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MARAN hosts Lagos NUJ Chairman to grand reception in Lagos

Eyewitness reporter

Adeleye Ajayi, the Chairman of Lagos Council of Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), stood tall yesterday at the magnificent Banquet Hall of Rockview Hotels, Apapa, Lagos, as Maritime Journalists and industry stakeholders took turn to shower encomiums on the number one journalist in Lagos State.
My Ajayi, accompanied by his wife and son, was the cynosure of all eyes as his colleagues in the maritime media and appreciative industry operators extolled his virtues and sterling qualities in glowing terms.
The occasion was the grand reception and lectures organised by the Maritime Reporters’ Association of Nigeria (MARAN) to honour and celebrate the electoral victory of the Council Chairman.
The Chairman of the occasion, Prince  Olayiwola Shittu, a former President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) commended MARAN,  saying  it was the first time former Presidents of the association were being invited to a roundtable.

” I feel highly humbled to be the Chairman of this occasion,”” Shittu said.

He urged MARAN not to lose focus, adding that he would join hands with the leadership of MARAN in lifting the association higher.

“We must guard the maritime sector jealously by exposing the rot in the  industry,”  he added.

Shittu also urged the leadership of MARAN to carry others along to overcome the tasks ahead.

The event was also spiced with lectures by guest speakers.

The first lecture which had its theme:  “National Development: The Challenges and the prospects for the proper implementation of the freedom of Information Act in Nigeria”, was delivered by Mr. Emeka Okoroanyanwu, Editor Xpress Newspaper.

“Freedom of Information is the fundamental right of every Nigerian. Information is critical to national development and good governance.

“It is the lifewire of a democratic society. Without freedom of information, the people’s right to know would be infringed upon and suffers.

“The press has a constitutional responsibility to inform, educate and entertain, ” the former MARAN President said.

A former General Manager of  LagosTraffic Radio,  Mr. Olayinka Adagun, also gave a lecture on the Freedom of Information Act and Maritime Reporting.

“The maritime sector today faces challenges of operational inefficiencies, unpredictable operational time lag, unnecessary delays of shipment, even as stakeholders themselves find it difficult to collaborate to address these challenges through global best practices.

“It must be said that the effective implementation of the FOI Act 2011 holds the prospect of accelerated development of the Maritime industry and enhances the process of cargo clearance at the ports,” Adagun said.

A Panel of discussants comprising Dr George Ayoade, Director-General, Chartered Institute of Environmental and Public  Health Management of Nigeria, Dr. Tajudeen Alao, President, Nigerian Association of Master Mariners and the Representative of the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Information and Strategy, Mr Wale Akodu, threw more light on the topics.

The event was attended by past Presidents of  MARAN which included Barrister Valentino Buoro, Emmanuel Adegbe, Asu Beks, Ray Ugochukwu, and Sesan Onilemo.

Others present at the event were Mr. Olusina Thorpe, Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Information and strategy represented by Mr Wale Akodu, Mr Muyiwa Akande, Corporate Affairs Manager of SIFAX, Mrs. Nike Sodipo, an Assistant Director, Lagos State Ministry of Information and Strategy, NUJ Lagos Council Executive Members.

Others are Mr. Hassan Bello, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council represented by Mr Emeka Okereke, Assistant Director Legal Services, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Mr Okey Ibeke, Publisher, Business and Maritime West Africa, and many more.

The President of MARAN Mr Anya Njoku described the event as timely.

“I am the happiest person on earth that this event is happening under my regime,” he said.

“With Leye Ajayi as the Chairman of NUJ Lagos Council, we can be sure that our voices will be heard,” Njoku said.

He tasked journalists in Lagos to support Mr. Adeleye Ajayi, describing him as a peacemaker and the fastest writer in MARAN.

On his part, Ajayi thanked dignitaries present at the occasion, describing MARAN as a big and united family.

“I can tell you that MARAN is intact in spite of the five factions of maritime journalists’ bodies.

“NUJ Lagos Council will look for a way of having an umbrella body for maritime journalists’ associations in order to be on the same page, ” he said.

Ajayi thanked MARAN  for finding him worthy of the honour which he confessed caught him unawares.

” It is a rare priviledge and I will be grateful forever, ” he said.

The Lagos Council Chairman equally acknowledged the support of stakeholders in the industry for him to win the election.

“I thank everybody and I wish you all a safe journey back to your various homes,” .he concluded.

