In what has been described as a victory for the cabotage act, a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has found a foreign vessel, MT Lovell sea, guilty of contravening provisions of the coastal and Inland shippering act otherwise known as cabotage Act 2003.
While delivering judgement in a snit field by the Indigenous Shipowners Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Justice Okechukwu Okeke of the Federal High Court, said that the 30,000 metric tons tanker vessel and its owners violated the cabotage Act and ordered the defendants to pay N10 million as damages to ISAN.
It will be recalled that ISAN arrested MT Lovell sea in August 2009 for breaching the cabotage act and dragged the vessel, its captain and owners before the Federal High Court in Lagos.
The plaintiffs, ISAN and an indigenous shopping company, Pokat Nigeria Limited, accused MT Lovella Sea, a 30,000 metric tone tanker vessel, its owners Lovell sea carriers incorporated and the ship master of lifting petroleum products illegally on Nigeria’s coastal waters.
Justice Okeke had ordered that the ship be detained at Ibafon jetty pending the determination of the cast. “This is a true test of the cabotage law and this is a landmark judgement. It is a victory for the Maritime administration, NIMASA, as well as the indigenous ship owners and of course all the apostles of the development of an effective indigenous tonnage”, the director general of ISAN, Ms Funmi Folorunsho, said while speaking on the ruling, describing it as a victory for cabotage act.
The ISAN boss also disclosed that the association as instituted necessary measures to ensure that indigenous vessels are in class and are in good shape to perform all forms of contract within the nation’s coastal waters.
MT Lovell Sea is one of the six foreign vessels arrested by ISAN between August and September last year for breaching the cabotage law. The association lost the cast against one of the vessel MT Makhambet, as the same court last year threw out the case brought by it and Pokat Nigeria Limited against MBX shipping limited, a foreign company based in St Vincent and the Grenades using its vessel MT Makhambet for trading in Nigerian waters.
ISAN and Pokat Nigeria had accused MBX Shipping Limited of contravening the cabotage act 2003, which exclusively reserves the right of carriage of goods and persons within Nigerian coastal waters for only Nigerian flagged ships. Ruling on the Makhambet case, Okeke stated that given the evidence submitted to the court by the plaintiffs and defendant the ship did not breach the act since the product on board the ship was loaded in Contonou, Benin Republic undermining the fact that there is no refinery in Contonou to the best of his knowledge.
Okeke who later picked holes in the cabotage act called on operations in the shipping sector to prevail on the national Assembly for an amendment of the act to enable the judiciary resolve future cases bothering on the act in the future.
Dissatisfied with the ruling, ISAN asked its counsel, Mike Igbokwe (SAN) to file an appeal at the court of appeal.
Rivers, A Global Investment Hub
Nothing could be more elusive and desirous as the special skills and talent of a wand and a midas touch. Dr Freeman O’ Freeman is one the few possessive of this rare gift. He has a penchant for the reorganization of ailing industries, organizations and institutions. The foremost technocrat and consultant was recently spotted by the Port Harcourt Metro at a public function in the Garden city. When his attention was sought for an interview he willingly obliged an the session was a deep insight into his experience especially his years of consultancy services with the Rivers state Government in the early 1990s. During these period he recalled that 14 parastalals and government agencies including the three state owned media Houses were under his consultancy services for full reorganisation process. “We made the State Electricity Board to be the highest revenue earner after the Ministry of finance, we also made the staffs of Water Board, Super Board, and Rivers Marine to earn their salary after the reorganization processes, some of the moribond companies can still be revived.” He said Rivers state was deeply blessed with potentials to host the business world through flourishing business activities, nothing that most black Americans business moguls were looking for opportunities of investing their wealth and knowledge. Dr Freeman who is also and author and religious counsellor emphasized the need for proper restructuring of the Nigerian state to address the needs and imperatives of justice in the country. He canvassed for the creation of a state owned insurance company to secure the wealth and investments of Rivers state. “ Rivers state is global investment hub, their is need to decongest Lagos by tapping into the enormous investment potentials in Rivers state, it’s quite unfortunate that investments of Rivers state government are easing out without full privileges to the state government, despite hosting two federal terminals economic activities in the state is still low. I want the Rivers state government to reap the benefit of insurance before Governor Wike leaves office, it will count for him as one his greatest legacies for Rivers people. Commenting on the prevalence of ethno religious crisis in the country, he pointed out the very custodians of religious faith were the propellers of the evolving Crisis. “it’s very unfortunate that people don’t practice what they preach, the much resources in the hands of the ministers should be redirected for the interest of the followers, the early missionaries gave education virtually free. Ministers should allow their members to have leveraging access to their schools, this will reduced the loads of poor parents and help in producing an informed and better society”. With a deep sense of concern, he urged the federal government to address the growing spate of insecurity in country, particularly the “ incautious activities of herders.
By: Taneh Beemene
Wife Battery: Man Forced To Undertaken By In-laws
In a bid to restore the marriage of a certain couple in Port Harcourt, ( names withheld) the family members and parents of the wife has forced the husband to an undertaken that he will no longer used their daughter as a punch bag. The Port Harcourt Metro gathered the parents of the wife are relatively well to do very supportive to the upkeep of their daughters family. Their intervention came as a result of repeated cases of physical and psychological abuses of their daughter by her husband. It was also gathered that the parents of the wife had made moves to terminate the relationship to secure the life of their daughter but she bluffed their moves and stuck to the marriage based on her professed love for the husband. The husband was said to have been invited to an intense family session during which he was asked to sign an undertaken to be of good conduct and act as a responsible man or gets his wife forfeited. The session became dramatic when the repentant husband and in-law was said to have broken down in tears , with confessions that he was always propelled by some incontrollable forces to act the way he did.
By: Taneh Beemene
Group Plans Grassroots Medical Campaign
As part of measures of promoting effective medical care at the grassroots, a body under the auspices of Medical Xray and Imaging Technicians Association of Nigeria says plans has been put in place for mass sensitisation on the need for greater access to medical services at the rural areas. National President of the body, Rev Akiene Nunyor who disclosed this during a chat with newsmen in Port Harcourt, yesterday, said the sensitisation was targeted at rousing the sensitivities of critical stakeholders towards improving health care at the rural areas as well as creating awareness among the rural dwellers. He pointed out that the absence of ultra sound facilities at rural communities was responsible for high mortality among pregnant women in rural communities, as they lacked access to the facilities. Its difficult for women to go for scan exercises for proper medical check at the rural areas. In times of emergencies before they get to the urban areas that have the facilities it becomes late. He called for a synergy between the private sector and government especially in the area of research, training and manpower development in the health sector, He assured that the body was ready to provide the professional regulatory services for middle manpower development and standards in medical practice. While commending the Rivers state Government for its efforts in promoting care in the state he called for a “ Public/ Private sector driven “approach in promoting effective health sector delivery.
By: Taneh Beemene
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