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Nigeria Has No Business Being Poor- Nicol

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  • As Nigerians carpet IG, Sanusi over Ese’s abduction, forced marriage

 A collaboration for the amalgamation of maritime institutions and relevant associations towards evolving a Federation of Shippers’ Association in Nigeria (FONSA) may have begun,  aimed at strengthening the industry to overcome challenges and create wealth.

The President,  Shippers Association of Lagos State (SALS), Rev Jonathan Nicol disclosed this in Lagos at the weekend, on the occasion of the 2nd Shippers’ Day Celebration,  stressing that with the quantum of maritime endowments in the country,  Nigeria has no reason, for being poor.

“With a powerful institution such as FONSA, Nigeria will dominate the Maritime Industry and even surprise our Trade partners” indicated Nicol, calling on the Federal Government of Nigeria to urgently extend some leverage to the Maritime Sector, improve on existing facilities, remold the dead infrastructures and give the well tested individuals in the Sector the opportunities to help in the Nation building process.

“Now that the New Port Order has taken off, the next step is to get rid of poverty from our system. We solicit for the resuscitation of the informal sector of cargo management.

“The informal sector will contribute as much as 45% of total cargo throughput.

“The period of isolation is gone. Now cooperative and coordination will save us with the massive changes ahead of us. Our Government will be happy to have such well coordinated institutions behind it.

“Our country is abundantly blessed with more milk and honey than some First World Countries. We have the Atlantic Ocean still under nature’s control to provide us with enormous resources.

“The lagoons are blue and flows freely from its source. The Sky is always bright offering us opportunities to explore God’s gifts. Numerous mineral resources abound awaiting exploration.

” Clement weather conditions both day and night. Our farms are fertile with organic crops from year to year. Because nature smiles kindly on us, we became lackadaisical and produce in excess “corruption”, corrupt and heatless individuals who took everything that belongs to everyone. In doing so, we destroy our beautiful natural endowment and our institutions systematically.

“Nigerian Shippers’ Council our Economic Regulator will pilot our vessel today by informing us of “APPOACHING THE NEW DAWN IN THE MARITIME SECTOR.”
We are here to salvage our beautiful Economic environment together.

“This song should not depart from our lips. Deep Sea Ports, extensive Marine Institutions, Inland Containers Depots massive marine activities, Seafarers  Institutions that would have earned us foreign benefits. Fishing and Mineral exploration should commence in a large scale.

“Agro-allied industries including modular plants for self sufficiency ought to have been in place over 45 years ago. Of what use is a heart without love?” he asked, lamenting that stakeholders and successive governments have failed to harness the nation’s potentials,  in spite of the helpful and enabling platform put in place by the United Nations.

“The Federation of Shippers was initiated by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development over 25 years ago. We must by necessity come together and fight the economic challenges starring at our faces.

“It is our believe that our maritime shelf covering over 20,000 Sq km of Nigeria,  especially its Southern littoral States has naturally positioned us as a potentially veritable Maritime enclave”,  he stated further.

Going down the memory lane,  Nicol noted that the needed structures were established before Nigeria was created.

“We therefore owe our Ancestors the debts of continuing with their cherished Maritime Trade. It should not collapse in our time. History has been written, a fraction of it has been read today was

“It is in this light that Shippers’ Associations were honored by the United Nations to set up Shippers Councils in all developing economies especially in Africa.

“They saw what will happen to the Shippers several centuries ago. Their main duty was to protect the Shippers. It took over 3 centuries to promulgate The Ports Act (Cap 55) of 1954. It is now taking the new breed of Law Makers several years to pass into Law the National Transport Commission Bill, the Port and Habour Bills, etc.

“Destiny has brought us where we are now, to find solutions to pressing economic challenges”,  he concluded,  urging the Government to assist the maritime stakeholders develop the impetus needed to grow Nigeria into viable and vibrant economic haven.

