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Rasheed Gbadamosi dies at 72

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  •  As Nigeria is now at risk of Zika virus

A former Minister of National Planning Dr. Rasheed Gbadamosi died yesterday.

He died in Lagos at 72.

He had been living with the effect of the stroke he suffered for some time.

Details of how he died were sketchy last night.

The late Gbadamosi was educated in the United Kingdom and the United States.

He attended the University of Manchester and the University of New Hampshire for his first and second degres.

A man of many parts, he was a businessman, a playwright, an art aficionado, an industrialist and a public servant,  who held many offices.

He was in his 20s when he was appointed Commissioner for Establishment and Economic Development in his home state, Lagos.

He served as minister during the Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar military regime between 1998 and 1 999.

He previously served in the short-lived interim administration of Chief Ernest Shonekan and was at a time chairman of the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).

His last public position was a co-chairman of the Lagos at 50 celebrations, a panel set up by Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to plan the 50th anniversary of the creation of the state next year. Prof. Wole Soyinka is the co-chairman.

His father, the late Chief SO Gbadamosi was a politician and a major financier of Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s Action Group (AG) party in the first Republic.

Dr. Gbadamosi was Chairman at AIIco Pension Managers Ltd., Chairman at BHN Plc, Chairman at Lucky Fibres (Nigeria) Plc, Chairman at Ragolis Waters Ltd., Chairman at Secure Electronic Technology Plc, Chairman at Sparnoon Nigeria Ltd., Chairman at Syndicated Metal Industries Ltd. and a Managing Director at R.A.G & Co. Ltd.

He was on the Board of Directors at Cappa & D’Alberto Plc, Premium Health Ltd. and The Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON)

He was also Chairman by Bank of Industry and Chairman by Vono Products Plc. He also served on the board at Aiico Insurance Plc.

In the meantime, with the recent alarm raised by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control that the Zika virus vector is widely circulating in Nigeria, experts are of the opinion that the government must step up measures against the deadly disease.

When Brazil, in June last year experienced an outbreak of Zika virus, a relatively unknown pathogen, not many people referred to it as a public health challenge requiring utmost priority, until it took a new turn and was becoming deadly, forcing the World Health Organisation (WHO) in February 1 this year, to declare it an international health emergency, requiring new and urgent tool to eradicate.

But as Nigerians continue to see it as American and Asian health challenge, recent development suggests Nigeria and other malaria endemic nations are at risk of the deadly virus since its transmitter, the Aedes mosquitois a common strain of the mosquito family known to exist in Nigeria and other countries battling with malaria. In fact, in a more direct statement by the Director General and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, Zika virus is already widely circulating in the country. Shockingly, he said there was the absence of continued surveillance or periodic national surveys, with the epidemiology of the virus still poorly understood in the country. Though an uncommon disease, it is not strange to Nigeria and Africa at large.

In 1960, the country experienced the first human case of the virus, according to WHO records; that is 27 years after it was first documented in monkeys in Uganda, an East African country, known to be a breeding region for mosquitoes, just like Nigeria.

But the world did not take the 76 years old virus seriously because its outbreaks were sporadic and tiny, and the disease seemed to do little harm to humans, until recently with its recent manifestation in South America and Asia, starting with birth deformities in newborn, among other clinical features. The virus is a disease transmitted by the bite of an infected Aedesaegypti mosquito – the same mosquito strain that causes dengue and other tropical diseases.

Experts described it as a strain with white markings on its legs and a marking in the form of a lyre on the upper surface of the thorax. The average wing length of female Aedesaegypti mosquitoes varies greatly between 1.67– 3.83 mm in Peruvian habitat.

According to Ihekweazu, “Previous evidence of detection of Zika virus in man, and antibodies to Zika virus in Nigerian populations, together with the presence of the vectors indicate that the virus is widely circulated in Nigeria, adding that the majority of those infected with the virus remain asymptomatic and for those who develop symptoms, such as, fever, rash, conjunctivitis, headaches, muscle and joint pains, it typically start three to six days after infection.

“The virus might stay in the body for weeks following infection,” he said. He noted that current epidemiology of Zika in Nigeria has not been well documented or understood due to paucity of recent data, adding that the virus shares a similar vector, the Aedes (Steogmyia) mosquitoes, also responsible for other flavivirus infections recorded in the country, such as yellow fever and dengue.

“The environmental and human behavioural risk factors in areas with reported Zika outbreaks were similar to those found in Nigeria and would thus favour the circulation of Zika virus,” Ihekweazu said. “Possible cross-reaction with other endemic flaviviruses like yellow fever and dengue; genetic host factors protecting against infection or disease; low vector competence and transmission efficiency; lack of diagnostic testing; and the absence of systematic surveillance are potential limitations to detect on-going transmission of Zika in the country.”

Concluding the CEO said all countries with presence of Aedes (Steogmyia) albopictus and Aedes (Steogmyia) aegypti mosquitoes are at risk of sustained transmission and human activity aids the spread of the virus to locations far beyond the normal range for the vector. He explained that in the light of the review, NCDC plans to initiate surveillance to understand and monitor the epidemiology of the virus in the country for appropriate interventions.

Reacting to the revelation that Nigeria was greatly at risk of the scourge, a virologist, Dr. Alabi Shogunle, said the devastation being presently experienced in Brazil and neigbouring countries should be enough to push Nigeria to guide jealously against the virus in the country.

While explaining that prevention was possible, he called on Nigerians to avoid mosquito bites through keeping their environments free from logged waters, adding that since the country was a tropical region where mosquitoes were common, there was need for the use of insecticide treated nets in all homes. “This will be about a two way benefit; preventing Zika virus, as well as malaria,” which he stressed were products of mosquito bites.

He said Zika virus could be passed through sexual intercourse, hence, “the consequences of unfaithfulness cannot be limited to HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, but also to Zika virus. Those who can’t stick to one faithful partner should always use condon or abstain,” he added.

While warning that those going to Zika virus endemic countries should be cautious of activities that could put them at risk of the disease, he said the country should ensure precautionary measures activated during the Ebola virus outbreak in the country were put back in place.

Nation with additional report from The Citizen

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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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