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Workers block Mimiko, reject gov’s plea to end strike



  • Senate passes 11 bills in one year

Striking civil servants in Ondo State on Thursday blocked the main gate to Government House in Akure, preventing Governor Olusegun Mimiko from entering.

The workers commenced the industrial action last week Wednesday to protest the non-payment of their five-month salaries.

The governor, who was forced to come down from his vehicle to address the protesters, pleaded with them to suspend the strike, saying the state did not have enough money to pay the accumulated salary arrears.

The protesting workers, led by the State Joint Negotiation Council chairman, Sunday Adeleye; the state Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Bosede Daramola; and her Trade Union Congress counterpart, Soladoye Ekundayo, rejected the governor’s plea.

Mimiko said the government was ready to pay health and local government workers and teachers, to enable it to inject some money into the state economy, adding that when health workers resumed work, they would be able to meet the medical challenges of the people.

The governor noted that his administration was considerate and not insensitive to the plight of the workers.

Mimiko appealed to them to call off the one-week old strike and considered his commitment not to retrench any worker in spite of the dwindling resources.

While saying the continuation of the strike would only retard the economic growth of the state, the governor charged the people of the state “to see the present situation in the country as a collective challenge that we must face and proffer solutions to.”

He added, “We are in a very difficult time in Nigeria and I have absolutely nothing against your protest. I can’t imagine somebody working diligently or not too diligently but worked for five months without pay, especially in an economy that depends mainly on salary.

“Your protest has been peaceful and that is what democracy is all about. People must be able to ventilate their feelings just like you are ventilating yours. But it is important for us to know the truth because it is the truth that can set us free.”

But the governor effort to convince the workers fell into deaf ears as some of them continued to shout “no salary, no work”, intermittently.

Responding to the governor’s address, the state chairman of JNC, Adeleye, declared that if the workers had no signal that the state government was ready to pay their salary arrears, the indefinite strike would continue.

Apart from the Government House, the workers also stormed major roads in Akure, the state capital, to continue the protest.

During the protest that lasted for over four hours, the workers carried placards with different inscriptions such as ‘Mimiko, pay our salary’, ‘We can’t feed our families’, ‘Workers are dying of hunger’, and ‘Ise pupo, iya repete’ (much work, endless suffering).

It was learnt that the Ondo State Council of Obas, led by the Osemawe of Ondo, Oba Victor Kiladejo, had intervened in the industrial dispute as the traditional rulers were meeting with the leadership of the workers’ unions as of the time of filing this report.

Government offices, schools and hospitals were still under lock and key on Thursday as a result of the strike while the leadership of the labour unions in the state were moving from one office to the other to monitor the compliance with the stay-at-home order.

Meanwhile, following the failure of the workers to suspend the strike, the state governor and some members of the state executive council moved to the streets of Akure on Thursday to evacuate refuse by the roadside.

The governor said his action was to prevent an outbreak of disease in the town.

In the meantime, it was time for stock taking yesterday in the Senate.

Senators took turns to review their activities in a special session to mark the one year anniversary of the inauguration of the eighth Senate.

The 8th Senate was inaugurated on June 9, last year after the Proclamation by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The House of Representatives also took a similar step.

Although Senators who spoke were upbeat in their comments, it was curious that leaders of the Senate Unity Forum, a group of Senators who opposed the emergence of Senator Bukola Saraki as Senate President, kept mum.

In all, the Senate passed only 11 bills in one year.

Committee on Rules and Business Chairman Senator Babajide Omoworare, said the 11 bills were among the 300 bills brought before in the Senate.

Omoworare said 189 bills were at the first reading stage; 54 have been read second time and referred to committees.

He noted that several others were awaiting publication in the journal; three withdrawn to be represented by sponsors while one was negatived.

The Osun East senator listed the passed bills as .Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act CAP B2 LFN 2011 (Repeal and Re-enactment Bill, 2015.

National Centre for Cancer and Treatment Bill 2015, Electronic Transaction Bill, 2015, 2015 Appropriation Act (Amendment) Bill 2015, Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2015, High Court of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja (Amendment) Bill 2015, Federal Capital Territory Appropriation Act (Amendment) Bill 2016, 2016 Appropriation Bill 2015, Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme Bill 2016, Environmental Health Officers (Registration etc) Act 2002 (Amendment) Bill and Nigeria Institute of Soil Science Bill, 2016.

Omoworare also said the Senate passed 96 landmark resolutions, confirmations and received 159 petitions.

In the House of Representatives, Speaker Yakubu Dogara said the House passed 85 bills out of the 685 bills received.

“About 98 per cent (675) of them were members’ bills, 10 executive bills and out of the bills, 416 are awaiting second reading.

“One hundred and thirty bills have been referred to committees; three are awaiting consideration and it is instructive to observe that 85 of these bills have been passed by the House so far,’’ he said.

Dogara said the number of bills introduced in the last one year represented the highest annual consideration of bills by the House since the return to democratic governance in 1999.

Saraki, in his seven-page speech, traced the twists and turns of the eighth Senate and concluded that the upper chamber achieved a lot to cheer.

He said the Senate had continued to emphasised matters that directly touch on Nigerians.

Saraki added: “We must find a way to bring the best brains in our country on board wherever they may be found. If we are able to mobilise the best human resources that God has bountifully blessed our country with, I have no doubt that with God on our side; we shall overcome.”

The Senate President congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari, on the one-year anniversary of his administration and also for the great achievements he has recorded on several fronts. He said the President should continue to run an inclusive government.

Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu said: “We were divided along the lines of Unity Forum, Like Minds and Non-aligned, but today we are united as one indivisible Senate, working for the progress of our nation.

Senate Leader Mohammed Ali Ndume said: ”We had one year we can proudly say we have achieved a lot.”

But Chief Whip Senator Olusola Adeyeye sounded a note of caution: “Before we know it, we will be buried in the activities of 2019 and if we have to be honest to ourselves, next year must not be like the past one year.

”How do we ensure that before the end of this tenure that we no longer import fuel? How can we ensure that unemployment is dealt with. Every part of the country is doing badly, the earlier we do something about it the better.”

Punch with additional report from Nation


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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