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Peacekeeping centre moves to address insecurity in Gulf of Guinea



Peacekeeping centre moves to address insecurity in Gulf of Guinea

Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peacekeeping Centre (MLAILPKC) has engaged in research with a view to proffering solution to the menace of piracy and maritime crimes in the Gulf of Guinea.

The centre on Wednesday in Abuja, commenced the validation exercise of a research project on piracy in the Gulf of Guinea: Root Causes, Effects and Priority Intervention Measure.

Chief of Training (Army), Maj.-Gen. Francis Azinta, represented by the Director of Training, Maj.-Gen. Abubakar Ndalolo, said the research was important considering the importance of the region to African economy.

Azinta said that the Gulf of Guinea was a major strategic asset to West Africa and Africa at large, as well as a major critical economic nexus between the Americas and Asia.

He said that the rate of piracy in the gulf was believed to be one of the highest in the world, adding that 95 per cent of sea crimes took place in the region.

Azinta said that piracy in the Gulf of Guinea was a source of concern to Nigeria, adding that the research project being conducted by the centre was timely.

”The European Union Maritime Safety Agency fact sheet estimated that about 1,500 vessels, tankers and cargo ships navigate the golf daily.

“This huge volume of maritime cargo is being threatened by piracy.

“This is the reason why the International Maritime organisation is always crying out on the increased threats and attacks on the individual and seafarers in the region,” he said.

He said that whether we like it or not this contributed negatively to affect global trade and safety of seafarers.

”The International Maritime Bureau which have been tracking piracy in the region has also alluded to this part by stating that the region accounts for about 95 per cent of kidnapping at sea.

“So, you all agree with me that the Gulf of Guinea has become a hub of piracy due to high unemployment rates along the coast of West Africa, weak security and lack of enforcement of maritime laws.

Also read: UN Lauds Nigeria’s Leading Role in Securing Gulf of Guinea

“It has, therefore, become expedient to stem the tide of this trend right now,’’ he said.

The Commandant, MLAILPKC, Maj.-Gen. James Ataguba, said the projected was being conducted in collaboration with the Government of Japan through UN Development Programme (UNDP).

Ataguba said that activities of pirates had posed serious threats to maritime trade and business along the corridor of the Gulf, adding that it had retarded the region’s economy, particularly Nigeria.

This, according to him, calls for concerted actions to reduce the influence and activities of this hoodlums in the region.

He said that the project sought to unravel the root causes of piracy and maritime crimes in the Gulf of Guinea with a view to curbing the menace.

He commended the Government of Japan and the UNDP for the collaboration with the centre on the project.

“The validation of this project will assist the centre’s institutional and operational capacities to meet its mandate through delivery of quality training to target beneficiaries.

“In addition, it will assist Countries of the region to further strengthen their institutional effectiveness, inclusiveness, accountability, transparency and responsiveness at National and international levels.

“Furthermore, the entire project will contribute towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that aims to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective and accountable institutions at all levels.

“The project will no doubt potentially contribute to a reduction in extremism, violence, crime and exclusion in the region,’’ he said.

The Representative of Japanese government and Defence Attaché, Lt.-Col. Uchiumi Kazuaki, said that his country believed that the project would contribute to the future safety of the Gulf of Guinea.

Kazuaki said that the security of the region was important to the global economy, adding that Japan was concerned about the safety in the region.

He said that his country attached importance to addressing the menace, hence the need to support peace-keeping centres in Africa in the area of research and development.


Health and Safety

GOUNI: After 18 Years, Varsity May Give Mass Burial To 33 Corpses



…Abandoned In Its Mortuary***

 Godfrey Okoye University (GOUNI), Enugu, has given families of 33 corpses abandoned in its hospital mortuary 21 days to evacuate them, failing which the corpses would be given mass burial.

Some of the corpses had been in the mortuary for more than 18 years.

Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Christian Anieke, told a news conference in Enugu on Sunday that the ultimatum, given on Nov. 13 became necessary to enable the university to renovate the mortuary.

GOUNI is owned by the Catholic Diocese of Enugu. It recently converted and upgraded one of its hospitals hosting the mortuary to serve as the varsity’s medical teaching hospital.

Anieke said the renovation and upgrading would make the mortuary a fitting one for a teaching hospital.

“We have gotten a court injunction to carry out the mass burial of the 33 abandoned corpses in our teaching hospital morgue.

“Some of the corpses have been in the mortuary for more than 18 years and it is quite challenging as we want to renovate and make the hospital a befitting one for a teaching hospital,’’ he said.

While confirming ignorance of what could be responsible for the long stay of the corpses, he opined that some probably had no relations or they were criminals.

“I am appealing to those who have corpses in the mortuary to come and remove them.

“We are talking about human beings here and not animals. Go and check if your relationship is there,’’ he admonished.

Anieke added that in Igbo tradition, families have to give a befitting burial to the deceased.

“`It is believed that if the dead is not given befitting burial it will have bad consequences on the family,’’ he said.

In his remarks, the Chief Medical Director of the teaching hospital, Prof. Cajetan Nwadinigwe, said many of the corpses did not have name tags, while about 14 of them bore the same name.

He said there were no records of dates in which some of the corpses were deposited at the mortuary, while it was evident that some had been there for more than 10 years.

“This is our basis of approaching the court and advertising the warning in newspapers for families to see,’’ Nwadinigwe said. 

