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GoG: International Maritime Bureau lists ways to tackle piracy



GoG: International Maritime Bureau lists ways to tackle piracy

… As NIWA laments piracy-induced soaring cost of shipping***

The International Chamber of Commerce -International Maritime Bureau (ICC-IMB) says fighting piracy in the Gulf of Guinea should be through consultation rather than confrontation, and partnership as against unilateral actions.

GoG: International Maritime Bureau lists ways to tackle piracy

Assistant Commercial Crime Services, ICC-IMB, Mr Cyrus Mody

Assistant Director, Commercial Crime Services, ICC-IMB Mr Cyrus Mody, stated this at the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping (NSC’) virtual breakfast meeting, held on Tuesday with the theme: ” Safe Water: An Imperative for Economic Viability and Sustainability”.

According to him, the crime that was being addressed was very fluid in nature and so formal and informal partnerships were needed.

“The primary objective in fighting piracy is to secure seafarers and aid trade and so coastal states should have mechanisms to report attacks without disruption.

“At the ICC-IMB piracy centre, we notice different modus operandi in play and it shows that since 2019, crime at sea has been commercial, the multiple crew kidnappings are highly organised and the risk involved very dangerous.

“There is a need for robust regional response not only in the Gulf of Guinea but in other areas at sea,” he said.

Mody noted that there was a lull in incidence of attacks since mid-February, which he attributed to legal exercise and commended the Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for the development.

Mr Emmanuel Maiguwa, Secretary-General, Maritime Security Providers Association of Nigeria (MASPAN) called for the implementation of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) as well as the Automatic Identification System (AIS).

He added that implementing the systems would ensure people at sea were properly identified for safety and security.

“There is also the need for strategic segregation and regulation of the use of waterways, a boat that does not have GMDSS and AIS has no right to be at sea.

Also read: Gulf of Guinea leads in Piracy, holds 96% of global crew kidnappings- Commandant

“There should be a centralised intelligence and access across the Gulf of Guinea, adoption and successful implementation of the justice system and having full control of the Maritime Transport Safety Act model,” he said.

Also speaking at the event, the Coordinator of the Deep Blue Project, NIMASA, Mr Anthony Ogadi, said the maritime agencies should not stop at signing MoUs, but bringing solutions to the table.

“What can the Navy, Airforce, Department of State Security (DSS) and other security agencies bring onboard to solve this menace of piracy, Deep Blue Project is ready for take-off with the C4i, 44 assets in all, but it is a complementary effort to the Navy and Airforce.

“NIMASA cannot do it alone and so the need for the army, navy to come onboard,” he said.

He described the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) as a programme to gainfully engage the youths in the riverine and coastal areas, so that they would refrain from piracy.

On his part, the representative of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Mr Joseph Ororo, lamented that the cost of shipping had increased in Nigeria owing to the menace of piracy.

Representative of National Inland Waterways Authority(NIWA) Mr Joseph Ororo

While commending NIMASA for its Deep Blue Project and its efforts at collaborating with the Navy and Airforce, the NIWA Director posited that inland waterways played crucial roles in the safety of the nation’s waters.

He noted that the Deep Blue Project of NIMASA might not be successful without considering the crucial role of inland waterways.

“Most times, pirates use inland crafts, making it difficult for commercial ships to recognise them until they are very close. Speed boats can go very fast and get real close to merchant vessels before they are spotted.

“If we must make headway in securing the Gulf of Guinea, inland waterways must be safe, especially in the Niger-Delta area with its huge network of waters,” he said.

He noted that NIWA had banned night operations on the inland waterways because criminals loved to move at night when they could not be seen.

Meanwhile, the President of the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Dr Mkgeorge Onyung, assured that shipowners were willing and ready to support NIMASA and other security agencies in the fight against sea piracy.

The President of the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Dr Mkgeorge Onyung

Onyung revealed that his tanker vessels had been attacked twice in 2011 with three seafarers kidnapped and in 2015 when five seafarers were kidnapped.

“We place ships on the waters and employ seafarers who work onboard these ships. We take these seafarers as our children. As a shipowner, you can’t sleep when your ship has been hijacked or the crew kidnapped.

“On the two occasions my vessels were hijacked, we lost monies because the contracts were gone and tempers were high.

“Shipping is bigger than oil and gas. NNPC should also cooperate with ship owners to provide jobs that will enable us employ more people and curtail the economic hardships that lead people to piracy,” he said.