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Maritime media charges federal government on disbursement of controversial CVFF

President Tinubu
The Eyewitness Reporter
Worried by the stalemated disbursement of the controversial Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund (CVFF) which has lingered for so long, the League of Maritime Editors (LOME) has urged President Ahmed Tinubu to expedite action on the release of the funds to trigger the development of indigenous shipping industry.
The group also called for urgent rehabilitation of collapsed critical port infrastructure at the nation’s seaports.
The President of LOME,  Timothy Paul Okorocha, made these calls at the League’s 25th anniversary held in Lagos on Wednesday, with the theme ‘Harnessing Nigeria’s Potential in Marine & Blue Economy’,
While congratulating President Bola Tinubu for the further unbundling of the Ministry of Transportation and the establishment of the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, Okorocha appealed to the President to exercise the required political will to push further by ensuring that the routine talk about the rehabilitation of collapsed critical port infrastructure receives urgent executive attention.
“As development partners, the League looks forward to the effective participation of the respective agencies in the current administration’s renewed agenda template; and wants to see the Nigerian Ports Authority move away from the ritual of endless talk and lamentations into doing the needful, the reconstruction of broken down asset and infrastructure,” he said.
Also worried by the lingering delayed disbursement of the  CVFF, the League further urged President Ahmed Tinubu to provide the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, and his ministry, the needed impetus to bring to an end, the unending rat race of the disbursement of the CVFF, saying that the fund established since 2003 would jump-start a new lease of life for the capacity development of indigenous ship-owners.
He added that this would enable Nigeria to participate meaningfully in seaborne trade; especially with the proposed commencement of the implementation policy of the blue economy.
The LOME President noted the genuine struggle by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and its leadership, especially under the present administration to disburse the CVFF but observed that the efforts suffered political disruptions.
“As insiders, the League over the years has seen the genuine struggle by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and its leadership, especially under the present administration to disburse the CVFF in its commitment to grow local capacity building, but observe the otherwise disruptive tendencies within the field of political play.
“We appeal to Mr. President to use his good offices to prevail on the relevant authorities to respond to the needs of our industry as there can be no better time than now,” he said.
 Speaking on the theme of the conference, Doctor Charles Okoroefe of Nigeria Maritime University also hailed the unbundling of the transportation ministry which he said was a misnomer.
He has decried the untapped potential of marine resources, especially in the area of tourism in Nigeria, regretting that marine tourism is lacking in Nigeria unlike in Gambia and the Caribbean where marine tourism is a major source of income where marine tourism rakes in billions of dollars.
“Egypt made about $14 billion in tourism from the Nile in 2022,” he added.
“People troop in into the Bahamas. Do we (Nigeria) have the potential? Yes. But the question is how prepared are we?” he queried.
He stressed that marine tourism is a solution in terms of job creation and that the time has come for Nigeria to progress from potential to actuality.
“So talking about job creation. All of these elements I mentioned are potential areas for job creation because it is a major issue in Nigeria today.
” A lot of young people are jobless. Meanwhile, we have an area that is green where a lot of jobs can be created.
“So I think we have to look at that potential area of driving our marine and Blue Economy,” Okoroefe stated.
He also called on the Ministry of Marine & Blue Economy to synergise with the Ministry of Agriculture to harness the potential of the sea.
 “So, I believe the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy has to synergise with the Ministry of Agriculture and also harness exotic seafood for export,” he explained, saying we cannot be depending on imports alone.
He urged the ministry to look at other fundamental seafood we have in excess that we can process through the rivers for export.
The marine expert regretted that Nigeria still imports palm oil from Malaysia, the same people who came to Nigeria to learn how to plant seedlings and today Nigeria is importing palm oil from Malaysia, “these are exportable items. So I believe the Ministry of Marine has to do a lot.
“With the Ministry of Agriculture for instance, with the Ministry of Power and the Ministry of Tourism, these are resources that we need to address in order for us to develop and come out of potential to thrive. On our ocean and marine resources, we’ve been talking endlessly.”
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Tantita refutes, describes  allegation of oil theft by Navy as libelous, defamatory 

Capt. Warredi Enisuoh
The Eyewitness Reporter 
Following an allegation of involvement in the alleged oil theft incident against Tantita Security Services Limited by the Nigerian Navy, the security outfit has described the accusation as laughable and an attempt by the Navy to cover up the truth.
The security outfit, which has received widespread commendation for its efforts in combatting the menace of oil theft in the country, debunked accusations of any involvement of its operatives in the incident while lampooning the Navy for underestimating its operatives.
Reacting to the development, the Executive Director – Operations and Technical, Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited, Capt. Warredi Enisuoh in a statement described the Navy’s claim as “defamatory and libelous”.
The statement said: “The activities going on inside the Nigerian Navy’s FalconEye should be investigated as the ship was only a few kilometers off the coast of Ondo State, well within view of the Nigerian Navy’s FalconEye, but they never reacted”.
“We are indeed saddened and disappointed that the Nigerian Navy could descend so low as to make such bizarre accusations against our organisation, knowing the same to be false,” he added.
“Perhaps they are not aware that video evidence of what transpired between the Tantita operatives and the Nigerian Navy at the scene exists and has been transmitted to the highest authorities.
“We will therefore not join issues with the Nigerian Navy as we are well aware that Nigerians know who is who.”
It would be recalled that the activities of Tantita and other security outfits have saved the country a whopping $43.2m from oil theft daily.
Recalled that on Thursday, December 7, 2023, the Nigerian Navy had disclosed that 17 people said to be engaged in the illegal siphoning of crude oil in Ondo State were nabbed aboard a 77-meter-long Motor Tanker (MT) VINNALARIS 1 Lagos.
Navy spokesperson, Commodore Adedotun Olukayode Ayo-Vaughan, disclosed in a statement, saying the suspects were nabbed at the Forward Operating Base (FOB) Igbokoda in the early hours of Thursday.
However, a day later, the Navy turned around to accuse Tantita Security Services Limited (TSSL) of complicity in the incident.
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As Customs elevates 357 junior officers, Adeniyi charges new graduates to trigger change through continuous learning

