Osinbajo Seeks Continental Response To Maritime Challenges

Yemi Osinbajo Seeks Continental Response To Maritime ChallengesStrengthening the coast guard function and timely exchange of information by African countries will help build a stronger maritime industry and improve trade facilitation.

Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, made the recommendation on Thursday at the third annual conference of the Association of African Maritime Administration in Abuja.

As part of the opening ceremony of the conference tagged: ‘Sustainable Use Of Africa’s Ocean and Seas’, a new Logo for the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

New NIMASA logo unveiled at the conference

Professor Osinbajo who said the challenges facing the sector are not insurmountable, however tasked African countries to take advantage of the incredible opportunities to tackle the difficulties.

“The challenges are many but not insurmountable. As things stand, Africa’s fishing grounds are being pillaged, it waters are polluted and piracy is heightening maritime insecurity and causing increases in the cost of insurance and trade. Many difficulties but incredible opportunities.

“The good news is that we are on the right path, collaboration and synergies. Our countries have to continue to develop the maritime sector, beginning with the national level to the sub-regional and regional levels,” he said.

The Vice President further suggested better regulatory framework and human development as crucial factors for development in the industry.

He stressed the need for countries to ensure a coherent and collaborative continental response to the challenges facing African maritime.

“Here in Nigeria, we have taken steps to tackle some of the issues peculiar to us while still requiring regional and sub-regional collaboration. As African maritime administrators and regulators, it’s my respectful view that you must ensure a coherent and collaborative continental response to the challenges facing our maritime space.

“This will require cooperation amongst our states and agencies, and with other segments of society, including the private sector. It means that governance issues and appropriate legal and regulatory frame works must be put on the front burner, alongside timely exchange of information.

“In addition, issues of maritime security and safety must continue to receive priority attention as we strive to make Africa a valued player in the international maritime community,” he said.

Dakuku Peterside Advocates More Maritime Sector Reforms

dakuku-petersideThe Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, (NIMASA), Mr Dakuku Peterside, says a lot has to change if the country must compete with the rest of the world in the maritime sector.

He made his position known in an interview with Channels Television on Saturday.

He, however, pointed out some of the achievements of the sector in recent times, among which is the decrease in piracy.

“The rate of piracy has dropped to its barest minimum because we have been able to build on agency cooperation and coordination and we’ve also been able to build a network with our regional partners.”

Apart from that, he stated that in terms of maritime safety, the number of detentions of vessels calling at the ports have reduced because according to him, “people are now more aware that we have zero tolerance for substandard vessels.”

“We have also conducted more inspections than in previous years,” he added.

The Maritime boss also hinted that the Ministry of Transportation was pursuing the real establishment of the national fleet driven by the private sector; an initiative to which NIMASA is giving its total support.

Meanwhile, it was also revealed that indigenous players in the maritime industry may soon begin to rip the benefits of the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act as Nigeria is set to disburse over a hundred million dollars sabotaged vessel financing fund.

PDP Asks Dakuku, Amaechi To Explain Work Done In Rivers State

PDP Governors Appoint Fayose As Forum ChairmanChairman of the Rivers state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), Mr Felix Obuah, has asked Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, (NIMASA), Dakuku Peterside, to account for the work they have done for the people of Rivers state.

He made the confrontation in a statement signed by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the party, Jerry Needam.

“Chairman of the Rivers state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), Mr Felix Obuah, has observed that the people of the state have benefited nothing from the All Progressives Congress, APC, led government since it came to power at the centre.”

He described the development as unfortunate, the height of irresponsibility and insensitivity to the people’s expectations, as well as a failure to deliver its statutory obligations to the citizenry,

The PDP chairman expressed disappointment that since the appointments of Amaechi and Peterside, who are both from the state, they have not been able to initiate any project or empowerment scheme in the state.

Obuah noted that rather than serve as a blessing to the people of Rivers state, the appointment of the APC leaders from the state, has become a source of woes and anguish, as they have only used such positions to cause crisis and division, doing everything to blackmail the government in the state in their quest to force themselves on the people undemocratically.

“It is sad”, Obuah emphasized, that while APC leaders from other states of the federation are making efforts, using their positions to do something positive and developmental in their respective states, our brothers in the same party, who are even holding top positions at the centre, are only bent on destroying our state, always igniting crises and misinforming the good people of Rivers state on issues of development, policies and actions of government.

“Stop the noise and desist from causing problems in Rivers state, deliver meaningful projects and empowerment schemes to the people”, the PDP urged the APC top government appointees.

