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Tackling PIRACY: Judiciary Has Role To Play, For Secure Domain, Economic Advancement- CJN



Senate confirms Ariwoola as substantiative CJN

—As Jamoh Urges Investors to Harness Gains of Secured Gulf of Guinea, at the 3rd Edition of Nigerian Admiralty Law Colloquium

The Chief Justice of Nigeria CJN, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola has stated that the judiciary has a role to play in all legal forms of the fight against piracy, stressing that a secured maritime domain was non-negotiable for economic development and advancement. 

The CJN stated this while declaring the 3rd edition of the Nigerian Admiralty Law Colloquium for Justices of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal and Judges of the Federal High Court, Open in Lagos.

The CJN who was represented at the event by Hon. Justice Musa Dattjo Muhammad, averred that he was pleased with the 2023 edition of the Nigerian Admiralty Law Colloquium, because it was tailored towards effective and efficient adjudication of cases as well as curbing the menace of piracy within the Gulf of Guinea.

 He observed that the Gulf of Guinea was richly endowed and that it was necessary for key players in the maritime sector to continually engage in constructive discussions to achieve the benefits associated with the maritime industry.

Attacks on Judiciary: Our silence must not be mistaken for cowardice – CJN

The CJN, Kayode Ariwoola

In his words: “The Gulf of Guinea encompasses eight African countries, to wit; Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Togo. 

“These countries are home to about 4.5 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves and about 2.7 percent of proven natural gas reserves. Two-thirds of these reserves are concentrated within the exclusive economic zone of Nigeria, the center of gravity of the region, whose oil sector accounts for 75 percent of the state’s revenue and about 90 percent of total export. 

“The Gulf of Guinea is richly endowed with vast reserves of hydrocarbon, mineral and fisheries resources, making it a strategic area”, the CJN stated. 

Speaking further, Ariwoola said the workshop was apt, as it would create avenue for capacity building and increased maritime domain awareness. 

He affirmed his belief that ultimately, participants at the event would be able to drive conversations on how to maximize the benefits of the maritime sector and also generate ideas and strategies necessary for its sustenance and safety. 

He opined that the colloquium was a proactive measure to further expose judicial Officers to fundamental developments in Maritime Security issues, enabling them to be at par with international relevant laws and policies governing the maritime security sub-sector.

The CJN commended the Management of NIMASA under the stewardship of Dr. Bashir Jamoh, for his grit and determination in ensuring that the Agency fulfills its mandate.

Dr. Bashir Jamoh, NIMASA Director General

 He noted that under Jamoh, the Agency had recorded notable improvements in maritime security and safety, especially through the effective implementation of the Deep Blue Project which has, among other things, led to the impressive decline in piracy and armed robbery on the sea.

“The legal strategies being adopted by Nigeria to combat maritime piracy and armed robbery in the Nigerian waters have not gone unnoticed. 

“This is evident in the creation of Nigeria’s Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences Act (SPOMO) 2019. 

“Before the advent of the 2019 Anti-Piracy Act, there were no specific ‘laws to determine the context of piracy in Nigerian waters and legal enforcement in response to maritime insecurity. 

“Thus, the 2019 Anti-Piracy Act is an important step in securing the country’s coastline and seas. It has also ensured an increased level of transparency and accountability in the maritime sector, by strengthening the governing institutions to attract investment capital through the implementation of regulatory and fiscal framework for the Nigerian maritime industry. 

“This will encourage foreign investors to have a sense of trust in the Nigerian Maritime industry, which will enhance revenue for the government while ensuring a fair return on investment”, the CJN said.

In his remarks, the Chief Justice of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Hon. Justice John T. Tsoho commended the Management of NIMASA for its roles in enhancing the development of maritime law and its knowledge. 

Justice Tsoho who was represented by Justice Adekunle Olayinka Faji, noted that since the Federal High Court was the court with primary jurisdiction in maritime matters, Federal High Court would always support relevant legislations that would ensure efficiency and effectiveness in harnessing the gains in the maritime industry.

“The price of peace and freedom is however vigilance. If we are to harness the gains of a secured maritime domain, we must continue to build capacity and fine-tune our laws. 

“It is in this connection that I must state that work has been concluded on the new Admiralty Jurisdiction Procedure Rules and the text has been sent for gazetting. 

“It is thus only a matter of days before the new Rules will come into force. The Nigerian Maritime Law Association (NMLA) is also at work on the new Admiralty Jurisdiction Act. 

