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My Job is Filled with Excitement and Challenges- Habib Abdullahi

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…As Stakeholders give reason behind sack of NPA boss

The immediate past Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, Mallam Habib Abdullahi, has said that his administration went through a lot of challenges to restructure the agency.

Abdullahi said this at the official handing over ceremony to the newly appointed Managing Director of the NPA, Alhaji Lamido Bayero in Lagos.

President Goodluck Jonathan had last week sacked Abdulahi after two years and eight months in the saddle of the authority. Abdullahi was said to be away from the country at the time.

Abdullahi said, “We went through a lot to restructure the organization but I will leave the assessment of my tenure as MD of the authority for posterity. This job is filled with excitement and challenges; the excitement is the job while the challenges are the interests.”

He assured the new MD of his support at all times and called on the agency’s employees to cooperate with Bayero.

He continued, “I ask for your support and assistance for Bayero because he is new in the authority and the industry. Should he fail, then we have all failed. The new MD is part and parcel of me. He is a brother, friend, colleague, classmate even the transition is like one person to the other.”

Abdullahi, thanked all the executive directors and the leadership of the various workers’ unions that worked with him, saying his achievement so far was due to their support for his administration.

The newly appointed MD, in response said, “I need your maximum support to move the authority to greater heights. Like my brother has asked of you, I hope you will heed his call for us to form a team and work together for the interest of the country. From what I have been briefed, anything that happens here can affect the life, economy and political future of this country.

“I pledge my full cooperation and support for all. We look forward to granting all the programs that will make the name of the authority better and the way we can do this is to have confidence and togetherness. Once again, I solicit your support to form a formidable team.”

Meanwhile, the sacking of the former Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mallam Habib Abdullahi by President Goodluck Jonathan at the twilight of his administration came to many as a surprise as no reason was adduced for the action.

However, facts are beginning to emerge as to the main reason behind the sack of the Kano State born port administrator as sources say his being shown the way out was based on act of insubordination.

Findings revealed that Abdullahi was given the boot for his failure to cooperate with President Jonathan’s men during the campaign for his re-election.

A highly reliable source in NPA told Newswatch Times that the Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, had reported the former NPA boss for his refusal to release funds for the re-election of the President like other maritime agency heads did.

Some other sources believed that the allegation might not be far-fetched for the real reason for Jonathan’s last minute action. They described as unfortunate that the President waited till this time before sacking the former Managing Director after several complaints over his mismanagement of NPA.

A particular source had this to say, “After many years of complaints about the MD, the President just sacked him now because he didn’t play ball with him. It is unfortunate that the decision was political rather than in the interest of the establishment.”

Some top officials of NPA, who spoke with Newswatch Times on conditions of anonymity, wondered why the President could not allow the incoming administration to do the appointment of a new Managing Director instead of bringing in somebody who knew next to nothing in the maritime sector.

They faulted the appointment of Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Ado Bayero as the new helmsman of NPA by President Jonathan, describing it as “another food by the boys” syndrome but expressed happiness that with Major General Muhammadu Buhari coming on board, such appointment would be short-lived.

President Jonathan had last week Wednesday evening sacked Habib Abdullahi with no reason given for his action, which was communicated to the public through the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media, Dr. Reuben Abati. President Jonathan approved in his stead, the appointment of Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Ado Bayero to take over with immediate effect.

Recall that Abdullahi was appointed the boss of NPA by President Jonathan to succeed Engr. Omar Sulaiman in 2012 under whom Abdullahi served as the Executive Director, Finance and Administration. 

Punch (additional reports from Newswatch Times)

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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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