MARITIME THIS WEEK: A recap of news and events

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MARITIME THIS WEEK: A recap of news and events

MONDAY SEPTEMBER 30

Abiodun OBA     |     

Nigeriamaritime360.com in its editorial on Monday, focussed attention on Amaechi’s gambit over renewed supremacy war on Lagos waters.

The medium going down the memory lane, recalled that on September 17, 2019, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, reopened a protracted war over the control of the Lagos State Waterways when he ordered the state government to hands-off the natural resource. 

It said for over 10 years, the Lagos State government had confronted the Federal Government for the control of the waterways in Lagos state which resulted to several litigations which eventually culminated into a disputed victory at the Appeal court which affirmed the authority of Lagos State Government through its agency, Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) to control the waterways in the state.

It was a cold war of attrition between the two agencies until Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora took over the leadership of NIWA.

During his short stay at the agency before he was appointed a Minister, Mamora initiated a peaceful settlement of the supremacy war when he signed peace accord with the Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu in July, 2019.

The agreement was on joint responsibility to ensure safety, harmonise tariffs and monitor regulations on the waterways.

All seemed calm as both parties agreed on delineated areas of operations and revenue sharing.

However, with the latest stance of Amaechi and his resolve to take over the control of the disputed Lagos waterways, the rested hostilities may have just resumed.

The medium concluded that except the Federal government has the capacity to take on the challenges of infrastructural deficits which have rendered our waterways death zone, Amaechi’s call for the take-over of the Lagos waterways, to us, is red herring.


Flood: More than 100 dead in fresh India flood

More than 100 dead in fresh India flood

No fewer than 100 people have died due to flooding caused by heavy rains in the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the BBC reports.

Railway traffic, vehicular movement, healthcare services, schools and power supply have been disrupted in both states, officials said.

An Uttar Pradesh government report said 93 people have died since Thursday.

The death toll in Bihar is 29, according to the state disaster management authority. The impact on its main city, Patna, has been grabbing headlines.

People are navigating the main roads – which are dotted with abandoned and partially submerged vehicles – by boat.


TUESDAY OCTOBER 1, 2019
NigeriaMaritime360 Magazine berths

 

The much-awaited hard copy edition of the soar away online authoritative maritime platform, nigeriamaritime360.com, finally berthed on Tuesday October 1, 2019 coinciding with the Nation’s 59th Independence anniversary.

The magazine, which is the result of a long, painstaking planning and research, is the hallmark of excellence which the medium is known for.

Introducing the magazine to veteran journalists in his office, the Chief Editor of the magazine, Prince Biodun Soyele said: “The magazine initially shall be published quarterly before it gradually goes through different stages of monthly and weekly edition, which is the medium’s ultimate goal.

“The October-December 2019 edition brings the unreported scenes behind the closed borders.

“It also features powerful and explosive interviews from Barrister Hassan Bello, the Executive Secretary and CEO of Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Prince Olayiwola Shittu, former President of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA).

“The magazine is loaded with other regular interesting features which will add up for readers’ delight.

“We welcome you to our world of delightful maritime reportage”.

To subscribe for your copies email eic@nigeriamaritime360.com  today. You may also call or WhatsApp +2348033335122 to subscribe.


Rice Smuggling:  Navy arrests six suspects in Akwa Ibom

Six suspected rice smugglers have been arrested and 256 bags of rice each weighing 50kg seized in Ibaka, Akwa Ibom State.

The Forward Operating Base Commanding Officer of the Nigerian Navy, Capt. Peter Yilme, made the disclosure while handing over the suspects and items to the Nigeria Customs Service on Tuesday in Ibaka, Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.

Yilme who was represented by the Base Operations Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Kabiru Yusuf said the Navy also seized a medium-sized wooden boat from the suspected smugglers.

He emphasized that the Navy was determined to end smuggling on waterways, and warned smugglers to desist from the act or risk arrest.

He said that the Navy would intensify riverine and land patrols to put an end to smuggling on the waterways.



WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 3, 2019

NDLEA intercepts 500kg of Indian hemp in Kwara

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) said on Wednesday that it had intercepted an articulated vehicle loaded with 500kg of Indian hemp and destroyed Indian hemp farmland in Ilorin.

