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I’ve been in a cage for 16 years –Jonathan.



President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday looked back at his 16 years in public service and concluded that he was “in a cage” during the period.

But he was quick to admit that he had yet to see anybody luckier than he had been.

Jonathan spoke while receiving residents of the Federal Capital Territory who were led by Vice President Namadi Sambo to pay him Easter homage at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He said, “For me as an individual, this Easter concides with the time I am leaving(office) but I always say that I am one of the luckiest Nigerians. I have yet to see somebody luckier than me.

“I have been in government for 16 years beginning from 1999. Not in government as a parliamentarian because if you are a Senator or House of Representatives member, you take care of yourself, you live in your own house.

“I was in a cage, being taken care of by government. From May 29, 1999 to date; 16 good years. I think it is enough and I am happy.

“Please help me to thank God for that. I will continue to thank Nigerians for giving me that privilege. I became a deputy governor because Bayelsans voted for me and my governor then (Diepreye Alamieyeseigha). I became a Vice-President because Nigerians voted for (Umaru)Yar’Adua and myself.

“I continued in 2011 because Nigerians voted for me and Namadi Sambo. I have to thank all Nigerians. Wherever I will be, I will remain grateful to this great country. Today is a glorious day for me.”

Jonathan said Nigerians should be ready to make sacrifices for the survival of the government   at every given time.

He said during his days as deputy governor, he kept telling people that what he needed was patriotism and not loyalty.

The President cited the examples of soldiers and policemen who, according to him, are dying daily in the fight against Boko Haram in order for others to live.

He added, “So as a people, as a government, what I   believe we should always ask is: ‘What sacrifice   are we making?

“Now, it is not about supporting Jonathan or his government. Now, Buhari is coming on board; it is not about supporting Buhari or his government but the sacrifice   we are willing to make for government and for the nation?

“If you are a businessman and you say you are supporting government but you don’t pay tax, how then do you expect that government to survive?

“While in Bayelsa State as a deputy governor, people used to come to me to say ‘I’m loyal;’ but I always tell them   to   say that   they are patriotic to the country.

“To me, whenever I travel out of the country and see things work, I tell myself that those things didn’t fall down like manna; people made sacrifices. Therefore,   people in Nigeria must also be ready to make   sacrifice.

“Whoever becomes President is immaterial so long as the citizens are happy: our children go to school, the sick   go to good hospital and of course, the economy is working. But for them to take place, people must make the required sacrifices.

“In the ECOWAS sub-region for example, Nigeria has the lowest rate of Value Added Tax which is five per cent. Other countries in the region pay up to 12 per cent.

“If for instance, Buhari decides to increase VAT from five to 10 per cent, will Nigerians support him? That is sacrifice and we must make sacrifice.

“Nation building depends on   sacrifice by individuals and patriotism.

“We are talking about Boko Haram or terror, soldiers are dying so that others can   live, policemen are dying while protecting us. These people are making sacrifices. As individuals we don’t need to die but there   roles we need to play and one of them is to make   sacrifice.”

Jonathan cited the case of China, saying when its economy was threatened, the citizens locked up themselves for a period of time.

He recalled that by the time they opened their doors, the country   became a threat to the biggest economies.

The President wondered if Nigerians were ready for that kind of sacrifice which, according to him, is one of the key lessons of Easter.

Sambo, in his remarks, thanked Jonathan for what he described as achievements.

The Vice President said   by accepting defeat in the last elections, Jonathan had saved the country and made it a pride of Africa and a global star.

“For your contributions and actions, your name will forever be in gold in the history of the world ,” Sambo said.

The Vice President said he was proud to remain the President’s deputy, friend and brother.

He said since the five years he spent with the President were enough to obtain first and second degrees in a university, he had obtained Ph.D under Jonathan’s tutelage.

“I will forever be loyal to you. We are members of one family. We are very proud of you. All Nigerians appreciate the strong foundation you have put in place,” he added.

A giant Easter greeting card was presented to the President during the event that was attended by the deputy governor of Sokoto State, Muktar Shagari; the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim; the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan; and the Primate, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Revd. Nicholas Okoh.

The Head of Service, Danladi Kifasi; the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Bala Muhammed; the Minister of State, FCT, Olajumoke Akinjide; and the Chief Imam of Abuja, Muhammed Musa were in the delegation.

Nigerians’ll look for Jonathan

– President’s chaplain

Meanwhile, the Chaplain to the President, Ven. Obioma Onwuzurumba, has said that Nigerians would still look for Jonathan.

He said this while delivering a sermon titled “The Lord is risen indeed” during the Easter Sunday service held at the Aso Villa Chapel.

The cleric likened Jonathan to Jesus Christ whose disciples, he said, were not even convinced that he was the messiah and that he would resurrect.

The clergyman said, “This Jonathan they did not want, they will look for him. This Jonathan they despised, they will look for him. They will seek his advice. He is not Jesus but he is like Jesus. I am not here to praise him.

“The disciples did not have the confidence that Jesus who did many things in their lives and that of the people was the messiah and if indeed he would resurrect again.”

Onwuzurumba argued that irrespective of what anybody would say, Jesus Christ resurrected and is alive.

The first lesson of the service was read by the chaplain’s wife from Psalm 16:1 to the end while the second lesson taken from Luke 24:13-35. It was   read by the Senator representing FCT, Philip Aduda.

It service which also featured special renditions and special prayers was not attended by Jonathan’s wife, Patience and his mother, Eunice.



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. 

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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.

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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

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