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NDLEA seizes N574m drugs at Lagos Airport



  • As IMF advocates 3-pronged approach to economic recovery

National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, says it impounded drugs valued at N574 million and arrested 30 suspects in connection with narcotics at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, Lagos alone in the first quarter of this year.

The anti-narcotics agency also advocated an integrated approach in the control of illicit drug trafficking. The Chief Executive of NDLEA, Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (rtd), revealed this in a statement by the spokesman of the agency, Mr. Mitchell Ofoyeju, where he released the performances of the agency in the first quarter of 2016.

The statement hinted that the arrested 30 suspected drug traffickers comprised 26 males and four females. He said the total weight of narcotics seized within the period was 100.545kg. Abdallah said the agency must continue to develop integrated programmes in tackling the problem of drug trafficking and related organised crimes at various levels, not just within the nation’s airports, but in all areas.

He said deliberate steps must also be taken to improve regional and international drug control measures aimed at dislodging drug syndicates. The chairman in his data disclosed that most cocaine seizures made by the agency originated from Dubai while methamphetamines were destined for South Africa and Asia. He added, “These steps include robust collaboration, increased funding, use of modern technology in drug crime prevention and exchange of criminal intelligence.

“We also observed the smuggling of psychotropic substances to African countries. There was a seizure of Raphynol to Ghana, Diazepam to Liberia and Tramadol hidden in DJ Rack Box to Congo Brazzaville. The NDLEA will therefore remain dynamic in its operations and maintain a clear lead over criminal organisations. “The agency recorded a remarkable success with the discovery of a super methamphetamine production laboratory in Asaba where four Mexicans were apprehended with other Nigerians.”

NDLEA Commander at the Airport, Ahmed Garba, gave the breakdown of the seized drugs as follows: cocaine 18.460kgs, methamphetamine 29.400kgs cannabis 3.075kgsTramadol 21.990kgs and Diazepam 30.620kgs. He added, “The suspected drug traffickers arrested in the first quarter had been charged to court and the cases are ongoing. Many special operations were conducted including that involving an abandoned luggage containing 2.240kgs of cocaine from Dubai.

“The Agency traced the bag to one Egbuche Fidelis Osita and four others. A total of 61 Nigerians, comprising 60 males and one female were deported to the country for various drug offences.” Two of the suspects, Akaocha Samuel Jekwu, 42, and Ekemezie Obumneme, 38, ingested 85 wraps of cocaine each weighing 1.720kg from Dubai.

In the meantime, Managing Director of International Monetary Fund, IMF, Ms Christine Lagarde, yesterday, said that a three-pronged approach with monetary, fiscal and structural actions, taken in concert by the membership, could work as a virtuous trinity, mutually reinforcing economic activity and reducing stability risks.

She said that decisive action and durable growth were equally needed for the global economy to stabilise. In her opening speech at the ongoing IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings, Lagarde said: “Each country should commit to a set of policy actions—as determined by available policy space—that contributes to a global package of reforms to lift both national and global growth.

“A three-pronged approach with monetary, fiscal and structural actions, taken in concert by the membership, can work as a virtuous trinity, mutually reinforcing economic activity and reducing stability risks. Global cooperation is also needed. “Examples include enhancing mechanisms for adjustment and liquidity provision, shoring up global trade, tackling corruption and furthering the regulatory reform agenda.”

Giving insight into the state of the global economy, she said: “The global economy is expanding moderately, but the outlook has weakened further since October, and risks have increased. “The global economy has been impaired from growth that has been too slow for too long, and at this rate a sustained recovery—with the expected higher living standards, lower unemployment and declining debt levels—may not be delivered.

“However, some recent improvement in data releases, somewhat firmer oil prices, reduced pressu-res on outflows from China, and actions by major central banks have all contributed to improving sentiment.”

National Mirror with additional report from Vanguard


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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