The Kwara Commander of NDLEA, Ambrose Umoru, disclosed at a press conference in Ilorin, that five suspects were arrested in the process of intercepting the vehicle. Umoru said that the vehicle with registration number, Kano GWL 28XA, was intercepted on Sept. 25 on the Jebba-Mokwa expressway.

He said the driver of the vehicle and an accomplice concealed the exhibit with other items in the vehicle heading to the northern part of the country.

“Based on a tip-off from a confidential informant, the operatives gave the truck a hot chase in the course of a motorised patrol on the expressway,” he said.

Umoru said that when the driver of the vehicle was finally apprehended, he claimed that they loaded the exhibit at Akinyele Motor Park in Ibadan. He also added that the driver, who was billed to deliver the hard drug in Bida, Niger, refused to disclose the specific recipient in Bida.

The Kwara commander of NDLEA added that the investigation revealed that the driver specialised in using the truck, which belongs to a Chinese company, to convey Indian hemp from the western part of the country to the North.

“The driver cleverly concealed the recovered exhibit in condemned rubber slippers and shoes loaded along with bags of garri,” he said.

Cat: news

FG concludes designs for return of tolls–Fashola

Babatunde Raji Fashola, Former Minister of works and Housing

Designs for the return of toll plazas on Federal roads, have been concluded by the Federal Government.

The Minister of Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The minister said that, though the government dismantled toll plazas in the past, there was no law abolishing tolls.

“Let me just clarify this impression about toll gates; there is no reason why we cannot toll; there is no reason.

“There was a policy of government to abolish tolls; to dismantle toll plazas but there is no law that prohibits tolls in Nigeria today.

“We expect to return toll plazas; we have concluded their designs; of what they will look like; what material they will be built with; what new considerations must go into them.

“What we are looking at now and trying to conclude is how the back-end runs and that is important because we want to limit significantly if not totally eliminate cash at the plazas while ensuring that electronic devices that are being used do not impede rapid movement.

“We are also now faced with the need to acquire more land to establish the width of the toll plazas because I believe that we are looking at a 10-lane plaza so that there can be more outlets and then they merge; so we need to acquire more land.’’

He however, said that the expectation that collection of tolls would produce the replacement cost of the road was not accurate.

Fashola said that the traffic toll count that the ministry had done on major highways did not suggest that there was enough vehicular traffic across all routes.

According to his analysis, the two or three heavy routes are Lagos-Ibadan; Abuja-Kano, Abuja-Lokoja.

“In Lagos-Ibadan, the heaviest traffic you will find is between Lagos and Sagamu; about 40, 000 vehicles; after Sagamu heading to Ibadan, it drops to about 20,000.

“So, most of it has gone eastwards going towards Ondo, Ore and by the time you get to Benin, the number significantly drops; it ratchets up again at the confluence where they are heading towards the Niger; so you can see that it is not a static 50,000 all the way.

“Same thing with Abuja-Kano-Zaria; after Kaduna, the traffic significantly drops; it is about 40,000 there too; after Kaduna, it begin to drop by the time you get to Zaria.

“If you have driven on that road before, by the time you are driving between Zaria and Kaduna, you will notice how thin the recurring number of vehicles you meet is and as you begin to head closer between Kaduna and Abuja, the number of vehicles begins to increase.

“I think it is important to have that at the back of our minds; not all roads have that traffic count,’’ he said.

The minister said that government’s move toward the tolls return was not accidental as it was being deliberate and methodical with what it was doing.

 

Senate mandates committee on petroleum to present bill on amendment of PSC Act

Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources Upstream has been mandated to come up with a bill on amendment of the Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract (PSC) Act.

This followed the adoption of a motion by Sen. Ifeanyi Ubah, (YPP Anambra) and 30 others at Wednesday’s plenary.

The motion was on the urgent need to review Production Sharing Contract (PSC) in line with section 16 of the deep offshore and inland Basin Production Sharing Contract Act CAP D3 LFN 2004 and amend the extant Act.

Moving the motion, Ubah said the committee on petroleum resources upstream had been inundated with petitions and complaints on the PSC.

He said Federal Government over the years had lost billions of dollars in potentially accruable revenue due to non-review and amendment of the salient provisions of the
PSC Act.

He said in spite of huge contributions of the PSC to total oil production, the contributions of revenue per barrel of PSC for federal government’s take had been significantly low.