The Eyewitness Reporter
The Nigeria Customs Service has elevated 357 junior service staff from the ranks of Customs Assistant I (CAI) to Inspector of Customs (IC).
 This significant decision was ratified during the 7th management meeting of 2023, chaired by the Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adeniyi on December 1, 2023.
The comprehensive promotion list encompasses both the General Duty(GD) and Support Staff (SS) personnel who excelled in the 2023 promotion exercise.
The breakdown of promoted officers is as follows: AIC to IC (246) GD, AIC to IC (37) SS, CAI to AIC (39) GD, CAI to AIC (27) SS, CAII to CAI (7) SS, CAIII to CAII (1) GD.
According to the statement by the Customs’ National Public relations officer, Abdullahi Maiwada, the  strategic advancement mirrors the visionary leadership of the
Comptroller-General, emphasising motivation, recognising excellence, and rewarding diligence within the service.
In extending his heartfelt congratulations, Adeniyi urged
the newly promoted officers to redouble their efforts in fulfilling the service’s core mandates of Revenue Generation, Suppression of Smuggling, and Trade Facilitation.
In another development, the Comptroller-General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi has emphasized the significance of embracing continuous learning for the recently graduated officers from Senior Course 9 and Junior Course 17.
He made this statement during the passing out of the Customs graduates on 8 December 2023 at the Nigeria Customs Command and Staff College Gwagwalada, Abuja,
The CGC, represented the  Deputy Comptroller General of Customs, Sa’idu Galadima, in charge of the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), highlighted the importance of professionalism and integrity and urged the graduates to uphold high standards in their service.
He also encouraged them to use the opportunities in their various commands and take calculated risks.
ACG Kingsley Egwuh, the Commandant of the Nigeria Customs Command and Staff College Gwagwalada praised the graduates for their dedication towards the betterment of the service and the nation.
Expressing satisfaction with their 100% success rate, he emphasized diverse training areas, including academic standards, proficiency, and weapon handling.
He said, “All graduates should give their careers a purposeful meaning, shun all vices against growth and development, and uphold the motto of the Nigeria Customs Service, which is Justice and Honesty.”
The Commandant revealed ongoing projects, including replacing dilapidated chairs in the college hall and installing solar panels.
ACG Egwu, while praising the graduates, expressed optimism that the acquired training would enhance their performance. He thanked CGC Adeniyi and his Management Team for their unwavering support, including approving an African Study Tour to Gambia, Ghana, Mozambique, and Tunisia.
Deputy Commandant and Director of Studies, Comptroller  Oluyomi Adebakin, stated that the curriculum of the Senior and Junior courses aims to develop human capacity and establish a more effective and efficient Customs allocation. She highlighted the dedication to enhancing officers’ skills and abilities with a high level of moral standards.
The Special Guest of Honor, Senator Isah Echocho, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Customs and Excise, highlighted the global economic challenges and stressed the importance of positively impacting society. He expressed hope that the graduates’ ability to advance in technological advancements would contribute to elevating Nigeria’s economy.
Similarly, The college hosted a regimental dinner night to honor the graduates of Senior Course 9 and Junior Course 17. The evening celebrated academic achievements and underscored the disciplined ethos of the Nigeria Customs Service.
Amidst the regimental splendor, the night served as a reminder of the service’s proud heritage and the graduates’ responsibility to carry forward the torch of discipline and tradition.
The structured rituals and ceremonial aura encapsulated the ethos of the Nigeria Customs Service, providing a fitting culmination to the accomplishments of Senior Course 9 and Junior Course 17.
The evening concluded with a sense of accomplishment and pride, marking not only the end of academic pursuits but also the beginning of a journey for these graduates to carry forward the values of the Nigeria Customs Service with honor and dedication.
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