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N’Delta Avengers Bombs Another Major Export Pipeline

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  • As N’Assembly summons Buhari, others over state of economy

The Niger Delta Avengers may have successfully bombed and put one of Nigeria’s crude oil major export pipelines out of action, following what the group perceived as Government’s unwillingness to dialogue with the group.

Spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Mudoch Agbinibo said Bonny 48 inches crude oil export line in Rivers State was disabled at 8.40 pm Friday, stressing that while it remained committed to peace through dialogue, it would not allow the Government to talk peace, and act Nollywood films.

“We will resist all actions undermining the ceasefire from the side of the government and its security agents/agencies. The world is watching, time is running against the Nigerian state, while we were promised that the concerns of the Niger Delta will be addressed, once a truce is declared, the activities of the government and its agents are not assuring enough, there has been no progress and no breakthrough”, Brig.-Gen. Mudoch Agbinibo stated, warning in an online statement, against what he described as indiscriminate targeting of youths of the area by Government.

“The government cannot justify the indiscriminate targeting of Niger Delta youths, while glorifying on the victimisation of law-abiding citizens of the region (Niger Delta).

“The (bombing) action is a signature to the over dramatisation of the so-called dialogue and negotiation process on the side of President Muhammadu Buhari and his government.

“Since, the cessation of hostilities and the commitment of the pan-Niger Delta elders and stakeholders’ team, the Nigerian government and its agents are turning the expectations of the Niger Delta to shameful scenes obtainable in Nollywood acts and as well intimidations, blackmails and continuous profiling of Niger Delta sons and daughters. This is only a wake-up call. We may not have other way to say it better”, the group stated further.

In the meantime, strong indications emerged on Saturday that the leadership of both chambers of the National Assembly might have agreed to invite President Muhammadu Buhari to address a joint session of the federal lawmakers whenever he returned to the country.

One of our correspondents learnt that the decision was the outcome of the meeting of the Senate and House of Representatives principal officers, hosted by Senate President, Bukola Saraki, at his private residence on Wednesday night.

One of the principal officers of the Senate, who pleaded anonymity, told one of our correspondents that the leadership of both chambers deliberated extensively on the current economic situation in the country and came up with some pragmatic solutions.

The source said the meeting agreed that the President should first be invited to tell the federal parliamentarians the specific steps that his administration is taking to take Nigeria out of recession.

He said, “It was Speaker Yakubu Dogara, who led the House of Representatives’ team to the meeting, that suggested the idea and it was adopted by leaders of both chambers.

“The president was asked to come and brief us on the specific efforts he had taken with his economic team to tackle the recession.”

He added that some principal officers of the Senate also suggested that the National Assembly should ask the President to reshuffle his cabinet with a view to injecting new hands to come up with fresh ideas on how to save the nation’s economy from total collapse.

He added that while some called for the outright sacking of the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun,  and her counterpart in the Budget and Economic Planning,  Mr. Udo Udoma,  others believed that a minor reshuffle of Buhari’s cabinet, would perform magic.

The Senate leadership at the meeting were said to have agreed to set up a committee that would compile the recommendations of all the senators that spoke during last week’s debate on the economy and come up with a report.

Dogara was said to have assured his counterpart in the Senate that the green chamber would support whatever position taken by it, to move the nation forward.

As a follow up to the meeting of  the previous night,  Saraki at the plenary on Thursday, named a seven-member committee to compile the major suggestions raised by members and present a report which will form part of its resolution on the state of the economy.

A source in the senate, who craved anonymity, explained that the report of the seven- member adhoc committee would be considered at the plenary on Tuesday while a formal resolution would be passed.

He said, “What the Senate is looking at is the possibility of putting up the nation’s oil assets for sale to generate enough resources that could revitalise the economy so that small and medium scale enterprises can start functioning again.

“We are also looking at a total overhaul of Buhari’s economic team with a view to bringing on board, fresh hands that would inject new innovation needed to galvanise the economy and take it out of recession.

“It is true that President Buhari would be invited to address the joint session of the National Assembly on the economy. It would be an opportunity for him to get feedback from Nigerians because all of us are just coming from our constituencies and we know what our people are going through.”

One of our correspondents learnt that the  adhoc committee held its inaugural sitting on Friday and decided to complete  its assignment and submit to the Senate leadership on Monday.

A source in the panel said rather than recommeding the sacking of Adeosun and Udoma, “both ministers would be summoned to answer question from members of the Senate at plenary.”

It was further gathered that the Senate leadership would review the recommendations and present them in form of resolution at Tuesday plenary.

A member of the House who craved anonymity, said, “There is nothing unusual about calling Mr. President, who is our party leader and the father of the nation, to come and address us.

“In the US where we copied our type of democracy from, the President gives the popular state-of-the-nation address at intervals to re-assure citizens, especially in times of difficulties.

“Assurances by the President before the people’s representatives in the National Assembly will send a strong message locally and internationally.”

When contacted, the Spokesman for the House of Representatives, Abdulrazak Namdas,  said, “The House did not summon the President, the House is only asking the President to consider addressing a joint session. It is a suggestion.”

However, the embattled former Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, Abdulmunin Jibrin, faulted the idea of asking the President to come and address a joint session on the grounds that it was initiated by Dogara.

But the Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), Kabir Marafa, said the senate had the constitutional right to summon the executive.

He said, “It is the constitutional duty of the Senate to ask questions; to ask any minister questions about his ministry and if a minister is found wanting why not (give him the boot)?

“There are no sacred cows. There is nowhere it is stated that once you are appointed a minister you cannot be recommended for removal.”

Additional report from Punch

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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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