“All these legislative efforts are geared towards enhancing the potentials of our country in the Deep Blue Project and the overall growth of our economy”, he said.

In his opening remarks, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, observed that it was gratifying to note, that the Admiralty Workshop had moved so rapidly that so soon, after a dark period when all discourse centered around insecurity and piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, NIMASA and all stakeholders in the maritime industry were today sufficiently emboldened to move the trend of engagement to another level, as the maritime industry gave consideration to the vital issue of harnessing the gains of a secured maritime domain.  

Speaking further, Jamoh, who was represented by the NIMASA’s Executive Director of Finance and Administration, Hon. Chudi Offodile, stated that a well-developed blue economy would be strong enough to service Nigeria’s annual budget because it encompasses all economic activities associated with the oceans and seas.

However, he observed that despite these endowments and abundant resources in the nation’s oceans and seas to back her economic diversification and development drive, Nigeria was yet to take full advantage of the emergent ocean economy to expand its revenue base.

According to him, “Since the concept of the blue economy began to gain traction decades ago, maritime nations have been harnessing the full benefits of the ocean economy by protecting their oceans and seas, which is why NIMASA is working tirelessly to secure our waters and the Gulf of Guinea. 

“The time has come for us as a nation to build on the successful achievement of security in the Gulf of Guinea and work intentionally to harness the profitability of our maritime space”, Jamoh also indicated.

Present at the Colloquium was the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Z. Gambo, who was represented by Rear Admiral BJ Gbassa, the Chief Justice of Lagos State, Hon. Justice Kazeem Alogba, the Director General of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS), Professor Muhammed Tawfiq Ladan, Sir Hon. Justice Biobele Abraham Georgewill, the Chief Justice of Anambra State, Hon. Justice Onochie Anyachebelu, Dr. Emeka Akabogu, Mike Igbokwe, SAN, amongst other Justices and Maritime stakeholders.

Themed, “Beyond Maritime Security Threats In The Gulf of Guinea: Harnessing the Gains of a Secured Maritime Domain”, the 3rd edition of the Nigerian Admiralty Law Colloquium was organised by NIMASA in collaboration with the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) and the National Judicial Institute (NJI), for Justices of the Supreme Court and Appeal Court and Judges of the Federal High Court of Nigeria.


Presco Shareholders Approve N8.6bn Dividend For 2022



Shareholders of Presco Plc. have approved payment of a final dividend of N6.60 per share, indicating N6.6 billion, for the year ended Dec. 31, 2022.

The company had paid an interim dividend of 20k per share, which amounted to N2 billion.

The latest dividend brought the total dividend the company paid for the year to N8.6 billion, amounting to N8.60 per share.

Addressing shareholders on Friday at the company’s 30th Annual General Meeting held on Obaretin Estate, Benin City, the Chairman of Presco Plc, Mr Jean Van Gysel, said that the dividend payment represented an increment of 13.16 percent over what it paid in 2021.

Van Gysel said the final dividend would be paid on Oct. 3 to shareholders whose names appeared on the register of members as at the close of business on Sept. 13, 2023.

The chairman praised the shareholders and all stakeholders for their support during the period under review.

He said: “On behalf of the board, I would again like to thank all of our amazing people and teams across the business for all their commitment and hard work during the year.

*L-R: Jan Van Eykeren, Director; Patrick Uwadia, Company Secretary; Mr. Jean Van Gysel, chairman; and Mr Felix Nwabuko, Managing Director at Presco’s AGM on Friday.

“I thank my fellow directors very sincerely for the wonderful work they do for the company.”

The chairman said that the company,  during the period, recorded  N81.03 billion in revenue as against N47.43 billion it realised in 2021.

He noted that the figure represented an increment of 71 percent.

According to him, the company’s gross profit grew by 57 percent to N49.97 billion from N31.75 billion in 2021.

Van Gysel said that fresh fruit bunches harvested in 2022 amounted to 302,050 tonnes compared with 233,253 tonnes in 2021.

“Crude palm oil produced was 68,998 tonnes as against 53,775 tonnes in 2021,” he said.

The chairman added that the company produced 55,878 tonnes of Refined, Bleached, and Deodorized Oil (RBDO) in 2022, compared to 46,327 tonnes it produced in 2021.

He also said that the company produced 19,420 tonnes of Olein and Stearin in 2022 as against 17,912 tonnes in 2021.

