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National Security Adviser, Dasuki, advises INEC to postpone elections



The National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), has canvassed the postponement of next month’s elections to give the Independent National Electoral Commission time to distribute over 30 million outstanding Permanent Voter Cards to registered voters.

Dasuki, according to Reuters, said he had told the INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, that a postponement within the three months allowed by the law, would be a good idea.

But his advice was rejected by the electoral umpire and the opposition All Progressives Congress.

Before he spoke at the Chatham House, a London think-tank, groups like the Christian Association of Nigeria, the Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide, the Federation of Middle Belt People and the   Ohanaeze Ndigbo   had also advised that the elections should be shifted.

Dasuki told participants at a talk in London, that INEC which had distributed over 30 million cards late last   year, had assured him that the outstanding PVCs would be given out   before February 14, the first day of the elections.

He however stated that he believed it would make more sense to shift the elections since the law provided   a 90-day window during which elections could legally take place.

“It costs you nothing, it’s still within the law,” Dasuki said, adding however that   it was for INEC and not for him, to decide.

But the electoral commission said even though it had   yet to receive any formal request for the postponement of the elections, it would stick to its timetable for the polls.

“It is not a conversation of the commission’s at all. As far as we are talking now, the date is what it is,” Jega’s spokesman, Kayode Idowu, said.

He added that   “as far as the commission is concerned, it is on course regarding the February schedules for the general elections. Postponement is not being contemplated.”

The  Arewa Consultative Forum, the Jama’atu Nasril Islam, the Afenifere Renewal Group and the Borno Elders Forum, have warned against the postponement of the elections.

The ACF and JNI , in a joint statement after their meeting in Kaduna, said, “We are aware of sentiments being canvassed by anti-democratic forces that an unconstitutional Interim National Government or a similar illegal arrangement should be put in place to stop the forthcoming elections.

“We want to warn in the strongest terms possible that any designs to prevent the expression of popular will in February 2015 under whatever guise or excuse will be rejected and resisted by all Nigerians.

“The February general elections must hold under the most secure and peaceful conditions possible, and we have no doubt that the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan is in a position to guarantee this, if it wishes.’’

The ACF is headed by a former Inspector-General of Police,   Ibrahim Coomassie, while the Sultan of Sokoto, Saad Abubakar, is the leader of the JNI.

NEF Deputy National Chairman, Chief Paul Unongo, told one of our correspondents that INEC would violate the electoral law and some aspects of the 1999 Constitution if it attempted to shift the elections under any guise.

He said, “There is tension in the country already caused by insecurity of lives and property. So, I suggest that Nigerians should support INEC to make the election credible.

“Instead of shifting the poll, INEC should allow those who have yet to collect their PVCs to use the temporary cards to vote after which they can collect the PVCs when they are ready.

“Shifting the election will set a bad precedent. Some people may want to use it as an instance to seek tenure elongation in future.”

The ARG National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kunle Famoriyo, said, “Postponing the elections will destabilise many things. I think that INEC should do the needful by making sure that our people get their PVCs. This is a technology age and it should not take ages to get these things done.

“I am worried that it is only when we want to conduct census or elections that we run into problems. If you go to the banks, it doesn’t take time to get your credit cards, automated teller machine cards, and so on.

Also, BEF opposed the call for the poll shift regardless of the issues arising from the PVCs’ distribution.

The forum’s spokesperson, Dr. Bulama Gubio, supported the suggestion by NEF that INEC should allow the people to use the temporary voter cards to cast their votes.

The CAN General Secretary, Dr. Musa Asake, had told one of our correspondents that the polls should be shifted by one week to give more people the opportunity to participate in the process that would lead to the emergence of a new President.

Asake said, “I support the idea that INEC should shift the poll by one week because many eligible voters have yet to get their PVCs.

“The purpose of election anywhere in the world is to enable the people to make choice among contenders for positions or offices. So, if it is within the purview of the law, INEC should not hesitate to shift the poll to allow massive participation of eligible voters.”

The spokesperson for the FMBP, Mr. Manasseh Watyil, said the elections should be shifted so that there would be more time for eligible voters to collect their cards.

He said the “delay in distributing the PVCs seems like a calculated attempt by INEC to disenfranchise some eligible voters.”

Watyil said that for INEC to disallow eligible voters from using the temporary voter cards when it had not made the PVCs available to them would mean denying them the right to vote.

He said, “Our stand as the Middle Belt People is that INEC should shift the election forward so that every eligible voter can take part in the election.

“The election can take place in the second week of March. That will be better for us so that there will be more time for people to collect their PVCs to be able to exercise their right, else, there will be room for rigging.”

The Secretary General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr. Joe Nwogu, suggested that the elections be postponed for two weeks to enhance their credibility.

Nwogu said, “If the election is moved by two weeks, it will not be a waste of time. It is better we shift it and have it done properly. It can be postponed for about two weeks so that many people will have the opportunity to vote. But that is my personal opinion.”

The IYCW   also supported the call for the postponement of the election to ensure that more Nigerians voted for the candidates of their choice.

Its spokesperson,   Eric Amare, said,“We are   in support of the extension of the date because the issue of PVC is very important and INEC must do everything possible to ensure that every registered Nigerian has the right to vote without any hindrance.’’ – Punch.

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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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