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NDIC Moves to Recover N34m Debt from Okupe



The Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has asked a Federal High Court in Lagos to place on the “undefended list” a suit it filed to recover an alleged debt of N34 million from the Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan, on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, and two others.

Okupe’s co-respondents in the suit filed by the NDIC before Justice Saliu Saidu are Value Trust Investment Limited and its Director, Mr. Ray Ahazie.

The corporation had instituted the action to recover the alleged debt, being the outstanding of a loan facility obtained by the respondents from Gulf Bank Plc in October 2,000.

The corporation, in a statement of claim by its lawyer, Dr. Abiodun Layonu (SAN), said the respondents obtained the loan from the bank to facilitate a contract to supply the Bayelsa State Government with 10,000 metric tons of imported rice.

It however stated that though the said rice was successfully imported into the country on December 28, 2000, the ship was unable to berth at the Apapa Port in Lagos until January 3, 2001 because the port was congested.

The corporation stated further that when the ship arrived at Port Harcourt on July 26, 2001, an unpaid agency fee in the sum of $155,000 prevented it from berthing.

According to the NDIC, the said delay in the delivery of the rice bags led to some becoming caked and some becoming stained.

Bayelsa State Government was said to have refused to take delivery of the rice, following which Gulf Bank was forced to commence an open market sale of the goods and in the process, discovered that a good number of the rice bags were spoilt.

The bank said at the end of the sale, it was able to recoup only N454,574,150 of the loan advanced to the defendants, leaving an outstanding sum of N70,425,850.

The outstanding sum was said to have been attracting interest since 2001.

The matter was said to have been referred to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in September 2005, where the sum of N196,642, 996 of the debt with interest was waived, leaving only an outstanding of N44m.

The NDIC however claimed that following the waiver, the defendants were able to pay only N10m out of the N44m, bringing the debt down to N34m.

But since then the defendants were said to have allegedly abandoned the debt or refused to liquidate it.

NDIC, in its suit before the Federal High Court, is seeking to reclaim the indebted sum with 21 per cent interest per annum till it would be finally liquidated.

The corporation also wants the court to put the cost of instituting the legal action on the defendants.
At the resumed hearing of the case before Justice Saidu, counsel for the NDIC, Mr. Oburume Ayeteno, informed the court that the corporation had filed an application to place the suit on the undefended list, adding that he was ready to argue same.

In response, however, Okupe’s lawyer, Mr. Yemi Gbonegun, said he had already filed a statement of defence to the claims.

The document was however not found in the court’s records following which Gbonegun sought for an adjournment to be able to re-file it.

The court consequently adjourned further proceedings till July 8.



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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