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Police rescue kidnapped Lagos schoolgirls

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  • As NNPC assures of 30,000m tons daily supply to curb Fuel scarcity

Three female students of Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary in Ikorodu Lagos State, kidnapped by gunmen on Monday, last week, have been rescued. The students, Timilehin Olusa, Tofunmi Popoolaniyan and Deborah Akinayo were kidnapped at about 8p.m. by gunmen who invaded their school, shooting sporadically to scare people away. Three members of the kidnapping gang were also arrested by the police in the course of rescuing the girls.

The suspects, who were paraded at Government House, Alausa, Ikeja yesterday, were tracked down by the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Intelligence Team from Force Headquarters, Abuja, with assistance from the Directorate of State Service, DSS, the military and Lagos State Special Anti-Robbery Squad. The police gave the names of the arrested suspects as Emmanuel Arigidi, who is the prime suspect, James Henry and Akanji Oluwasegun.

Briefing journalists on the development at the Lagos State House, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode said men of the state Police Command, DSS and members of the armed forces worked tirelessly round the clock in the last six days to secure the release of the kidnapped girls. According to Ambode, Arigidi’s arrest led to the operation that secured the release of the abducted children.

He said: “The three girls have been safely reunited with their families and the government wishes to assure Lagosians that their security is top priority and it will not relent in ensuring that Lagos remains safe and secure.

“Let me warn that the state government will not tolerate kidnapping or any forms of crime in the state. Our position is clear and unambiguous; Lagos state has the capacity and the will to go after every form of crime and criminality in order to safeguard lives and property in the state. “As our daughters are re-united with their mothers and other members of their families, I would like to seize this opportunity to wish all mothers in Lagos State and Nigeria at large a happy Mothers’ Day.”

State Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni said no ransom was paid to secure the release of the girls. Owoseni, who also spoke during the press conference, said the children were rescued using the application of modern technology. The commissioner urged members of the public not to encourage kidnappers to demand ransom as any ransom paid would encourage others to go into the business.

The police commissioner said the girls are in stable condition and were never molested by their abductors. “The girls are stable, medical attention has been given to them and from what we gathered from the girls, they were not molested by the kidnappers,” he said. Revealing the role other suspects played in the kidnap saga, the police said Henry registered the sim card the gang used to call the girls’ parents, while Oluwasegun gave the gang the recharge cards they used.

Mr. Owoseni added that the police are on the trail of other members of the gang and would soon be arrested. It was learnt that the police recovered AK47 rifles and canoes from the suspects. Meanwhile, the prime suspect, Arigidi, 37 has revealed how the gang kidnapped the girls. He said: “Twelve of us planned the operation to kidnap the girls from their school. We are twelve in number. It was one Lami Ami who brought the idea and Felix supported him.

The names of the others are Geoffrey, Aboki, Ekpokemi and Owi. “I can’t remember the names of the other men but we met at Majidun area in Ikorodu to plan the operation. “We went to Maya bridge to enter canoe and went to the school around 8p.m. After we gained entrance into the school, we took away three girls to our hideout. But along the line, we had disagreement between ourselves and I was actually the one that started it.

I told other members of the gang that  what we have done is not good and that I don’t like it. “I know that security in Lagos State is now tight and I was telling others that there was no way we would get away with this kind of job considering the level of security in the state. When I told them that we should end the assignment, other members of the gang threatened to kill me and then I took canoe to run away.

“Three days after I ran away, operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, arrested me somewhere in Majidun and that was how I told them how we planned the attack. “One thing I will like to say is that if not for the fact that I was arrested, they would not have seen the girls because I was the one that revealed everything to the police.”

Meanwhile, as fuel queues begin to fizzle out in the Federal Capital Territory, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has assured that a daily volume of 30,000 metric tons has been secured.

The corporation at the weekend said the volume will keep the entire country wet with petrol for March, urging motorists across the country to desist from panic buying that often results to unnecessary clusters in filling stations.

The NNPC’s Group Executive Director for Investment and Commercials, Babatunde Adeniran, who disclosed this when he inspected some filling stations in Abuja, said, “as for the product, we have products.

“The minister gave an instruction that he wants to see the supply on a 30-day basis and as I am talking to you here we have the supply for March fully and out of the whole 31 days in March we have supply for each day. Nigeria’s consumption is one vessel cargo of 30,000MT per day.

So, we have 31 vessels already lined up for the month of March, this is aside nine that we have currently that are discharging in various ports and jetties in Lagos, Oghara, Warri, Port Harcourt and Calabar.

“Part of the things NNPC has done is to make sure the refineries are back on stream, the reason some of the refineries are not working is because the pipelines that are supposed to supply crude to them are not working.”

He was accompanied by the Managing Director of the Pipeline and Products Marketing Company, PPMA, Mrs. Esther Nnamdi-Ogbue during the inspection.

“As much as we try we still have this hitch especially when a vessel is supposed to come in and the vessel doesn’t come in you have a drop and when you have the drop the problem starts,” Adeniran said.

The Station Manager, Conoil, Opposite NNPC Towers, in Central Area said, “We have seen improvement since the last few days, we received eight trucks yesterday. Today we are still expecting six and the depot chief just called to say they are still working tomorrow.

National Mirror

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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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