In the meantime, Nigerians have expressed outrage over the alleged abduction of 14-year-old Ese Oruru by one Yinusa, aka Yellow, who also forced her into marriage.

Nigerians, who read the story of the helpless minor on The PUNCH’s website on Sunday, took a swipe at the inactions of the authorities, saying the girl was abandoned to wallow in captivity.

Yinusa, a tricycle driver, took away the minor to Kano on August 12, 2015, from her mother’s shop in Opolo Yenagoa Local Government Area, Bayelsa State. The mother, Mrs. Rose Oruru, had gone out on the day leaving Ese and her siblings in the shop. Yinusa seized the girl in her absence. Rose’s attempts to seek the release of the girl at the Emir of Kano’s (Sanusi Lamido’s) palace, where she was reportedly kept met a stiff resistance.

An online reader, who identified himself only as Seagols, wrote, “I feel so ashamed of the Bayelsa State Police Command for saying it’s not abduction, but elopement of a 13-year-old? Shame on the Bayelsa State Government, which can’t stand for the rights of its citizen. Shame on the Emir of Kano, who allowed such injustice. Finally, how could a guy who sold his keke in Bayelsa be this powerful? Just that the police are already biased. More will unfold if only the police were to do their job.”

A commentator, Edward Owens, expressed worry and wondered, “Why is the IG of police and the National Assembly silent on this issue? It is taking too long. Why is the presidency silent on this?”

Another reader, Fineman Peters, said Ese’s case defied sanity and urged the authorities to rise up to the case and ensure that the girl was freed.

“Am I reading a true story here or some kind of fiction? I hope the VP, IG and DSS DG will pick a copy of The PUNCH and read this. What happened to us as a nation? From the word go, everybody involved in this should have been in police net. This is the most blatant state-sponsored case of a paedophile that I have ever seen. My heart is broken as I read this. Our government should be ashamed. If I was in charge of this country, heads will roll. Many heads will roll,” he wrote.

In his comment, Samuel Ogbonaya, said, “This should never happen in a country where there are laws. The laws are clear. How on earth does any sane mind accept that a 13-year-old girl has the maturity to accept to be married and her religion forcefully changed without the express approval of her parents? I thought it is the convention that parents approve their kids to be married and are believed to be the ones to hand over their children to whoever that has followed the process?”

A reader who went by the alias, Thorn in the flesh, said, “This is disgraceful to say the least. How can anyone abduct a 13-year-old girl and term that to be elopement, when the girl in question is an underaged child who certainly cannot give informed consent.”

Another commentator, identified simply as NG, blamed Sanusi and the police for playing politics with the girl’s freedom.

“There is nothing we cannot hear in this country, imagine this? Even the Emir can’t be straight on the matter; the police could not take action and get the girl out. The parents even saw the girl brought in a black SUV. Why weren’t they allowed to take the girl right away, and they were being denied access to their child, saying she had been converted to Islam. How can you marry someone’s child without the knowledge of the parents and the so called Emir and police can’t do anything about it? An underage girl for that matter.”

The Truth wrote, “A 13-year-old girl got married without her parents’ consent? May God Almighty punish Yinusa who abducted the girl, repay Lamido Sanusi for not standing for justice, punish Kano Police Command and DSS for doing nothing. They should arrest the criminal boy called Yinusa and prosecute him. PUNCH please monitor this case to the last because of the girl. Please don’t let this girl perish in the hands of these wicked souls.”

“If the Nigerian government does nothing about this, the parents and their lawyers should petition the African Union, United Nations, Amnesty International, the National Human Rights Commission, the International Criminal Court in the Hague, and all involved should be arrested, tried and jailed,” Donloke wrote.

A reader, Casca, wondered why the Emir was passive on the case despite his level of education and exposure.

“This is unjust provocation. God help us. Nigeria is a failed state. Even IG could not do anything about this too! I am disappointed in the so called Emir, after all he is educated and he understands the meaning of a pedophile,” he wrote.

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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