“By her strategic location and economic base, Rivers state occupies a significant position as the leading live-wire of our nation’s economy, which statutorily and based on the principle of derivation and federal character, ought to be benefitting greatly from the government at the centre in addition to the share due her.

“Regrettably, Rivers state today is one of the few states that has not been accorded her right place by the APC government as a result of continued and deliberate denial and suppressive actions by even those who have benefitted a lot from her treasures.

“It is on the strength of this that we charge the duo of Amaechi and Dakuku to have a rethink, by stopping the fight of attrition against the government and people of the state and join hands to develop it and to influence federal projects into the state as their lawful responsibility.

“The PDP is afraid that if about two years into the life of the APC government at the national level and its leaders have not been able to show any project on ground in the state, the remaining months ahead might be impossible for them to make any reasonable mark, as all we see them doing now is playing politics with everything, including security and development of the people.

“Time is running out.” Obuah sounded as a note of warning to Amaechi and Dakuku.

“The PDP therefore, commends the Rivers state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, for committing himself and the Rivers state government to ensuring peace, security and development in the state in the face of apparent efforts to distract him by leaders of the opposition party in the state, the APC.

“Bro Obuah particularly lauded the decision and action of governor Wike in acquiring 10 gunboats for the Nigerian navy, which will be used for security patrol on the waterways.”

He then expressed hope that on the day of handing over the boats, the NIMASA boss and Transportation Minister, would be invited to participate in the commissioning proceedings, “even though Amaechi wasted eight years in office without procuring a single gunboat for the navy,” the statement added.

Buhari Approves Governing Boards For NPA, NIMASA

Muhammadu Buhari-NPA-NIMASANigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has approved the composition of the governing board of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).

The approval was contained in a statement by the spokesman for the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Bolaji Adebiyi.

The new NPA governing board has 11 members with Mr Emmanuel Adesoye as its Chairman.

The members of the board are: Supo Shasore, Suleiman Halilu, Constance Harry Mashal, Umar Shu’aibu, Charles Sylvester, Hadiza Usman, Mohammed Koko, Dr. Sekonte Davis, Professor Idris Abubakar and Mrs I. J. Uche-Okoro.

Similarly, President Buhari approved a governing board for the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

The NIMASA board also has 11 members, with Major General Jonathan India Garba as the Chairman.

The members of the board are: Asekomhe Kenneth, Mohammed Muazu, Ebele Obi, S. U. Galadanchi, Ms Nene Dike, Dakuku Peterside, Rear Admiral Adeniyi Osinowo, Bashir Jamoh, Joseph Fashakin and Gambo Ahmed.

National Shipping Line To Operate On PPP Basis, NIMASA Says

NIMASA, Peterside DakukuNigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) says the proposed national shipping line will be managed on a Public–Private Partnership (PPP) basis.

The Director General of NIMASA, Mr Peterside Dakuku, disclosed this to reporters on Monday in Lagos State, southwest Nigeria.

Making clarifications on the proposed national shipping line, Mr Dakuku said funding of the national carrier would come from the private sector.

He also stated that Nigeria has signed to several protocols that would help detect, rid and tackle pirates as well as security breaches on its waterways.

House Holds Public Hearing On Revenue Leakages In NIMASA

House of Representatives, NIMASAThe House of Representatives says it expects that the revenue generated by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) be used for public good and not for private interests.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, gave the charge on Wednesday in Abuja, during the public hearing on revenue leakages and operational deficiencies in NIMASA.

Speaker Dogara expressed hope that with the new leadership in the agency and from the result expected from the investigation, revenue from the agency would flow into government coffers.

The Chairman, House Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration, Honourable Mohammed Bago, on his part made it clear that the investigation was to ensure that government gets its due.

The Director General of NIMASA, Mr Peterside Dakuku, outlined some of the challenges confronting the agency.

Agreeing with the Speaker, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transportation, Sabiu Zakari, said that the government was also carrying out a full investigation into all the operations of the agency.

The House Committee is expected to submit its report to the House for consideration and adoption.

Alleged Fraud: Court Remands Army General, Others In Prison

Court, Army, EFCCA Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the remand of a former Commander of the Joint Task Force, Major General Emmanuel Atewe, and two other accused persons, Kime Engozu and Josphine Otuaga, in prison.

The court’s remand order was made on Friday after their arraignment alongside a former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr Patrick Akpolobokemi.

The accused face an 11-count charge of conspiracy, fraud, stealing and conversion of the sum of 19.7 billion Naira to personal use.

The accused persons all pleaded not guilty while their lawyers asked Justice Saliu Saidu to grant them bail.

However, their application was denied and the matter adjourned till June 24 for commencement of trial.