This, he said was because of the inherent inequitable terms in the PSC and failure to review the salient provisions of the act.

According to him, PSC Act provides that where the price of crude oil exceeds 20 dollars per barrel, the Act will be reviewed to ensure that federal government share in the additional revenue is adjusted.

He also said that the act provided that it may be reviewed after 15 years from the date of its enactment in 1993 and every five years thereafter.

According to him, the non- review of the Act over the years had led to loss of 21 billion dollars to Nigeria.

He said Nigeria stand to gain additional N30 billion monthly if the Act is reviewed and amended.

This, Ubah said would boost the nation’s revenue profile.

Contributing, Sen. George Sekibo, (PDP-Rivers), said the PSC was an additional opportunity for Nigeria to make money, adding that there was an urgent need to review the Act.

He said cabals in the oil sector were frustrating attempts to review the Act over the years.
Other senators, who supported the review, were Stella Oduah, Rochas Okorocha, Adamu Alerio, and Gabriel Suswam among others.

The senate in its resolution also mandated its committee on petroleum resources upstream to investigate reasons for failure to review the Act over the years.

In his ruling, President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan said the bill for the review of the Act would be presented for second reading in the next legislative day.

He urged the senate to give the PSC amendment bill expeditious debate and passage when presented.

He maintained that the bill if passed would help the country to generate fund to support execution of the budget.

PSC is a contractual arrangement for petroleum exploration and production.

This is whereby the state as owner of the petroleum engages a contractor to provide technical and financial services for exploration and production operations with agreed share in profit after payment of royalty, cost and tax.

The contractual agreements were offered by the federal government in 1991 leasing round and its terms codified into legislation.

Today, Nigeria has seven oil fields from the 1993 PSCs.


 

THURSDAY OCTOBER 3, 2019

 

Minimum Wage: Strike looms as Labour threatens strike, gives FG 14-day ultimatum

 Organised labour has threatened to call their members out for industrial action if the government failed to act at the expiration of the two-week ultimatum given the Federal Government. 

Leadership of organised labour, comprising the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) gave government an October 16 ultimatum to resolve all issues surrounding the consequential adjustment of salaries for the implementation of the minimum wage.

The decision was contained in a communique issued after the leadership was briefed at the Labour House, Abuja, by members of the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC).

In the communique signed by NLC President Ayuba Wabba, his TUC counterpart Quadri Olaleye, JNPSNC Chairman, Simon Anchaver and Secretary Alade Bashir Lawal, the unionists said they cannot guarantee industrial harmony if their demands are not met at the close of work on October16.

The union rejected the government offer for salary adjustment of 11 per cent for workers on grade level 07-14 and 6.5 per cent consequential increase for workers on grade level 15 – 17.

The communique reads: “We view the position of the government as a show of insensitivity to the plight of workers and an attempt to collect with the left hand what government had offered with the right hand.

“We demand the reconvening of the meeting of the committee negotiating the consequential adjustment with a view to concluding the process that started on the 28th of May, 2019 within one week.

“Entering into an agreement with labour to the effect that salary of officers on grade 07-14 should be reviewed upward by 29 per cent while that of officers on grade level 15-17 should be reviewed upwards by 24 per cent and commence immediate implementation of the signed agreement on consequential adjustment of public workers’ salaries with effect from 18th of April 2019 when the new national minimum wage of N30, 000 per month was signed into law.”

The unions said that negotiations for the consequential adjustment of wages dragged unduly because of “the nonchalant attitude of the government negotiating side”, adding that workers have exercised tremendous patience and restraint already.

According to the union, “in the course of negotiations for consequential salary adjustment, organised labour had to moderate its initial position of having 66.6 per cent upward salary adjustment for workers on salary grade level 07 – 17 by accepting an upward adjustment of 29 per cent for officers on salary level 07-14 and 24 per cent adjustment for officers on salary grade level 15 – 17.

“Despite this patriotic gesture, government has kept insisting that it can only pay 11 per cent for officers on grade level 07 – 14 and 6.5 per cent consequential wage increase to public workers for officers on level 15-17.”

The meeting was convened to receive briefing from the JNPSNC and to discuss the way forward on the deadlock in negotiations for consequential salary adjustment for public sector workers following arising enactment of the new national minimum wage of thirty thousand naira.

