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Lagos lawyer threatens Buhari with suit over change of title

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… As Leadway Assurance launches funeral cover plan

A Lagos-based lawyer and rights activist, Mr. Ebun Adegboruwa, has faulted the decision of the President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) to drop his military title of Major General after May 29 swearing in date, arguing that it is illegal and immoral. He, therefore, threatened to drag Buhari to court.

In a statement in Lagos, Adegboruwa contended that it will be unlawful for him to take such decision now, having enjoyed all benefits attached to that title as a former military officer and head of state.

According to him, “by virtue of Paragraph 1(1) of the 1st Schedule of the Armed Forces Pensions Act, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) is entitled to, and has indeed been receiving and benefiting from pension, as an officer who held a regular commission, before his retirement.

“Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) is the official and legal status, title, designation and appellation of our President-elect. He has no choice in the matter, but to continue to carry this cross for life.

“The military world over is a dignified institution, built on discipline, selflessness, courage, dignity, loyalty and patriotism.

“It is an institution that everyone should be proud of, except those of them who were trained and equipped by this noble institution, but chose to capture civilian power, through coup d’etat.

“Buhari attends the Council of State meetings as former Head of State, which office he held in his capacity as a Major-General, which officially qualifies him to earn some benefits, have security aides, salaries, emoluments, diplomatic passports as well as free medical treatment, home and abroad.

“From all the foregoing, I therefore humbly appeal to the President-elect to continue to bear his official name and status, by which he once climbed to power. I do sincerely sympathise with him on the very sad and distasteful memories that this title attracts to him. But it is his cross to carry.

“Nigerians voted for him in spite of his past and that should be enough encouragement for him to strive to erase any negative impression that it may have occasioned.”

Buhari is in order—Falana

Another Lagos lawyer and activist, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), disagreed with Mr. Adegboruwa, saying “Buhari’s decision is normal. General Obasanjo did the same thing. He was referred to as Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

“There is nothing wrong in that. In the real sense of it, he remains a General. However, when you become an elected President, you cannot continue to be addressed as a General in a democracy. We cannot have a General in a democracy.

“Even his (Buhari) ADC, under the constitution, shall be a police officer not below the rank of an Assistant Superintendent of Police. Section 419 of the Police Act states this.

“The parade of the military as ADC by Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan is not part of our constitution.”

His wishes must be respected —Ubani, ex-NBA boss

Also arguing in support of Mr. Falana, former Chairman of Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, Ikeja branch, Mr. Monday Ubani said: “What Buhari did is right.

“If you are filling a form and you are requested to put your name as you want to be addressed, you may decide not to answer Barrister Ubani, but just Ubani or M. O. Ubani.

“What the President-elect wants is uniformity in addressing him as President Muhammadu Buhari, not Alhaji, or General. So, as somebody who wants to operate under a democratic dispensation, he decided to put aside all the military toga.

leadwaygroupMeanwhile, Leadway Assurance Company Limited has launched a new life product named the Leadway Family Benefit Plan Plus (LFBPP). The product is a multi-life policy designed to cover funeral expenses for the assured lives (spouse, parents and/or parents-in-law that are named in the policy) and the policy holder (person who purchased the policy). The policy helps to alleviate and bury the worries associated with the funerals for elderly loved ones.

Speaking at the product launch held at the corporate office of Leadway Assurance in Lagos, Head, Life Retail, Mr. Femi Adebayo, explained that the policy provided funeral benefits in respect of all the assured lives as long as their death preceded that of the policyholder. The policy also provided other benefits including offering additional monthly payments to the beneficiaries of the policyholder in the event of his demise.

According to him, the Family Benefit Plan Plus was one of the ways in which Leadway Assurance was making life beautiful for its customers. Also speaking at the launch, General Manager, Life Division, Mr. Shadrack Sivhugwana said he expected that the demand for funeral insurance will be the main driver of insurance growth in Africa in the next couple years, charging the public to take advantage of the new product and be prepared when the inevitable happens.

Established over 45 years ago, Leadway is a composite insurance company underwriting both life and general insurance business with 23 branches spread across Nigeria. Leadway’s reputation has been attained by the continuing pursuit of improvements to maintain its competitive advantage within a very soft market environment. The company also offers subsidiary financial services like bonds, secured credit, miscellaneous financial losses and fund/portfolio management.

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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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