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SIFAX: Maritime Industry Doles Out Vicarage



  • As Federal retirees lament 14 months unpaid pension

The nation’s Maritime industry, in spite of its ailing status, donated an ultra modern vicarage to St. Mark’s Anglican Church, Isade Ijebu, Ogun state as part of its contributions towards boosting Godliness and good citizenship.

The SIFAX Group Executive Vice Chairman, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, who effected the feat, said it was his humble way of worshiping God, even as he stressed the need by all and sundry, not to ignore God, on the excuse of pursuing mundane glories.

“I count it a great privilege to be used for the provision of this modern vicarage. We know that every little effort will help in the propagation of the gospel. Things like this bring me incredible joy as I derive my joy from affecting others”, the donor, who was represented by Barrister Talabi Adekitan, Manager, Legal Services, SIFAX Group, state, expressing his firm belief in God and the need to appreciate Him for his blessings and favour showered on him.

From Right: Barrister Talabi Adekitan, Manager, Legal Services and representative of Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, CEO, SIFAX Group; Right Reveren Ayodele Awosoga, Bishop of Ijebu Diocese (Anglican Communion); General Samson Odunsi (Rtd), Baba Ijo, St. Mark’s Anglican Church, Isade Ijebu and another guest during the commissioning of a vicarage donated to the church by Afolabi..

From Right: Barrister Talabi Adekitan, Manager, Legal Services and representative of Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, CEO, SIFAX Group; Right Reveren Ayodele Awosoga, Bishop of Ijebu Diocese (Anglican Communion); General Samson Odunsi (Rtd), Baba Ijo, St. Mark’s Anglican Church, Isade Ijebu and another guest during the commissioning of a vicarage donated to the church by Afolabi..

The vicarage, a multi-million naira four-bedroom flat and a two-room chalet, meant to serve the need of the church’s vicar and guests; and which was adequately equipped with state-of-the-art conveniences was subsequently commissioned by Right Reverend Ayodele Awosoga, the Bishop of Ijebu Diocese (Anglican Communion).

Speaking at the commissioning ceremony attended by clergy and laity across the diocese, the Bishop eulogized Dr. Taiwo Afolabi for the gesture, noting that the new vicarage has made the church at Isade Ijebu an envy among its contemporaries in the diocese.

“I want to thank Dr. Afolabi, our good son, who has decided to be a blessing to us in this diocese by reason of this donation. We are deeply grateful. By the way, the vicarage was also furnished by him. I am sure this would be a great challenge to well to do individuals in the society to support the activities of the church,” he said.

thumbnail_3Various dignitaries including the ‘Baba Ijo’ of the church, Major General Samson Odunsi (Rtd) and his wife, Otunba Elizabeth Kikelomo Odunsi, graced the occasion.

It would be recalled that only last month, the Managing Director of the Lagos Channel Management, Danny Fuchs also donated N5m to five orphanages and restoration homes; N1m apiece, for similar reason, emphasizing the fact that the country could be better, if the Maritime industry was encouraged to flourish.

The homes included the Lagos State Special Correctional Centre for Girls; the Lagos State Government Children Centre; the Bab-es-Salam Home; the Bola Mofo Zion Shelter; and reenacting an annual Corporate Social Responsibility from which several homes in Lagos, Ibadan and Kano have benefited, in the past six years.

In the meantime, scores of pensioners, who retired from Federal Government’s agencies, stormed the state secretariat of the Ogun State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists in Oke Ilewo, Abeokuta, on Tuesday, lamenting the non-payment of their gratuities and pensions for 14 months.

The pensioners, who said they retired in November 2015, and were under the contributory pension scheme, lamented that since their retirement, they had neither been paid their gratuities nor their pensions.

They said having served the nation diligently for 35 years, they were left to languish in penury.

They displayed placards with different inscriptions, including, ‘It is our money, give it to us,’ ‘This is our savings, why punishing us,’ and ‘Delayed entitlements breed corruption.’

The protesters were made up of pensioners who retired from the Nigeria Television Authority, the Neuropsychiatric Hospital, the Federal University of Agriculture and the Federal Medical Centre, all in Abeokuta.

The interim National President, NTA Contributory Pensioners Association of Nigeria, Mr. Kayode Da-Silva, said the experience of the pensioners were contrary to the intent and purpose of the contributory pension scheme, and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to come to their rescue by releasing their entitlements to them.

He said, “With mixed feelings of neglect and regret, we wish to let President Muhammadu Buhari know the harrowing experience of the senior citizens of this nation.

“Many of us here, who had served the nation diligently and meritoriously in the federal civil service for 35 years, are now languishing in penury  because of non-payment of gratuity and pension since our retirement in November 2015, more than 14 months ago.”

Da-Silva noted that the rule guiding the contributory pension scheme stipulated that they get their payment within three months after their retirement.

He added that neither the Federal Government nor the National Pension Commission had given any credible and satisfactory reason for the protracted delay in the payment.

Da-silva further said many of the pensioners, who suffered from old age related ailments, could not take care of their health as drugs for such ailments were expensive.

He said, “Only God knows how many of the pensioners have died on account of this undue and undeserved delay. A number of us suffer from age related ailments and must bé on drugs daily.

“Such drugs are expensive and how do we take care of our health when our gratuities and pensions are not paid? At home front, there is tension because of the inability to discharge domestic responsibilities.”

The pensioners thus called on President Buhari to declare a state of emergency on the plight of the Federal Government pensioners and “order immediate payment of our entitlements.”

Additional report from Punch


WAIVER CESSATION: Igbokwe urges NIMASA to evolve stronger collaboration with Ships owners



…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



The Burial Ceremony of Engr. Greg Ogbeifun’s mother is live. Watch on the website: and on Youtube: Maritimefirst Newspaper.

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Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured



…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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