 

Cat: news

Unlicensed gold mine collapses, 20 dead 

At least 20 people were killed Thursday when an unlicensed gold mine collapsed in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

According to local media, the accident occurred in the town of Kampene in Maniema Province.

Stephane Kamundala, an authority with a non-governmental organization in the region, said the dead included women and children with three people were seriously injured.

Kamundala said scores of people are trapped under the rubble and search and rescue work is continuing.

People have been trespassing into abandoned tunnels and working without security measures in gold, copper and cobalt-rich mines in the DRC.

In June, 36 people were killed in the collapse of a copper mine in the south-eastern Kolwezi region.

 

The Scams of P&ID: Federal Government

Brendan Cahill: one of the owners of P&ID: Nigerian government says company was set up to swindle Nigeria with dubious contract

The Nigerian Government has given details of fraudulent circumstances surrounding the Gas Supply Processing Agreement (GSPA) with Process and Industrial Developments Ltd (P&ID) leading to the award of 9.6 billion dollars judgment debt against Nigeria.

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed gave the account on Wednesday in Abuja while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the federal government delegation’s trip to London over the judgment debt.

A UK court had on Aug. 16 authorised P&ID, a little known Irish engineering and project development company to seize the 9.6 billion dollars, about N3.5 trillion in Nigerian assets over the failed 20-year GSPA.

The court, however, on Sept. 26, granted a stay of execution of the judgment debt and also granted the government request for leave to appeal the decision.

Mrs Grace Taiga: Found to have received money from P&ID. She committed Nigeria with P&ID contract

Briefing the newsmen in Abuja, the minister reiterated that the contract entered into with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, was nothing but a fraudulent contraption with no chance, or expectation, of success.

He said, P&ID, a company without a physical address and no known investment anywhere in the world, set out to dupe Nigeria from day one, with the connivance of unpatriotic, corrupt and greedy Nigerians.

“A contract of this magnitude cannot be valid until it has been vetted by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and taken to the Federal Executive Council for approval. None of these was done.

Mohammed Kuchazi: a Nigerian director of P&ID

Adamu Usman , another director of P&ID

“The sham contract was also signed in contravention of the Bureau of Public Procurement Act and the Infrastructure Regulatory Commission Procurement Act.

“While the MoU for the project was signed in 2009 by P&ID Nigeria Limited and the Nigerian government (Ministry of Petroleum Resources), a ‘trick’ clause dubiously inserted in the MoU was curiously activated.

“The clause allowed British Virgin Island (BVI)-registered P&ID to replace the original contractual party, P&ID Nigeria Limited, to sign the contract on Jan. 11 2010. P&ID, incorporated in BVI, is a shell company that has no history of any business except the phantom GSPA in Nigeria.

The minister also disclosed that there was no Board resolution approving the assignment of the contractual interest to P&ID BVI.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed: P&ID was a scam from the beginning

He said, according to the contract, the gas for the project was expected to come from OML 67 operated by ExxonMobil and OML 123 operated by Addax but none of the two companies was aware of the agreement.

“For such a supposedly important project, there was no budgetary provision for the implementation of the GSPA in the budget of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources in 2010,” he said.

The minister added that P&ID did not obtain the necessary licence to deal in petroleum products from the Department of Petroleum Resources as stipulated by extant laws.

He said the firm also neither filed tax returns nor paid VAT to the Federal Inland Revenue Service as required by law.

“P&ID never kick-started the construction of the project facility, despite its claim to have invested $40 million in Nigeria. It also never acquired any land to build the gas processing plant.

“There is no proof of any financial commitment by P&ID toward the execution and implementation of its own obligation as stipulated in the 2010 agreement.

“Similarly, the Central Bank of Nigeria confirmed there is no trace of any funds brought into Nigeria by P&ID,” he said.

The minister recalled that two Directors of P&ID Nigeria, Mohammed Kuchazi,and Adamu Usman had been convicted of charges of money laundering and economic sabotage.

They are, a Director of P&ID Nigeria.

He said suspicious payments were also made to Mrs Grace Taiga, the Legal Director in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.

“Taiga was supposed to ensure that the interest of the country was adequately protected. Of course, the payment, transferred in three tranches, could only have been made in appreciation of the ‘good deed’ done to P&ID by Taiga.

