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FG’s inaction fuelling Fulani herdsmen attacks – Soyinka

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  • As Senate summons service chiefs over Enugu killings

Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, has attributed the unrelenting violence being perpetrated by Fulani herdsmen to the refusal of the Federal Government to arrest and punish the herders for the serial killings across the country.

The renowned playwright described as a promotion of “undisputed impunity” the failure of the government to offer “legal, logical and moral response” to the spate of killings by the cattle rearers.

In his speech tilted, ‘The Killing Culture of the Neo-Nomadic’, which was presented at the National Conference on Culture and Tourism in Abuja on Thursday, Soyinka stated that it was shocking that the government had yet to make a terse statement against the killings done by the herdsmen.

Admitting that Boko Haram insurgents might no longer be as potent as the militants used to be, Soyinka argued that the terrorists already had worthy successors in the herdsmen, whom he alleged recently “invaded” his country home in Abeokuta while he was away.

He said, “It is not merely arbitrary violence that reigns across the nation but total, undisputed impunity. Impunity evolves and becomes integrated in conduct when crime occurs and no legal, logical and moral response is offered.

“I have yet to hear this government articulate a firm policy of non-tolerance for the serial massacres that have become the nation’s identification stamp.  I have not heard an order given that any cattle herders caught with sophisticated firearms be instantly disarmed, arrested, placed on trial, and his cattle confiscated.

“Recently, however, I returned from a trip outside the country about to find that my home ground had been invaded, and a brand-new, Appian way sliced through my sanctuary. That motorable path was made by the hoofed invaders. Both the improvised entry and exit are now blocked, but interested journalists are invited to visit.”

Soyinka added, “In over two decades of living in that ecological preserve, no such intrusion had ever occurred. I have no idea whether they were Fulani or Futa Jalon herdsmen but, they were cattle herders, and they had cut a crude swathe through my private grounds.

“I made enquiries and sent alerts around, including through the Baale (community head) of our neighbourhood village. There has been no repeat, and hopefully it will remain the first and last of such invasion. What it portends however is for all thinking citizens to reflect upon, and take concerted measures against.”

Soyinka condemned the promise of President Muhammadu Buhari to end farmers-herdsmen clashes and arbitrary ranching across the country in 18 months, saying this was tantamount to appealing to the violent herders.

The playwright added, “The nation is treated to an 18-month optimistic plan which, to make matters worse, smacks of abject appeasement and encouragement of violence on innocents. Let me repeat, and of course I only ask to be corrected if wrong: I have yet to encounter a terse, rigorous, soldierly and uncompromising language from this leadership, one that threatens a response to this unconscionable bloodletting that would make even Boko Haram repudiate its founding clerics.”

In the meantime, the Senate, on Thursday, summoned the nation’s security chiefs to brief it on the incidences of violent attacks by Fulani herdsmen across the country.

The lawmakers, who  issued the summons after adopting a motion by Senator Chukwuka Utazi, condemned what they called bemoaned horrendous carnage the herdsmen recently inflicted on residents of Nimbo community of Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State.

They said it was callous to see a group of marauders gruesomely kill over 38 persons, while over 100 others severely injured, aside countless number of houses and other property set ablaze.
Though no date was fixed for the appearance, the lawmakers also agreed to set up a six-man ad hoc committee to probe the crisis.

The lawmakers announced Senate leader, Ali Ndume, as the chairman of the committee, which was mandated to carry out thorough investigation into recent attacks of the herdsmen and possible way out of the menace.

Members of the committee were Isiaka Adeleke to represent South-West; Mao Ohunbunwa, South-East;  Abdullahi Adamu, North Central; Shehu Sani, North-West and Ben Bruce to represent South-South.
Utazi, in his motion, said Boko Haram may be a child’s play when compared with the current Fulani herdsmen attacks if decisive action was not taken against them by government and people at all levels.

He called for introduction of community policing across the country as a prelude to establishing state-owned police services later which, he said, would be more on ground across the various communities in the country in tackling such internal attacks.

Senators who contributed to the debate condemned the Fulani herdsmen menace with some of them, including Olusola Adeyeye, calling for establishment of state police for more security surveillance at the grassroots.
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the session, said the ad hoc committee would surely come up with needed solution to the problem.

The senators also urged the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and other relevant agencies to urgently dispatch relief material to Nimbo and other neighbouring communities of Nkpologu, Uvuru, Ugbene-Ajima and Adani.

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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