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Health and Safety

Kidnapped UNTH Doctor Escapes From Abductors’ Den – NMA Confirms



…First crawled, then trekked a while before breaking into a run…!

Those who think educated doctors are weaklings would be shocked as the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) confirms the escape of an abducted resident doctor, Dr Orockarrah Orock attached to the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu State.

The kidnapped doctor who has now rejoined his happy family gave an account of how he first crawled like an agile soldier, before trekking miles, like a Spartan, to escape and secure freedom.

The Maritime First learnt that Orock attached to the Anesthesia Department of the UNTH was on Saturday night kidnapped within the hospital premises, while on call duty.

The Chairman of NMA, Enugu State Chapter, Dr. Celestine Ugwoke, who gave the confirmation to newsmen in Enugu on Monday, stressed that Orock miraculously made his escape after the kidnappers felt satisfied with the agreement by his wife to pay the ransom demanded,  decided to go and have a “nice time with their weeds and spirits and fell into a deep sleep”

Chairman of NMA, Enugu State Chapter, Dr Celestine Ugwoke

The abducted doctor thereafter, “”gradually crawled away from the spot he was kept in the kidnappers’ den and later trekked and ran a distance before sighting human activities”, before finally coming out, near the Four Corner Junction of Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway.

“He called his wife and the wife called the UNTH chief security officer that picked him up that midnight of Saturday. We are profoundly grateful to God for his miraculous escape,” he said.

The chairman, however, said that doctors had become endangered professionals in the state, as kidnappers always target them especially those working in tertiary health institutions in the state.

“We are really in trouble as doctors are now their target and we are living in fear as the kidnappers now chase us as if they are chasing rats,” he said.

The chairman said that any more abduction of any doctor in UNTH again, doctors in the teaching hospital would totally down tools adding that this warning would be extended to other tertiary hospitals in the state.

Ugwoke said that the association would be meeting with the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of UNTH to mandate to release of security protocol for the hospital, to ensure the safety of all doctors, management staff, staff, and patients in the hospital.

“We also want the hospital management to beef up security within the hospital, ensure adequate perimeter fencing of the entire hospital, and installation of Close Circuit Television Camera (CCTV) and its monitoring base within the hospital.

“As an association, we have previously met the state’s Commissioner for Health and the Commissioner of Police on the spate of insecurity our members face even in the discharge of their life-saving professional duties.

“All efforts through official letters and other means to pay a courtesy call on Gov. Peter Mbah and intimate him on the vital issue of doctors’ security in the state had proved abortive.

“Maybe, the government wants doctors to leave their duty posts and carry placards to the Enugu Government House before listening to us. This will be very bad if allowed to drag to this point,” he said.

Efforts made to get the Spokesperson for Enugu State Police Command, DSP Daniel Ndukwe, to speak on the matter proved abortive as he did not pick up several calls made to his cellphone.

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Health and Safety

Lagos Rallies Volunteer Groups On Environmental Conservation



Sanwo-Olu tasks MSMEs on digitalisation to harness AfCFTA benefits

The Lagos State Government rallied environmental groups to collaborate with it and explore innovative solutions to achieve environmental conservation.

 The Permanent Secretary, Office of Environmental Services, Gaji Omobolaji during a workshop for Coalition of Lagos Environmental Group (COLEG) at LCCI Building, Ikeja,  said the objective of the workshop is a commitment to the protection and preservation of the environment.  

Gaji, represented by the Deputy Director of Sanitation, Mr. Jide Adeoye said the Coalition of Lagos Environmental Volunteer Group (COLEG) is a coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations that offer non-profit voluntary services and intervention exercises across the State.

He mentioned that the group was created by the Ministry as an umbrella body to coordinate and regulate the activities of the group to check abuses as well as to ensure interventions carried out by the group are guided and focused to achieve maximum environmental gains.

“Consequently, this technical workshop will focus on training environmental NGOs registered as COLEG; cover expectations of the Ministry for the groups which includes proper processes for carrying out environmental interventions in the State as well as compliance with rules and regulations”, he said.

The Permanent Secretary said the duty of non-governmental organisations in the field of environmental conservation is truly invaluable, each playing a vital role in the collective effort to address various environmental challenges, adding that they are the driving force to provide innovative solutions, public awareness, and advocacy for achieving a sustainable future.

LASG Announces Traffic Diversion At Second Rainbow

*Sanwo-Olu, Executive Governor, Lagos State

He highlighted the environmental challenges faced in the state to include improper solid waste management, littering of public places, inadequate waste sorting and removal of recyclables leading to littering of the environment with PET containers as well as the impact of climate change and pollution, saying “All these are responsible for reducing the aesthetic and tourism potentials of Lagos State”.

The Permanent Secretary also gave the assurance of the government’s support, stressing that the present administration recognises the significance of NGOs in shaping environmental policy, implementing initiatives, and being the voices of conscience for the planet.

In a lecture, titled: “Process and Procedure for Environmental Interventions and Compliance with Lagos State, Rules and Regulations”, the Guest Lecture, Mr. Olasunkanmi Sojinu pointed out all areas where the NGOs can effectively partner with the Government, adding that the NGOs need to be a voice for the Environment.

He charged the NGOs and others, on the need to stop provoking the earth, adding that most waste can be used as raw materials for other products.  

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