This is not true. People who have stolen billions of naira have no moral authority to be claiming human rights when their theft left to the infringements of other people’s rights, deaths and suffering. We want Nigerians to weigh the matter.

Fifty five Nigerians stole over N1.34tn in eight years. Should we now jettison the rights of 170 million Nigerians whose rights have been tampered with because of these few people who have stolen the country blind?

“When we start talking about human rights, we need to put the issue in the right perspectives. The granting of bail is at the discretion of the court of law and when there is a tendency that someone is likely to jump bail, such a right may be declined.”

Speaking on the report that two versions of the 2016 budget were presented to the National Assembly, Mohammed said the row was caused by ‘communication gap’ between the Presidency and the National Assembly. He listed poor funding as one of the factors hindering the EFCC in prosecuting high-profile corruption cases.

He added, “While it takes just little time to prosecute an average offender, it takes seven years to prosecute a high-profile person for corruption charges. This is because the corrupt leaders can afford to hire the smartest lawyers which even the EFCC cannot afford to hire. Finance is crippling the operations of the anti-graft commission.”

In his remarks, the Chairman of WFM, Dr. Babatunde Okewale, hailed the Federal Government’s anti-corruption war, adding that it was unfortunate that women and children were the major victims of the public treasury looting.

“We would like the Ministry of Information to revamp the National Orientation Agency to help restore our cultural values and stop harmful cultural practices affecting women and the girl child,” he said.

Punch with additional report from  The Citizen


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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