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Maritime Stakeholder Hails Court Ruling On NSC

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A Port Harcourt based
stakeholder in the Maritime Industry, Nze Bob Onyeama Theodore has described the recent Federal High Court ruling on the eligibility of the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) to operate as the economic regulator of port activities in the country as a landmark judgment and best thing that had happened to the industry.
In an exclusive interview with our correspondent in his office in Port Harcourt on Tuesday, Theodore said the council which had been operating since 1978 had been labeled a toothless bull-dog because there was no legal backing to effectively carry out its recent assignment by the Federal Government.
The maritime guru noted that with the court ruling, NSC is expected to carry out its duties legitimately to protect the interest of all stakeholders in the Port industry.
According to him, the council with the powers vested on it, could now regulate the commercial activities of all operators in the port, stressing that their activities will also include check and balance to the terminal operators, shipping companies, importers, exporters, clearing agents, freight forwarders and other service providers as well as the port concessionaires.
He expressed optimism that with the judgment, NSC will have powers over the activities of the shipping lines commended the Federal Government for their foresight.
Theodore, who is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Goldlink Maritime Services Ltd further said most illegal payments, fees and activities would stop forthwith, as the whole system would adopt international best practices.
“It is a great relief to the shippers, the importers and exporters as there will be no more shipping agency charges within the Nigerian maritime sector,” he opined, pointing out that all those cargoes that were diverted to other neighbouring West African countries due to these illegal charges would gradually find their ways to the Nigeria seaports, and it is going to boost the economy of the country.
It would be recalled that a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos recently upheld the status of the NSC as the the economic regulator of the nation’s seaports.
The presiding judge, Justice Ibrahim Buba also ordered that terminal operators like the Seaports Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) and Association of Shipping Line Agencies (ASLA) to revert to the various 2009 charges as directed by the NSC.
They were also directed to refund excessive revenue made from 2009 to date to the Cargo Defence Fund (CDF) as well as account for all monies collected by these shipping companies from 2009 to date as one charge or the other.
The stakeholder however advised the Nigeria Shippers Council not to over step their boundaries or go beyond their limit but ensure that they carry out their roles according to specifications and guidelines, praying God to give them the wisdom, courage and protection to stand the storm.

 

Collins Barasimeye

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Maritime

Piracy: MWUN Tasks NIMASA On Security Of Inland Waters

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The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has called on the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to extend the activity wing of the Deep Blue Project to the inland waterways to curb piracy and other forms of criminal activities.
The Deep Blue Project consists of Nigeria’s maritime security assets commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari recently.
Despite the launch of the USD195 million maritime security assets, criminal acts have persisted in the Gulf of Guinea (GOG) and the nations inland waterways, witnessing the abduction of eight persons including five maritime workers, along the Kula-Abonnema River.
Speaking on the abduction, Deputy General Secretary of MWUN, Comrade Oniha Erazua, urged NIMASA to extend the coverage of the Deep Blue Project to the inland waters considering the incessant abduction of travellers along the waterways.
“It’s appalling that five of our workers were abducted suddenly. It took the intervention of some stakeholders to get them rescued eventually. Our coastal waters are essential to the economy of the country and should be secured.
“Should we now leave our inland waters insecure to the detriment of our workers? It shouldn’t be. We are begging NIMASA to extend the activity wing of the Deep Blue Project to the inland waters that are prone to kidnapping and all other maritime related crimes”, he said.

By: Chinedu Wosu

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MWUN Members Relive Experiences In Kidnappers’ Den …Say They Were Fed With Garri, Flogged With Knives

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The five members of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Rivers State Branch, that regained freedom from kidnappers’ den last week say they were fed with only garri and flogged with knives and sticks while in captivity. 
The MWUN members said they were fed for three out of the six days in captivity in the hands of the suspected pirates.
Narrating their ordeal to The Tide shortly after their release in Port Harcourt, the victims comprising four men and one woman said they were set free and dumped at a mangrove forest near Abonnema between 8pm and 9pm.
“The experience at the mangrove was not easy, we were beaten with knives and sticks by the pirates.
“We were fed with garri for only three days through out our six days of captivity, once in a day”, one of the victims who did not want his name mentioned said. 
 The victims, however, declined to give reasons why they were abducted by suspected gunmen on their way to Port Harcourt on a commercial boat.
It would be recalled that the five members of MWUN were kidnapped two weeks ago by suspected pirates onboard a commercial boat from Kula, near Abonnema to Port Harcourt to attend a meeting. 
The MWUN gave their names as Comrade Wisdom Iderima, Chairman, MWUN, Kula Unit; West Opubo, Secretary, MWUN, Kula, Unit; Ajenina Daniel, Vice Chairman, and Madam Clementeba Clementeba Exco officio of MWUN, Kula Unit. 
One of the abductees, Madam Clementeba said she had been kidnapped three times by pirates.
She said she had 12 boats that used to ply Kula /Abonnema routes, but had all been stolen by criminals.
She said sea robbers had carted away 10 of her speed boats for no reasons.
Clementeba called on the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the state government to assist her recover her missing boats and curb sea piracy on the waterways.

By: Chinedu Wosu

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NIWA Threatens To Arrest Fishermen Defecating In Lagos Lagoon

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The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has threatened to arrest and prosecute any fisherman that defecates into Lagos lagoon.
This was contained in a statement by Kelvin Eba, an official of the agency working at the Liverpool area of Apapa, Lagos while warning the fishermen.
Eba said the agency would no longer tolerate the practice, but insisted that it would arrest and prosecute any culprit.
He said NIWA had set up patrol teams to arrest offenders, most of whom he described as “illiterates and drug addicts”.
He said, “Defecating into the river, lagoon and such places is classified as open defecation, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), can lead to the outbreak of diseases including diarrhea and others associated with ingesting and exposure to human waste”.
The Tide reports that in October 2019, Nigeria became the number one open defecation nations in the world, overtaking India. 
An estimate of 10 to 50 million Nigerians are said to be defecating in the open space.

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