Connect with us


INEC, Parties Meet Saturday to Take Final Decision on Election Dates



The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will today meet with the 36 Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) and the political parties as part of consultations to enable the commission take a decision on whether to retain the dates for the general election or pick new dates.

Also, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe friday in Abuja absolved President Goodluck Jonathan of allegations of pressuring the INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega to shift the dates of the general election.

Jega had as part of the consultation directed by the National Council of State, met with all national commissioners Thursday night and Friday morning.

A statement by Kayode Idowu, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, said Jega was invited to the NCS meeting where he made presentations on the “Preparations for the 2015 General Elections: Progress Report” and that the National Security Adviser (NSA) and Armed Services Chiefs also briefed the Council on the current security situation.

Idowu said: “As a follow-up to that meeting, the commission has scheduled a consultative meeting with chairmen and secretaries of all registered political parties, as well as a meeting with the RECs today, February 7, 2015.
“Thereafter, the Commission will address a press conference to brief the nation on its decision with regard to whether or not the general elections will hold as currently scheduled.

Okupe absolves Jonathan…
Okupe at a press conference in Abuja said that it had become necessary to correct “some wrong information” in the media concerning the outcome of the NCS meeting held at the Presidential Villa friday.

He said that President Goodluck Jonathan was not interested, “neither is he engaged in in any form of subterfuge to pressurise INEC to change the dates of the 2015 election.”

Said Okupe: “The President, like many governors and citizens of Nigeria is concerned about the state of preparedness of INEC for the 2015 elections, especially as it concerns the guarantee of the rights of every Nigerian citizen who has fulfilled the conditions for INEC’s voter registration and may still be disenfranchised from the process of voting at the general election.

“The President is concerned about the security situation and the danger that the current war against terrorists in some parts of the country may impose on the conduct of elections in the affected areas. He is concerned about the impact of the situation above on the overall credibility of the elections.

“Secondly, I wish to state categorically here that at no time during the entire seven-hour meeting did the INEC Chairman insist that the elections must hold on the February 14th and 28th as published by some electronic/print media. Rather, Jega gave the council a report on the progress so far made by the INEC on its preparedness for the elections.

“In all its submissions the only process that was 100% concluded was the preparation and availability of the voter register.
“All other processes including provision, distribution and collection of PVCs, printing of ballot papers, distribution of verification machines and other non-sensitive materials, recruitment and training of ad-hoc Staff were as at 5th Feb 2015 all “works in progress”; with some assurance that all will be ready on or before 14th of Feb 2015.”

Okupe further said that the INEC Chairman also mentioned clearly that given a little more time, the commission would be in a better position to perfect these processes and its readiness for the 2015 elections.

Also, Okupe said that Jega in his presentation to the council  stated clearly that for the electoral process to be free, fair, and credible there were other matters which were not under the control of INEC, principal among which was the issue of security of lives and properties.

Okupe also said that the security chiefs were unanimous in their advice to the council that it would be impossible for now for them to guarantee security of electoral materials, INEC Staff, and the voting population in the areas currently engulfed by insurgency.

The Presidential aide said: “Some opinions were therefore proffered that elections may be allowed to hold on the 14thFeb in the 32 states not affected by the current war against terrorism; while local elections may thereafter hold in those areas after the security situation would have improved.”

Okupe said that the President made it clear that he could not in good conscience endorse an electoral arrangement where people from a section of the country would be excluded from the electoral process, due to no fault of theirs, or by virtue of just being unfortunate residents of an area under siege of terrorism.

“According to Mr. President, this situation will tend to confirm the deliberate falsehood already being propagated in some parts of the country that he was encouraging the war in the North-east to ensure that voters in the APC states of the North-east were not allowed to vote in the 2015 elections.

“The final conclusion was that INEC should in view of the several submissions made in the council, by former presidents, governors and the security agencies, go and consult further after which they should communicate their decisions to the Nigerians on the suitability or otherwise of the February 14th and 28th dates.”

Call for Arrest of Jega Provocative, Says APC…
The All Progressives Congress friday described the call by the Southern Nigeria Peoples Assembly for the postponement of the elections and the arrest of Jega as very provocative.

The party said the move was one of the new antics of the election postponement campaigners.
In a statement issued in Abuja by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said that in spite of the commendable and patriot decision by the National Council of State that the 2015 general elections must go on as scheduled, proponents of election shift have not given up on their desperation to scuttle the elections.

”It is shameful that those who should be working hard to promote peaceful elections as scheduled are the same ones doing everything possible to trigger violence. Those who should ordinarily be seen as elder statesmen have degenerated to dangerous partisans and shameless promoters of a narrow, parochial interest, at the expense of the national interest,” said Mohammed.–This Day


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. 

Continue Reading


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.

Continue Reading


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

Continue Reading

Editor’s Pick