Earlier, Mr Andy Isichei, President, NCS, said pirate attacks in the Gulf of Guinea meant economic loss to the region and a bane to the Nigerian economy.

He noted that maritime security was one of the cardinal issues NIMASA planned to focus on and hoped they would disclose efforts and additional steps taken to secure the Gulf of Guinea.






NNPP: Clergyman Predicts Peace, Stronger Party



NNPP: Clergyman Predicts Peace, Stronger Party

…As NAGAFF Members seek God’s Intervention over intractable party Crisis

A clergyman, Pastor Joel Uzor, has predicted a new era of peace and the emergence of a stronger New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) following divine intervention, sequel to bouts of selfless prayers by members of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), on Thursday.

The faithful NAGAFF members on Thursday defied the heavy downpour, to sincerely seek the face of God, and pray that the crisis rocking their party will soon end, and the party should get stronger in the future.

Speaking during the prayer session organized by NAGAFF members for the survival of NNPP, Pastor Uzor stressed that enemies of the party will soon give way for genuine members, and this will lead to a stronger and better NNPP.

The clergyman, who presides over the Rock of Evidence Assembly, emphasized the importance of prayer in overcoming the crisis, citing relevant scriptures to support his message.

Dr. Boniface Aniebonam

He prophesied that NNPP would emerge stronger from the crisis, with those bent on destroying the party leaving peacefully without troubling genuine members.

Pastor Uzor described the controversy as a prolonged disagreement between two or more parties, citing examples from the Bible, including the story of Abraham and Lot.

 He also encouraged NAGAFF members to pray fervently for God’s intervention towards not only a peaceful political party. but even a peaceful Nigeria.

Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, Founder of NAGAFF and NNPP, also spoke at the event, describing the association as a prayerful group. He lamented the internal crisis in NNPP, saying it is uncalled for, and emphasized the need for God’s intervention to achieve the desired peace.

The crisis has brought together, concerned members of the business community with the political membership of the party, in going spiritual; and praying for peace and stability in the party.

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NNPP Crisis: Freight Forwarders Defy Rain To Pray For Peace



NNPP Crisis: Freight Forwarders Defy Rain To Pray For Peace

The grey line between Commerce and Politics further blurred on Thursday as Members of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) defied a heavy rain to offer prayers for peace in the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).

Crisis hit the maritime people’s dominated party, the NNPP, following the alleged attempt by its former Presidential flag, Rabiu Kwankwaso, his alleged expulsion from the party, and the subsequent cacophony of allegations and counter allegations, plunging the freight forwarders’ pride into internal crisis.

The prayer session, led by the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the association, Mr Chidiebere Enelaman, was held at the NAGAFF Headquarters in Apapa, Lagos.

Enelama said that the association decided to hold the prayers because of its close ties with the party, its brainchild which was founded in 2002 by NAGAFF’s founder, Dr Boniface Aniebonam.

“Almost all NAGAFF members are members of the NNPP. The party was formed not only to win elections in Nigeria but to propagate issues that would be favourable to the Maritime sector.

“It is sad to watch the ongoing internal wrangling and not intervene.

NNPP CRISIS: NAGAFF Goes Spiritual, Organizes Prayer Session To Entrench Peace

“We believe so much in the power of the Almighty and we believe He will restore peace to the NNPP,” he said.

The chairman said that the prayers were a response to the internal crisis brewing within NNPP, particularly concerning the expulsion of Sen. Rabiu Kwankwaso, the party’s 2023 Presidential Candidate, due to alleged anti-party activities.

“NAGAFF as the parent body of the NNPP, under the leadership of Aniebonam, shall continue to appreciate and remember the role played by Kwankwaso in the last presidential elections.

“We hope that God shall intervene in the internal wranglings of the NNPP and also give Kwankwaso the wisdom to retrace his steps in the issues concerning NNPP and his role therein,” he added.

Also speaking, Aniebonam said that prayer remains the key to resolving issues.

He narrated how seeking divine intervention had worked for NNPP in the past during the challenging Kano State governorship election.

Aniebonam noted that the association remained hopeful that God would once again intervene and bring peace to NNPP during the period of internal discord.

“When the odds were against the party in the Kano State governorship election at the tribunal and appeal court, we ran to God for intervention at the Supreme Court and He answered.

