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Fake B’Haram leaders defrauded Jonathan govt, says Presidency

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… As Pastor is duped N11m in fake oil deal in Lagos

The Presidency has said the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan negotiated with fake leaders of the Boko Haram sect in its bid to secure the release of over 200 girls abducted in their school in Chibok, Borno State, in April 2014.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said this while featuring on a programme aired on Radio Continental 102.3 FM.

Adesina posted excerpts from the interview on his Facebook page on Sunday evening.

The presidential spokesman said in the process of negotiating with the fake sect leaders, the Federal Government under Jonathan was swindled out of millions of dollars before it realised that it had been deceived.

Adesina said the ugly experience formed part of the reasons why the present administration was being careful on the issue of the Chibok girls.

He said the position of President Muhammadu Buhari remained that the authenticity of persons, who claimed to be leaders of the sect, must first be ascertained before the current administration would engage them in talks.

Adesina added, “We need to know a little bit of what happened behind the scenes between the last government and some people masquerading as the leadership of Boko Haram, who wanted to get the Chibok girls released.

“They actually turned it into a franchise, it became a commercial thing and they got money, possibly in millions of dollars, only for the government to discover it had been deceived.

“They kept saying they could get the girls released; they could interface with Boko Haram and they went laughing all the way to the bank with all that money, and nothing happened.

“So you should understand why this government is being careful and the President has said the genuineness of the leadership of Boko Haram must be determined before any negotiation takes place.”

On the continued detention of the ex-National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, and the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, the presidential spokesman said despite being granted bail, the suspects still had other charges against them, which informed their re-arrest.

He said there would not have been any reason to continue to hold them if there were no fresh charges against them.

When asked to react to the Nigeria Labour Congress’ threat to embark on strike if fuel subsidy was removed, Adesina wondered whether any hardship could surpass the one being expressed on fuel queues across the country.

He said, “What hardship can be greater than what Nigerians passed through in the past four to six weeks, queuing endlessly to buy petrol and at the end of the day, buying it at N200, N250, N300 per litre? What hardship can be greater than that?

“On the flip-side, what we are entering into now is something that would make life a lot easier for Nigerians, getting petrol, making sure that the supply is sustained because with crude oil prices down, why should Nigerians pay so high for refined petrol?

“That is what government is doing. Now that crude prices are down, this is the opportunity to arrive at appropriate pricing for refined petrol; that is why we now have N86 from NNPC, N86.5 from other marketers, and it has also been said that this would be subject to review every quarter.

“That means if oil prices inch up again, it would affect how much we buy petrol. Labour, I am sure, will look at the matter again, and know that it would be better that Nigerians get petrol at clearly affordable prices, reacting to prices of crude oil, rather than a subsidy regime that is fraught with so much corruption.”

Adesina also debunked insinuations that Buhari hates the Igbo.

He said, “When the President ran for political office in 2003, who was his running mate? Dr. Chuba Okadigbo. And in 2007, Chief Edwin Ume-Ezeoke. If he hated Igbo, would he run with them?

“That shows you the respect and the regard he has for the Igbo, it was political reality that compelled him to come to the South-West in 2011 and in 2015. Let me tell you a story. There is a prominent Igbo family in this country, if I mention the names, you would know them, they are very prominent in the society.

“They told me a story that in the 70s, President Buhari was Minister of Petroleum, the family wanted to join the petroleum industry and then they made a bid. By then, there were not too many Nigerians playing in that industry, and there was a lot of scepticism from those around the then Lt.-Col. Buhari, who was oil minister.

“They all said they don’t believe that the company as represented by that family had the capacity to play in the industry. This family told me that eventually, they got to Lt.-Col. Buhari; he listened to them, and asked them; ‘Are you sure you have the capacity to do this?’ And they told him, ‘we can do it’.

“Then he removed his military cap, banged it on the table and told them, ‘it is done.’ And he instructed that they give them that opportunity they wanted in the oil industry and today that family is so big and it never forgets that the then Col. Buhari as oil minister gave them the break they needed. They told me that story about three weeks ago.

“The next day, when I saw the President, I told him the story. He laughed and then went on to tell me that when people say he is against the Igbo, it baffles him, that really he never knew that family, he just trusted the assurance they gave him that they could play in the oil industry.”

In the meantime, a cleric, Reverend Oluwafemi Iroh, has narrated how he lost N11 million to suspected fraudsters in a non-existent oil deal.

Iroh alleged that the suspects told him that they were suppliers of petroleum product and wanted him to be involved in the business.

According to him, the suspects named Kayode Benjamin and Abraham Lot allegedly sold the dummy of a petrol supply business to him with a promise that he would make a huge profit from it.

They assured him of prompt supply and reduced the price of the product as dealers in business who knew where to get the product at cheaper price.

Unsuspecting Iroh believed them and gave them the money and waited in vain for the supply of the product.

When the cleric could not bear it any longer, he went to the police at Ejigbo division and reported the fraud and the police trailed the suspects and eventually arrested Benjamin.

It was gathered at the station, Benjamin told the police that he had shared the money with other accomplices and as such, there was no money to refund to Iroh.

He was charged before an Isolo Magistrates’ Court with the offence but he pleaded not guilty.

The Magistrate, Mrs A. O. Adedayo, granted Benjamin bail in the sum of N1 million with two sureties in like sum.

He was remanded in prison pending when he will perfect his bail condition.

The matter was adjourned till January 18.

Punch with additional report from Tribune

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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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