Court Jails Former NIMASA DG, Omatseye For Five Years

Raymond Omatseye, Court, ScamThe Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos has sentenced the former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Raymond Omatseye, to five years in prison.

Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia convicted and sentenced Mr Omatseye after finding him guilty on 24 out of 27 counts charge bordering on bid rigging and contract splitting

The EFCC had charged the former NIMASA DG  with N1.5 billion contract scam.

At the last adjourned date on March 14,counsels representing the prosecution and defence had both adopted their final written addresses in court.

Counsel to the accused, Mr Edoka Onyeke, in his address urged the court to discountenance the arguments of prosecution and dismiss the charge against his client.

He argued that the prosecution had not been able to proof its case beyond reasonable doubt.

Onyeke said that out of the 27-count charge preferred against the accused, 25 dealt strictly with the issue of approval of contract above the threshold while the remaining two were on bid rigging.

He maintained that the prosecution did not prove that exhibit PD 16, which it relied on in dealing with the issue of threshold, got to NIMASA at the time the contracts were awarded while he urged the court to discharge his client.

In his argument, the prosecutor, Mr Godwin Obla, urged the court to hold that the case of the prosecution was “as clear as daylight, and had also been proven beyond reasonable doubt”.

He had submitted that the facts of the case spoke volumes, stating that the accused in exhibit PD 1 and 2 clearly articulated his threshold for goods as not exceeding 2.5 million Naira and for works as not exceeding five million Naira.

Obla said that count 25 of the charge, which dealt on threshold was straightforward while he added that sufficient evidence had been adduced to show that the accused awarded contracts above thresholds.

Alleged Scam: Court Defers Ruling On Omatseye’s Case

Raymond Omatseye-Court-ScamA Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday, further reserved May 20 for judgment in a case against Raymond Omatseye.

Omatseye is a former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), who was charged with 1.5 billion Naira contract scam.

He was arraigned before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a 27-count charge bordering on bid rigging and contract splitting.

The suit, which was originally fixed for judgment on Monday, was adjourned at the instance of the court to May 20.

The trial judge, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, who has been transferred from the Lagos division of the court, is expected to return and deliver the judgment on that date.

At the last adjourned date on March 14, counsels representing the prosecution and defence had both adopted their final written addresses in court.

Counsel to the accused, Mr Edoka Onyeke, in his address urged the court to discountenance the arguments of prosecution and dismiss the charge against his client.

He argued that the prosecution had not been able to proof its case beyond reasonable doubt.

Onyeke said that out of the 27-count charge preferred against the accused, 25 dealt strictly with the issue of approval of contract above the threshold while the remaining two were on bid rigging.

He maintained that the prosecution did not prove that exhibit PD 16, which it relied on in dealing with the issue of threshold, got to NIMASA at the time the contracts were awarded while he urged the court to discharge his client.

In his argument, the prosecutor, Mr Godwin Obla, urged the court to hold that the case of the prosecution was “as clear as daylight, and had also been proven beyond reasonable doubt”.

He had submitted that the facts of the case spoke volumes, stating that the accused in exhibit PD 1 and 2 clearly articulated his threshold for goods as not exceeding 2.5 million Naira and for works as not exceeding five million Naira.

Obla said that count 25 of the charge, which dealt on threshold was straightforward while he added that sufficient evidence had been adduced to show that the accused awarded contracts above thresholds.

He had appealed to the court to so hold, and convict the accused accordingly.

NIMASA Tracks Hijacked Oil Vessel, MT Sampatiki

NIMASANigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has tracked an oil vessel ‘MT Sampatiki’ which was hijacked by sea pirates within Nigerian territorial waters.

The Director General of the Agency on Friday, confirmed the development to Channels Television.

Mr Dakuku Peterside said that a combined team comprising the NIMASA, the Nigerian Navy, the Interpol and others are working hard to identify and arrest those behind the criminal act on Nigerian waters.

“On March 26, we picked up information that a Liberian flagged ship has been attacked on our territorial waters.

“We immediately swung into action based on the direction from the honourable Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi. We contacted the Nigerian Navy, the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime as well as the Interpol,” he said.

Mr Peterside explained that as a fall out of the abduction, a 24-hour surveillance team has been mobilized to patrol the waters especially off the coast of Qua Iboe and Brass where the incidences are rampant.

“As at this morning (Friday), the Togolese Maritime authorities were about to board the vessel to interview crew members to get further information that would help and aid us in locating the five crew members that were abducted within our territorial waters.

“Our idea is to shorten the response (time) whenever this kind of thing occurs, but we are optimistic that this would be the last time it would occur because we intend to increase surveillance and intelligence gathering on our waterways.