“The year under review birthed another exciting news concerning our expansion and growth strategy.

“We concluded plans to commence, in 2023, the planned and necessary construction of a new palm oil mill to cope with the steadily increasing fresh fruit bunches harvests and have the same ready for commissioning before the end of the second quarter of 2025.

“When completed, installed capacity for palm oil milling capacity will increase to 170 metric tonnes per hour,” the chairman said.

The Managing Director of Presco Plc., Mr Felix Nwabuko, assured the shareholders of improved performance in the years ahead.

Nwabuko advised the shareholders to identify their registrars and fill out necessary forms as part of measures to tackle the issue of unclaimed dividends.

The President of the Capital Shareholders Association, Abuja, Mr Augustine Ezechukwu, praised the board of directors and management of the company for outstanding performance in the year under review.

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Kidnappers Demand N60m Ransom To Release Benue Commissioner



…As CDS vows, ‘We are coming after bandits, terrorists’***

The unknown gunmen, who kidnapped the Benue Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Mathew Abo, have allegedly demanded a ransom of N60 million from his family.

A family source told newsmen on Friday in Makurdi that the abductors made the demand in a phone call to a member of the family on Friday.

The source, the recipient of the call, whose name was withheld for security reasons, said the “kidnappers have resorted to torturing the commissioner to press home for their demand”.

The source said they called and placed their phone on loudspeaker so that the beating of the commissioner and his cries for help could be heard.

It was reported that several gunmen stormed the commissioner’s residence in Zaki-Biam in Ukum LGA and kidnapped him on 24th Sept. around 8 pm.

Gunmen Abduct NPC Commissioner, Aides At Rivers Section Of East-West Road

Eyewitnesses highlighted that the kidnappers came on four motorcycles, and ordered everyone in the house, including the Commissioner’s wife and children, to lie face down before they took away the victim.

The witnesses said the abductors compelled the commissioner to sit behind the rider of one of the motorcycles and sped away.

Gov Hyacinth Alia, in his reaction, has strongly condemned the abduction and directed security operatives to ensure the safe release of his Commissioner.

However, when asked if the kidnappers have made contact with either the family or government, the State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Sewuese Anene, simply said “Investigation is ongoing”. 

In another development, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Maj.-Gen. Christopher Musa has said that the military will flush out bandits and terrorists from the country.

The CDS made the commitment on Friday in Kaduna when he paid a courtesy visit to Gov. Uba Sani at government house.

He said, “For terrorists and bandits, it’s just a matter of time. We are coming after them and we are going to get them to leave the country completely.”

According to him, “we are re-assessing our theatres of operation to make them more robust and more result-oriented.”

He explained that the military is expanding its operation to close the gap while changing its mode of operation which could be both kinetic and non-kinetic.

“As military officers, you must take the two operations together, deploying more troops to close the gap in other to make it more difficult for terrorists to move about freely,” he noted.

The CDS also appealed to everyone to be security conscious and report any suspicious movements, adding that everyone has a role to play in security.

Musa reiterated the desire to make Kaduna peaceful, following its strategic nature, and the fact that people regard Kaduna as a home to all.

He assured that the military would come out successful from all the security and economic challenges.

On his part, Gov. Uba Sani renewed the state government’s appeal for the prolonged stay of the Special Forces in the ongoing campaign against banditry and terrorism.

He also requested that Operation Safe Haven in the Southern Kaduna general area be expanded due to the challenges around Zangon Kataf, Kaura, Kauru and Sanga Local Government Areas (LGAs).

He said such an expansion will go a long way in containing threats and consolidating ongoing efforts in those areas.

The governor also noted that measures are required in the Birnin Gwari general area, to restrict bandits and terrorists from using the Kuduru, Kuyanbana and Kamuku forests as their hideouts.

He said there is also the need to further constrict the corridors connecting Birnin Gwari with neighboring States like Zamfara, Niger and Katsina, and stop criminals from using the corridors.

According to him, “we have stepped up efforts towards inter-state collaboration in the fight against banditry and terrorism.”

Sani said he is in constant touch with his colleague Governors and strategies are being finetuned to deny criminal elements safe havens or hideouts in any of the neighbouring states in the North West or North Central.

He also assured of the state government’s commitment to sustain the cordial relationship with the military.

“Remember that you can always count on our earnest prayers, sincere support and best wishes as you lead the Armed Forces of Nigeria,” he said.