“It is our hope and belief that God will answer us again at this trial period of internal crisis. We shall forge ahead to elect a great leader in Nigeria at God’s time.

“As founder and life member of the NNPP board, it is my greatest desire to see peace reign and for the splinter group to retrace its steps.

“I’m a father to all and I sincerely believe that God will hearken to our prayers,” he added.

The prayer session was officiated by Pastor Joel Ozor of the Rock of Evidence Assembly in Ojo, Lagos.

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Ease of Smuggling Ends on Adamawa/ Taraba Axis, As Bashir Efforts Yield Fruits



Ease of Smuggling Ends on Adamawa/ Taraba Axis, As Bashir Efforts Yield Fruits

The ease of smuggling on the Taraba axis may be temporarily over, as a drive by the Nigeria Customs Service NCS to thwart illicit trading has begun to yield outstanding results.

The new Adamawa/ Taraba Area Command Controller, Garba Bature Bashir confirmed this, highlighting that, only two weeks under his leadership, the Command had recorded five incidents of interception of over N10 million worth of petrol (Premium Motor Spirit PMS) snoozing its way, to the neighbouring Country, Cameroon Republic. 

 “In the past two weeks, our drive to thwart smuggling rings in this command has produced outstanding results. The success recorded so far could invariably predicated on the synergy, robust border management, intelligence sharing and unwavering efforts of our operatives”, Comptroller Garba Bashir stated, noting that a key item, petrol was on its way to Cameroon.

“The Command Officers while on anti-smuggling operations along the Command frontiers within two weeks under my leadership had recorded five (05) incidents of interception of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) on its way to the neighbouring Country, Cameroon Republic. 

“The intercepted and seized PMS plus the Means of Conveyance hereinafter are Valued at Ten   Million, eight hundred and seventy-one thousand, four hundred and ninety-six naira and twenty-five Kobo only (N10,871,496.25) as the Duty Paid Value (DPV)”, Bashir also said.

Pointing out that while no suspect was apprehended during the Operations because the suspects abandoned the items and absconded in an attempt to circumvent arrest, the Command remains undaunted and committed to its anti-smuggling mandate.

“The seized items include the following:

i.​12,435Litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) packed in 491x25L and 8 x 20L Jerry Cans.

ii.​one used Mitsubishi truck -Means of conveyance of the PMS and

iii.​One used Motor Cycle – the Means of Conveyance of the PMS.

“The seizure of these items is in line with sections 150 and 248 of the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023 and considering the facts that the Command’s territorial borders are officially closed. 

“However, due to the inflammable nature of these PMS, it will be auctioned immediately after this briefing following the standard operating procedure (SOP) and as enshrined in section 119 of the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023 and the proceeds accrued remitted into the Federation Account accordingly.

“Smuggling activities had done more harm than good to the nation. It hinders our national growth and strangles our trade policies concerning revenue, foreign investment, preservation of domestic trade and growth, food security and public security. 

“Smuggling networks are often connected to diverse illicit activities, such as money laundering, terrorism financing and human trafficking, which can disrupt national security and the rule of law.

“The Nigeria Customs Service, Adamawa/Taraba Area Command on this point, will never give up in its fight against the menace of smuggling until the command is purged of it. 

“We want to unwaveringly tell the smugglers that our operatives are strategically repositioned along the borderlines to fasten their exit out of this illicit business”, he further said, advising the illicit traders to renounce economic sabotage and illicit trade into and out of the Command’s territorial borders, and adopt legitimate business, as the Command Operatives will not rest on their oars until we stamp out smuggling across all the command borders.

“To the border Communities and the patriotic Nigerians, we solicit your partnership in the area of providing timely intelligence that can aid our operations in getting rid of this economic scourge from our nation. 

“To the transporters and oil marketers to be vigilant and patriotic to deny these smugglers a supply chain. And to the Media Personnel, please do increase awareness campaign to educate the general public on the dangers and negative impacts of smuggling on our socio-economic development.

“Finally, we attributed these huge successes recorded so far to the unwavering support and encouragement of the management of the Nigeria Customs Service under the tenacious leadership of Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR, who has continued to give all the required backup and supply chain for our smooth anti-smuggling operations. 

“We wholeheartedly appreciate his unrelenting drive for service advancement”, Bashir stated, stressing the combined, cooperative advantage of all the Customs Units, which comprise the CIU, FOU, SIS, Valuation, ICT; and the synergy with other security agencies as well.

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