“Most importantly, we are about sending a bill after a consultation with stakeholders – a draft bill on anti-piracy activities on our waterways and we hope that would give us the framework to fight piracy.

“We also reached out to neghbouring maritime authorities and I can confirm to you that our effort is yielding results.

“We also deployed our satellite surveillance system and as we speak, we have located the vessel offshore Lome in Togo,” he said.

Rivers Rerun: No APC Leader Made Inciting Statement – Peterside

Dakuku Peterside and Nyesom Wike on Rivers Rerun ElectionsThe candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the 2015 governorship election in Rivers State, Dakuku Peterside, says no leader of the party made any sort of inciting statement during the just concluded rerun election in the state.

Mr Peterside, who is the current Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA),made the statement on Wednesday while giving his opinion on the violence perpetrated during parliamentary polls in the southern Nigeria oil-rich state.

“I challenge anybody to bring any evidence to show that any leader of the APC in Rivers State asked the people to come out and perpetrate violence, ask people to kill, ask people to write their will.

“No leader of the APC (All Progressives Congress) did that before, during and after the elections,” he claimed while giving his opinion on Sunrise Daily.

Mr Peterside alleged that the violence that took place during the elections was caused by Rivers State Governor, stressing that he had earlier raised alarm and nothing was done.

“I have said it consistently (and nobody has challenged me) that all of these that happened in Rivers should be placed squarely on the feet of Nyesom Wike.

“He provided incentive, he provided (if I use an agricultural analogy) a manure for the violence we are witnessing in Rivers State and indeed, if nothing is done urgently, this psycho will continue and it will hurt everybody,” he insisted.

In a swift response, the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, Felix Obuah, refuted the claims, stressing that Governor Wike did his best to uphold peace during the exercise.

“The Governor of Rivers State is a God sent messiah to the people of Rivers State (and) he has done everything possible to bring peace (and) he has supported the law enforcement agents,” he said.

Mr Obuah maintained that the disruption of the polls was planned by the Minister of Transportation, Mr hibuike Amachi, and the APC members in the state.

“Yesterday (Tuesday), Amaechi and his cohort and followers did said that the election that brought Wike was manhandle by the former president (Dr. Goodluck Jonathan) who provided all sorts of security that intimidated APC,” the PDP chairman said while describing the allegation as an irony.

“We want to put on record that every problem that has been happening in recent time in Rivers State is a calculated attempt by Amaechi, Dakuku, (and) Ikanya (the APC Chairman in Rivers State),” he said, stressing that the state is peaceful and the residents are going about their normal business.

Lawmakers Investigate Alleged NIMASA $10bn Remittance Discrepancies

House-of-Representatives-NigeriaThe House of Representatives has opened an investigation into the non-remittance and under remittance of over $10 billion as revenues by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), over a period of eight years.

In a motion sponsored by Honourable Chukwudi Onyereri, the lawmaker expressed his concern that this ineffectiveness by the agency had deprived the country of needed revenue.

“Over the years, NIMASA has been very ineffective in execution of its mandate, a situation that has resulted in financial leakages, maritime insecurity and operational decline of the agency.

“The House is aware of cases of revenue losses arising from leakages in three per cent levy on wet and dry cargoes, two per cent surcharge and other revenues sources put at $10 billion over a period of eight years,” Honourable Onyereri stressed.

Chukwudi Onyereri on NIMASA
Chukwudi Onyereri

He also drew that attention of the House to the export lifting of crude oil by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and IOCs which he said were based on Free On Board instead of Cost Insurance and Freight charges and carried out without interface with NIMASA for the purpose of enforcing the payment of the three per cent levy.

“The House is concerned that the two per cent Cabotage weaver Fees meant to fund the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund for indigenous capacity building are being invaded by the IOCs and other major foreign shipping companies operating in the country,”  he further stated.

After deliberations on the issue, the House mandated a joint committee to consider and track compliance by NIMASA and report back to them in six weeks.

Meanwhile, the former Director General of NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi and six others are facing trial on a 13-count charge of forgery & stealing of about 754.7 million Naira.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned them before Justice Raliat Adebiyi on January 25.

The EFCC specifically accused the defendants of converting to their personal use a sum of 346.8 million Naira released to them by NIMASA, a sum meant for the implementation of Voluntary International Maritime Organisation Member State Audit Scheme.

They were also accused of forging a document of “request for payment as consultant for VIMSAS services” with an intent to commit fraud.

The offences are said to be contrary to Section 409 and punishable under Section 285 (1) of the Criminal Code Laws of Lagos State 2011.

The defendants had all pleaded not guilty.