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Nigeria, 28 Others Seek Int’l Response To Piracy, Oil Theft

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Nigeria and 28 other countries on Wednesday called for an international response to piracy and crude oil theft scourge in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) and in the continent.
The Tide’s source reports that the League of Nations were from Africa, European Union, Brazil, South Korea, China and United States.
Though Nigeria had on March 3 exited the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) piracy list, the country has continued to take the leading role to push for a more secure region.
The call was part of resolutions reached at the end of a two-day International Maritime Conference hosted by the Nigeria Navy at Onne, Rivers State.
This is contained in a 36-point communiqué signed by the Chief of Policy and Plans, Nigeria Navy, Rear Adm. Saidu Garba, a copy of which was made available to The Tide.
The theme of the conference was “Optimising International Collaboration for Maritime Security and Sustainable Socio-Economic Development in Africa.”
According to the communiqué, 300 delegates and 900 participants from 29 countries, including heads of Navies and Coastguards in Africa, the EU, Brazil, South Korea, China and United States, etc, participated in the conference.
“At the end of the deliberations, 36 draft resolutions were adopted, including that African countries should identify and prosecute sponsors and collaborators in maritime crimes to serve as deterrence.
“Heads of GoG Navies are enjoined to lobby their governments to establish special courts to prosecute cases of piracy, sea robbery and other related offences.
“African states should put in place mechanisms to ensure that resources illegally harvested/exploited in the region, such as stolen crude oil, fish and other resources are confiscated and returned to originating countries.
“This is to ensure speedy dispensation of maritime crimes while emplacing measures to build capacity and sensitise the judiciary on relevant legislations,” it said.
The communiqué further called on GoG states to ensure the operationalisation of the maritime zones within their respective regions in line with the Yaounde Code of Conduct (YCC) framework.
It demanded the development and strengthening of member states surveillance capabilities, to enhance effective information sharing among navies of the GoG.
“As part of their ship renewal initiatives, African nations should leverage the shipbuilding capabilities of member countries, such as Nigeria, to enhance their platform holding.
“African states should carry out flag showing visits with vessels locally built in the GoG to showcase shipbuilding capacity.
“Navies of African states should consider acquisition of dedicated training ships that will be tailored towards their operational needs, particularly at the tactical level.
“African countries should formulate national Blue Economy policies that are uniform in sustainability across the continent,” it added.
The participating countries called on African states to consider establishing National Marine Spatial Planning Authorities/Agencies as well as the establishment of Integrated National Marine/Maritime databases, among other resolutions.

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LG Boss Reassures On Quality Project Delivery

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By: Wokoma Emmanuel & Theresa Frederick

The Chairman of Emohua Local Government Council, Dr. Chidi Lloyd, has reiterated his commitment to quality project delivery across the local government, with the meager resources available to the council under his watch, but maintain that all the projects initiated by his administration cannot be completed at a time, considering the fact that the council’s only source of revenue has been the monthly allocation from the federation account.
The Chief Press Secretary to the council chairman, Bright Jossy-Elendu in a statement dispelled the rumoured abandonment of construction work at Ukeli Road, one of the four road projects being executed simultaneously across the local government by the administration, disclosing that the Local Government Council had already concluded necessary arrangements to remobilise to site the contractor handling the construction of the 1.5 kilometer Ukeli road with three kilometer drainage conceptualised by the administration in Rundele Community (Ward 7), immediately after the completion of Eveku Road in Eveku community (Ward 14) Odegu, Emohua LGA.
The statement however acknowledged the deliberate attention given to the construction of the one kilometer Eveku road which was actually flagged off before the Ukeli road project in Rundele, aimed at ensuring that the project was completed and delivered to the council for inauguration during the first one year anniversary celebration of the administration of the chairman, assuring that same attention would be given to Ukeli road immediately after the anniversary celebration, with a view to having the 1.5 kilometer road project in Rundele delivered in August, in line with the directive of the council chairman.
Jossy-Elendu berated naysayers and armchair critics of the council chairman for attempting to mislead the unsuspecting members of the public with fabricated information insinuating that the Ukeli Road project in Rundele which the council chairman conceived out of his own volition and love for the people of Rundele had been abandoned by the council, stressing that the council chairman cannot be dismayed by the mischievous propaganda peddled by those threatened by the unprecedented infrastructural revolution witnessed across the local government under his watch.
The statement described as ungrateful the activities of some cowards on social media who hide under pseudonym to cast aspersions on Dr Lloyd, amidst the council chairman’s unsolicited effort to improve the socioeconomic wellbeing of the people of Rundele with the construction of Ukeli road, a road that will be asphalted for the very first time since the community was founded, but reassured that Dr Lloyd came too prepared to be distracted by the machinations of his traducers.
The council chairman’s press secretary further reassured that Emohua Local Government under the effective leadership of Dr Lloyd will continue to prudently manage the slim resources available to the council for the provision of democratic dividends to the people of the area, while urging residents of the area to appreciate the council chairman’s developmental strides by providing the necessary support to contractors handling Local Government projects in their respective communities.

