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FG begs states to take over federal roads

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  • As Buhari’s wife sues Fayose over Halliburton

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has appealed to states to take over the repairs and maintenance of federal roads  in order to reduce the burden on the Federal Government.

The council made the appeal Wednesday during a two-hour meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari. It said states that could afford to take over federal highways should do so as quickly as possible so that the roads do not go into “total deterioration.”

Briefing State House correspondents later, Women Affairs Minister Aisha Alhassan said the FEC l approved a memo presented by the Minister of Power, Works, Housing and Urban Development, Babatunde Fashola, for the re-designation of two roads in Kaduna State from being federal roads to state roads as requested by Governor Nasir e-Rufai.

Alhassan said e-Rufai had sent a request to President Buhari to re-designate the Nnamdi Azikwe and the Ahmadu Bello Expressways in Kaduna as state roads so that the state government would “have the power, without any inhibition, to work on the roads to make them better for Kaduna indegenes.”

The minister noted that the council was very pleased with e-Rufai’s request “because ordinarily, other state governors should have requested for permission to repair and be reimbursed.

“But he (e-Rufai) asked for outright handing over to the Kaduna State government so that they can take care of it as their own, and asked the (federal) government to complete the eastern by-pass ‎which is outside Kaduna linking the North-central to North-western Nigeria. That was also approved by the council because it is a welcome idea.

“The council also appealed to other state governments that can afford to take over federal roads to lessen the burden on federal government, to enable them repair and maintain roads as quickly as possible so that they don’t go into total deterioration,” the minister said.

In the meantime, The wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, Aisha, has sued the Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, for alleging that she was one of those indicted for involvement in the Halliburton multi-million dollar scandal.

The President’s wife had on many occasions denied involvement in the scam with a threat to sue Fayose if he did not stop dragging her into a fraud she knew nothing about.

A former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Lamorde, had also declared that Aisha was not one of Nigerians mentioned in the scam or indicted for the scandal.

The EFCC investigated the scam during Lamorde’s tenure as the anti-graft boss.

But in spite of these, Fayose had insisted that the President’s wife was involved in the fraud in which Nigeria lost huge sums of money, alleging that the Federal Government’s anti-corruption war was selective and politically-motivated.

The governor claimed that Aisha Buhari was named in a document that stated she was one of those indicted in the celebrated scandal.

However, a Nigerian online medium, Premium Times reported on Wednesday night that Mrs. Buhari had dragged Fayose to court for maligning her name.

Premium Times stated that it had exclusively obtained the court summons, dated July 20, 2016, that Aisha filed against the governor.

When our correspondent contacted Fayose’s lawyer, Mr. Mike Ozekhome (SAN), on Wednesday night to confirm whether his client had been served the summons or not, his telephone number had been switched off.

 Daily Trust with 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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