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Border Security: Border Mgt. Stakeholders Grieve Over Influx Of Illegal Immigrants



Ibadan: NIS, NAPTIP Collaboration Puts 5 Suspected Human Traffickers In Hot Soup

The Stakeholders Forum on Border Management on Thursday met with different agencies operating at Seme Border posts with the aim of ending the influx of illegal immigrants in Nigerian communities.

Speaking during the working visit of the forum, Mrs Wuraola Adepoju, the acting Comptoller-General of the Immigration Service (CGIS), said that the country was facing security challenges due to the influx of illegal immigrants.

Adepoju, who is the Chairman of the forum was represented by Mr. George Didel, the Comptroller, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) during the visit.

The Stakeholders Forum on Border Management is chaired by the NIS with the inclusion of critical and relevant stakeholders in border operations.

It is one of the thematic groups in the four levels of coordination of the Migration Governance Structure aimed at effectively combating transnational organised crimes, especially Trafficking-in-Persons (TiPs) and Smuggling of Migrants (SOMs) around Nigeria’s borders.

Adepoju said: “We are all aware that the country is facing a lot of challenges today, ranging from irregular migration to smuggling of immigrants, gun running, and militancy.

Ibadan: NIS, NAPTIP Collaboration Puts 5 Suspected Human Traffickers In Hot Soup

“All these are due to migration across our borders and that is why we are here to carry out an on-the-spot assessment of the operations at our land border posts.

“This is with a view to ascertaining the challenges associated with combating transnational organised crimes to facilitate necessary interventions.

“We will also visit Idi-Iroko as part of our land borders to carry out this assignment.”

The chairman stated that part of their task was to know some of the challenges faced by border management agencies and how they can be surpassed so as to advise government appropriately.

“Also, part of our task is to see how the ECOWAS protocol is being implemented, challenges and issues that may have come up in the implementation of the protocol.

*The stakeholders forum on Border Management in a group photograph with representatives of agencies in Seme border post during their visit on Thursday.

“Lastly, the committee wants to interact with border communities on how they can assist the government to have effective border security and discuss the issues of SOMs and TIPs which have become a very serious scourge in Nigeria today,” she said.

She urged agencies at the border posts to take advantage of this opportunity to strengthen their relationships and build new bonds for effective border management.

Also, Mr Joseph Gbenu, the Chairman of Badagry West Local Council Development Area (LCDA), urged the border stakeholders’ forum to enlist more residents of the council in the immigration service.

According to him, many residents of different communities within the area are being harassed along the corridor.

“Most of the time, officers and men of the service harass our people because they think that they are illegal immigrants from Benin Republic.

“I believe if we have more residents in the service, this harassment will reduce,” Gbenu said.

On his part, Mr Timi Bomodi, the Controller, Seme Border Command, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), noted that at the Seme Border post, the agencies had always collaborated with each other with regard to their fields of responsibilities.

Bomodi, who is also the Chairman of Joint Border Operations, said that their collaboration was to ensure that whatever gap that existed are closed.

He said that to check the influx of illegal cross-border immigrants, data was very essential, adding that its use would help to anticipate challenges and focus attention on high-risk areas.

In his earlier remarks, Comptroller Tanko Audu, the Controller, NIS, Seme Border Command, said the border operations of the Command in combating TiPs and SOMs had been effective with use of the Migration Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS).

“The world over, issues of border security and management are major socio-political phenomena in the global space and are currently redefining security, economic and socio-political realities of many countries.

“But the issue of transnational crimes, the NIS cannot do alone. There is a need for an improved and sustained robust synergy by all stakeholders.

“The challenges faced will be enumerated in due time as the meeting progresses and as we take a tour of our facilities and operational areas.

“It is our hope that this event will be filled with positive impact as we take advantage of this opportunity to strengthen our relationship and build new bonds for effective border management,” Audu said.

The Stakeholders’ Forum is made up of agencies such as the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Directorate of Security Service (DSS), Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and Port Health Service (PHS).

Some other agencies such as the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and the National Orientation Agency (NOA) are also members of the forum.

Other members are the Network Against Trafficking, Abuse and Labour (NACTAL), Boundary Commission and the border communities amongst others.

 The Forum was taken around the facility and border operation areas at the seaside where there was a very dangerous sea encroachment affecting the Immigration/Customs Barracks.

It is believed that the sea encroachment will wash up the barracks in less than two years if nothing is done to combat it. 

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