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Police detain men for eating late, demand N15,000 bribe

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  • As EFCC searches Fani-Kayode’s house; arrests domestic worker

The Surulere Police Division, Lagos State, on Tuesday arrested four men, who were accused of eating late in the night around the Ojuelegba Bridge in the Surulere area.

Our correspondent learnt that the suspects – one of them identified as Sango Svengali – were eating noodles at a shop on Ogunlana Drive around 11pm, when the policemen, said to be about eight, rounded them up.

The policemen, who reportedly brought three vans, were said to have accused the men of eating late and queried why they did not eat in their houses.

PUNCH Metro learnt that the suspects were subsequently whisked away to the Area C Command, Surulere.

It was learnt that the policemen at the counter allegedly demanded N15,000 ‘settlement’ from the men, threatening that they would sleep in the cell overnight if they failed to settle.

Our correspondent gathered that Svengali and his friends, who were not made to write any statement, offered N5,000 but the policemen refused.

Our correspondent learnt that on Wednesday, the suspects were brought before the area commander, who noted that they resembled Boko Haram members, ordering them to shave their beards.

Speaking with PUNCH Metro on Thursday after regaining his freedom, Svengali said the policemen did not ask any of them for identification before forcing them into their vans.

He said, “I had a stressful day at work on Tuesday. There was a lot of traffic. Instead of going home through the Third Mainland Bridge, I decided to spend the night at a friend’s place in Ojuelegba. Some other friends came to my friend’s place. Later, around 11pm, we were hungry and we decided to go down the road to buy noodles.

“The Mai shai are basically night-food people. So we knew they would still be selling food. We drove to Ogunlana Drive and saw a woman selling noodles by the roadside. The three of us decided to buy noodles and eat. We sat on the trunk of the two cars we brought and ate the food. As we were about to go, three police vans stopped by our vehicles. There were about eight policemen in the vans.

“The policemen dragged me into one of their vans. I was confused and wanted to resist. But when I saw the young man selling recharge cards beside the woman being slapped several times, I knew it was useless resisting. The policemen did not ask us any question. They did not ask us to identify ourselves.”

Svengali added that when they got to the station, they met eight others who had been arrested.

He said, “While in the van, the policemen sitting beside me collected my phone and started searching through it. He checked through my electronic mail, and when he did not find anything, he said, ‘Sometimes you go dey pray say you no dey road when devil dey pass.’ He added that we would ‘sort it out’ at the station.

“As we moved on, I noticed that my other friends – except one – were in the other vans. When we got to the station, we found that eight people had been picked up too. The policemen at the station said, ‘Why una no chop for house?’ One of my friends started negotiating for us at the counter. The policemen said they wanted N15,000 to let three of us go. He was begging them to take N5,000. They refused.

“The cell stank like a gutter. There were about 18 of us  there. We endured the stench till morning. When it was around 7am, we were brought before the area commander. We were lined up like criminals. He said our misdeed was that we ate at an unholy hour. He said we looked like fanatics and Boko Haram members.

“He ordered them to lock us up again. After some time, some of our friends came, one of them is a lawyer. He spoke to the area commander. He said the only way to release us was to shave our beards. The police bought shaving sticks and made us shave at the counter. I was so embarrassed. All this while, we never wrote any statement. We were not accused of anything. When I finally left, it was some minutes before 10am.”

Our correspondent learnt that one of the suspects communicated with the Complaints Response Unit, Abuja, through Twitter, to report the alleged bribe the policemen demanded.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmos, had yet to reply to a text message sent to her phone on the incident.

The Head of the CRU, Force Headquarters, Abuja, CSP Abayomi Shogunle, however, replied on Twitter that a team of policemen had gone to the police station to ascertain the claim of the complainants.

He said, “A special monitoring team from the Force Headquarters on nationwide patrol is at the police station in Ojuelegba to verify this report. The complaint is acknowledged and the tracking number is CRU 359117.”

Meanwhile, operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Thursday stormed the Abuja home of a former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, and arrested a domestic servant, The PUNCH has learnt.

It was learnt that the operatives stormed the house located at 5 Zuma Close, Aso Drive, Abuja in the afternoon and searched the compound.

However, the detectives could not gain access to the main building as it was said to have been locked.
The spokesman for Fani-Kayode, Mr. Jude Ndukwe, told our correspondent on the telephone that the operatives stormed the compound without a search warrant.

Ndukwe said, “Operatives of the EFCC invaded the home again. They did not even have a search warrant but harassed everyone in the compound.

“They could not gain access to the main building so they decided to search the quarters where the domestic servants reside. They arrested the laundry man and took him to their office but later released him.

“Chief Fani-Kayode is already in their custody. I wonder why they are still behaving this way even though he has been cooperating with them. This executive rascality must stop.”

The ex-minister was on Monday arrested by the EFCC for allegedly receiving N840m in February 2015 when he was the spokesman for the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation.

The money which Fani-Kayode admitted to receiving was said to have emanated from the account of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The ex-minister, however, said he did not know that the money emanated from the account of the CBN.

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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