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PDP, Jonathan allowed Boko Haram takeover APC states, says Oyegun

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Chief John Oyegun, National Chairman of the APC Nigeria’s main opposition party on Wednesday accused the government of playing politics with Boko Haram, as it held its first major election rally.

“The PDP (Peoples Democratic Party) is sacrificing the lives of our brothers, of our sisters, of our children for very selfish political ends,” said the All Progressives Congress national chairman, John Oyegun.

Oyegun questioned why the military — West Africa’s largest — had failed to stop the Islamist insurgency and claimed it was because the three worst-affected states were all APC strongholds.

“They (the PDP) have allowed the insurgents to take over substantially controlled APC states,” he told the rally in the capital, Abuja.

“President Goodluck Jonathan is so desperate to win re-election that it will now appear that there is a secret understanding that our security forces should turn a blind eye to the Boko Haram Insurgency so that the insurgents can occupy as much territory as possible and make elections impossible in these areas, knowing fully well these are APC strongholds.

“Otherwise, how does one explain that local hunters carrying Dane guns and amulets are capable of dislodging the dreaded Boko Haram while our once proud army, which has distinguished itself in and out of the country, has failed?

“We daily hear idle talks that the President needs to declare total war on Boko Haram. Pray, what has the Jonathan government been doing since the moment the state of emergency was declared the very first time? Or is the President saying that he declared and renewed the state of emergency several times only to cage the civil populace so that the insurgents can have a free rein.

“Without doubt, the war against Boko Haram has become a tool for self enrichment and a tool to disenfranchise Nigerians who are perceived not likely to vote for President Jonathan’s re-election. Everything points to the fact that President Jonathan’s handling of the Boko Garam insurgency is aimed at one thing and one thing only: disenfranchisement of persons who are perceived not to be in support of his re-election, especially in the North-Eastern part of the country.

“Is it not curious that Mubi was captured without one shot been fired by the insurgents or one single casualty on the part of Federal troops? As a matter of fact, we have it on good authority that as soon as President Goodluck Jonathan obtains the green light from the National Assembly, there will be no elections in the North-Eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe. By this singular act, some five million Nigerians will be disenfranchised, making Jonathan’s
re-election a foregone conclusion.

“There is no limit to the length Jonathan has not gone in his obsession for re-election, using the kidnapped Chibok girls as pawns on his political chessboard. On the 17th of October, he cruelly played on the emotions and sensibilities of all Nigerians, especially the families, relations and associates of the kidnapped girls, when he asked his Chief of Defence staff to falsely announce that Boko Haram has agreed to a ceasefire and that the release of the kidnapped Chibok girls was just a matter of days. Of course, President Jonathan and his cohorts knew this to be false but he needed to deceive Nigerians so as to prepare their minds for his eventual declaration for re-election”, Oyegun said in his prepared text.

The PDP has never been out of power in Nigeria since the country returned to civilian rule in 1999 and is widely expected to win the next election, which takes place in February next year.

But the opposition has been seen as stronger than ever after dozens of PDP state governors and lawmakers defected last year in opposition to Jonathan’s bid for re-election.

Party officials have already raised fears about the integrity of the election result if the violence in the affected states prevents people from voting.

Jonathan on Tuesday asked parliament for a further six-month extension of emergency rule in northeastern states of Yobe, Borno and Adamawa to help end the violence.

More than 13,000 people have been killed since the insurgency began in 2009 and Boko Haram is now said to be in control of more than two dozen towns in its quest for a hardline Islamic state.

Opposition lawmakers in the upper chamber of parliament said the special powers, first introduced in May 2013, had been an outright failure, as bloodshed had increased and towns had been lost.

Oyegun and presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari, a former military ruler, both denounced what they claimed was the ruling party’s corrupt and inept leadership.

After “16 wasted years”, the economy was in a “state of free-fall” and still overly reliant on oil but a recent fall in global prices risked hitting ordinary citizens hard, Oyegun added.
The PM News

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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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