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We won’t release Metuh, until he returns N400m — EFCC

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…NNPC to establish more mega stations, says Kachikwu

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has said that the continued detention of the spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is due to his unwillingness to admit and return the ‘over N400 million’ he allegedly received from embattled former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.

Ibrahim Magu, the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, denied claims it was on a witchhunt of leaders of the opposition PDP after its continued detention of Metuh and release of Jafaru Isa, an All Progressives Congress chieftain.

Magu claimed that Mr. Isa had begun the process of refunding the money in his possession, Mr. Metuh had refused to do same.

‎”From the records, Metuh got over N400 million, he has not said anything because we need the public money to be returned so that it’s going to be used for public good,” Mr. Magu said during a meeting with online media publishers in Lagos.

“Also Jafaru Isa, what Dasuki gave him was N170 million. He also agreed…of course he has collected that money, he was with us for 4-5 days and then he made a deposit of N100 million and entered an undertaking to bring the rest. That does not mean we will not prosecute him.”

“But this other Metuh, instead of going for a refund, he has admitted he collected money…. so instead of… he still has the money because the money is too much. Instead of returning the money, he preferred to go on strike.”‎

Mr. Isa, a former military governor of Kaduna State, was arrested last Wednesday by EFCC operatives for allegedly receiving N170 million from the Dasuki.
Mr. Metuh, the Spokesperson of the PDP, has been in EFCC custody since January 5‎.

The EFCC boss insisted the Commission is not selective in its anti-corruption war‎, noting that only people involved in “some certain action or inaction of corruption” are being invited for questioning.

“Nobody who is not corrupt, who is not involved, is with us,” he said.

In the meantime, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu yesterday said  the Federal Government was working out modalities for the  Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to establish more mega petrol stations.

Asked to confirm whether the corporation was planning to build 800 mega petrol stations, the minister who did not give the exact figure of stations, said: “Definitely,  there are many fillings stations we were trying to develop working with the governors in terms of land, local government areas. The idea is to be able to expand our wings in crisis period. Some of that is going to come with Joint Ventures with some filling stations, which are willing to do JVs with us and so the 800 are not going to be built anew.”

He warned petrol marketers selling petrol above the official pump prices to revert to the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) prices.

The minister cautioned marketers, who were manipulating pump prices, saying: “I have asked DPR to oil  up their enforcement machine because they are not doing it as much as I want it to happen.  And we are going to have security agencies if any filling station is found to be selling products above the pump price. We are going to seal those stations. We are going to sell the products for free. We will seal the stations and we are not going to reopen them until three months.”

Kachikwu, who is also the group managing director of the NNPC, admitted that the Federal Government had been lacking in the implementation of official petrol prices compliance in the hinterland, vowing that government would intensify the compulsory compliance with pump prices in rural areas.

He said government needed to do more since consumers in the rural areas, who are relatively poor are mostly affected by high pump price.

The minister said:  “I agree that we have not done enough in terms of hinterland protection. And I believe we need to do more because the frequency of these practices are more in the hinterland. And unfortunately those are the ones who even lack the resources  to pay that kind of prices so we need to do more work.

According to him, following the engagement of private security firms, the NNPC recovered pipelines that were abandoned for many years.

“We are working to see how we can bring up pipelines back into the system between now and before early February,” he said.

The minister assigned the Managing Director, Product Pipeline Marketing Company, Mrs. Esther Nnamdi-Ogbue to look into how kerosene was allocated to ensure that it is available, especially in NNPC filling stations .

Commenting on the capacity of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the Director, Mordecai Ladan, said there were over 30,000 filling stations and DPR had about 300 workers to monitor them.

“But all the same, we are going electronic in the  monitoring of supply and distribution. Emphasis is on electronic tracking for supply to the stations. From today, DPR workers will get cracking and ensure the N86.50 in the independent and major stations are enforced.”

He said DPR would also monitor and enforce inspection on NNPC stations still shortchanging customers.

Vanguard with additional report from Nation

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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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