“Also, billions of Naira in suspicious cash transfers was made by P&ID. Investigations continue into these transfers,” he said.

The minister assured that the Government has a good chance of being successful in its impending appeal of the judgment debt before the UK appellate court.


FRIDAY OCTOBER 4, 2019

 

Boarder Closure: Customs seizes 1,072 vehicles from smugglers

Since the closure of Nigerian borders with neighbouring countries, no fewer than 1,072 vehicles have been seized from suspected smugglers by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).

Mr Joseph Attah NCS Public Relations’ Officer, made the disclosure on Friday in Katsina during a sensitisation programme on the Border Drill Operation.

The PRO said that the vehicles were seized while trying to cross into the country through illegal routes.

Attah said that over 19,000 bags of foreign rice and 4,765 Jerry cans of petrol were also seized adding that two fuel tankers were also impounded.

The PRO revealed that thousands of ammunition have been seized, while 317 suspects were also arrested during the period.

According to Attah, 131 bags of NPK fertilisers, which would have been used to make explosive device were seized, while 146 illegal immigrants without genuine travel documents were arrested.

He pointed out that the closure had helped in ensuring security for the citizens as well as improved the nation’s economy.

“Anytime you buy foreign rice, you have empowered foreign farmers, while our farmers are suffering in spite of government interventions like Anchor Borrower, which is aimed at boosting rice production.

“We are now like candles burning ourselves and lightening others,” he said.

He, however, justified why the government launched the ongoing Border Drill Operation to check the menace of smuggling and illegal immigrants into the country.


 

Cat: security news

Maritime Insecurity: Global Security Conference to proffer solutions– Dakuku

The Global Maritime Security Conference (GMSC) scheduled to hold in Abuja from October 7 to 9 would come up with a formal declaration on solutions to maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea.

 

Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, stated this during the live interview on a national television in the federal capital Abuja.

Dakuku revealed that a robust collection of international maritime security stakeholders have confirmed their attendance at the Conference.

The conference is organised to address pertinent security issues in the Gulf of Guinea maritime domain.

Dakuku decried the scourge of maritime insecurity, especially in the Gulf of Guinea. 

“Dealing with the issues of piracy and maritime crime requires inter-agency collaboration as well as regional collaboration between sister agencies in the participating countries,” he stated.

Dakuku said about eight Chiefs of Naval Staff from Africa, 16 representatives of Chiefs of Naval Staff from the continent, and representatives of Chiefs of Naval Staff from Brazil, United States, and some European countries were expected at the conference.

He stated, “So, we have full representation. We have navies from 38 countries coming for the conference, including two Rear Admirals from the United States. The global naval community is well represented at the conference. We are also bringing the Head of Liberian Coast Guard; we are bringing the heads of coast guards from 27 countries. We have clearly confirmed over 500 foreigners coming for the conference and over 2,000 persons have registered for the Global Maritime Security Conference.”

Dakuku, who is also Chairman of the Association of African Maritime Administrations (AAMA), added, “This is a tactical conference between developing countries, developed countries and high international partners to find solution to a problem that is affecting global commerce.

“Ninety per cent of commerce is conducted via seaborne trade, so whatever affects seaborne trade affects global commerce and has direct impact on development and quality of living of a people.

“At the end of the conference, we are expected to come up with the Abuja Declaration on Maritime Security in the Gulf of Guinea, which will be a document that will be a consensus agreement of all participants regarding what needs to be done to address the deteriorating situation. There will be a defined roadmap to deal with maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.”

He said that getting global institutions, bilateral and multilateral agencies, and nations of the world to partner in order to make a clear statement on how to deal with the security challenges in the Gulf of Guinea was the ultimate goal of the forum.

The conference is being hosted by the Federal Ministry of Transportation, in collaboration with the Nigerian Navy. It is the first of its kind in the Gulf of Guinea and follows in the tradition of similar events held globally.

The objectives of the conference include defining the precise nature and scope of coordinated regional responses to maritime insecurity, evaluating the relevance of various external interventions, and moving towards policy harmonisation and regional cooperation.

The conference will also tackle cyber security threats, while advocating deeper global commitment to the deployment of resources for ending maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea region in the shortest time possible.

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