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Woji Community, More United Than Before-Monarch

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Paramount ruler of Woji Community in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, Eze Emeka Ihunwo, says the community is now more united than before.
Ihunwo, who said this in an interview with newsmen during his seventh coronation anniversary celebration, also said his ambition is to see the community become the Dubai of Nigeria.
The monarch said because the people are now speaking with one voice, the community has continued to record tremendous achievements both in human and infrastructural development.
Accordingto him, despite challenges, the community has recorded some impressive achievements within the last seven years.
Emphasising that the unity in the community is more now, he said through the efforts of the palace, employment opportunities have been provided to both indigenes and non- indigenes.
He said a large chunk of scholarship programmes provided by private schools in the community were given to non-indigenes.
He listed some achievements to include the expansion of the community’s Town Hall, construction of roads, skills acquisition programmes for youths in the community, provision of grants for market women, as well as the empowerment of some members of the Woji Council of Chiefs.
Ihunwo particularly said the Woji Transport Company, which took off with a fleet of three Toyota Sienna vehicles, will help those that will operate them to find their “daily bread”.
He said the community has also witnessed increase in its electoral units from nine to 40.
The paramount ruler used the occasion to commend Governor Nyesom Wike for the level of infrastructural development in the community.
He listed some of the projects to include the Oginigba Woji Bridge, which was reconstructed by the present administration, the ongoing Woji Alesa Road, and several road projects in the community.
The monarch also commended the lawmaker representating Obio/Akpor Constitutuency in the National Assembly, Hon. Kingsley Chinda, for what he called his effective representation of the people of Woji.
Noting that his ambition is to see the community become the Dubai of Nigeria, he said all the features that made Dubai what it is today are present in Woji.
He therefore called on Nigerians who invested in Dubai to come to Woji and do same.

By: John Bibor

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NIWA Plans 10,000km Navigable Waterways

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In a bid to make the nation’s waterways safe and navigable, Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has promised to make 10,000km-waterways navigable yearly.
Towards this end, Nigeria has signed an Exchange of Note (E/N) with the Japanese Government for an Economic and Social Development Programme involving the acquisition of a high-speed boat to reinforce services for coastal security in Nigeria,
Minister of State, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, signed on behalf of Nigeria, while the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Nigeria, Kazuyoshi Matsunaga, signed on behalf of the Japanese Government.
Prince Agba noted that the procurement of the high-speed boat worth $2.78 million dollars, would greatly enhance the operations of the Deep Blue project.
He lauded the Japanese government for their interest and interventions in Nigeria for Economic development.
“This project to strengthen the operations of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), will definitely strengthen the partnership between the Government of Japan and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Nigeria also appreciates the recent exchange of notes we signed for Emergency Improvement of Electricity Supply Facilities in Abuja, and the role Japan played in the development of the National Power Development Master-Plan designed to guide the Government on the optimal energy mix and efficiency for Nigeria”, Agba said.
Speaking at the event, Director-General, NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, assured the Japanese Government that the Agency, working with relevant stakeholders, will ensure the sustainability of the recent success in the war against piracy in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea (GOG).
“This high-speed boat is a welcome addition to our growing arsenal of platforms and assets to reinforce service for coastal security, not only in Nigeria but also in the Gulf of Guinea, as over 60% of shipping activities in the region pass through Nigerian waters.
“This vessel will be incorporated into the Deep Blue project which already has 2 special Mission Vessels; 2 Special Mission Aircrafts; 3 Special Mission Helicopters; 10 Unmanned Air Systems and vehicles; 17 fasts moving interceptor boats; 16 armoured vehicles and the C4i Centre”, he said.
Earlier, the Japanese Ambassador noted that the project is to support the measures adopted by the Nigerian Government to deal with the threat of the blue economy, to prevent and suppress piracy, armed robbery, and any other unlawful acts against ships in Nigerian waters.
“In the Gulf of Guinea, as you know, the piracy problem is hindering the economic development of the coastal areas.
“A slowdown in economic development impoverishes the coastal population, forcing some of them into piracy for their livelihood. We need to break this vicious cycles.
“Economic and Social Development is one of the guiding principles of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development, TICAD.
“The people and Government of Japan hope this project will enable NIMASA to reinforce their operations and services for coastal security in Nigeria, strengthen Nigeria’s counter-piracy efforts and prove useful for the security of the Gulf of Guinea”, he concluded..

By: Chinedu Wosu

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