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Hadiza was blackmailed out of office —maritime advocacy group alleges —–describes Koko as hatchet man

Eyewitness reporter

A maritime industry advocacy group, Save Nigeria Freight Forwarders, Importers and Exporters Coalition (SNFFIEC) has blamed the travails of Hadiza Bala Usman, the suspended Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on her detractors whom the group said were uncomfortable with her uncompromising attitude which made them difficult to bend her to do their biddings.

The Leader of the group, Osita Chukwu Patrick, who made this allegation in Lagos, described Hadiza as a blessing to the maritime industry, considering the far-reaching reforms she has initiated to reposition the industry.
Describing the suspended NPA Chief as the best  MD that the agency has ever had, Patrick said Hadiza was in the class of Okonjo Iweala and late  Dora Akunyili whose types he claimed are hard to come by.
The leader of the advocacy group also accused  Mohammed Koko, the Executive Director, Finance and Administration of the NPA who was asked to step in as the Acting MD, of carrying out a hatchet job against his boss.
Patrick wondered why Koko should be made to benefit from the travails of Hadiza which he believed they should have shared.
“Whatever fraud allegation against Bala- Usman should be a shared responsibility because the acting MD was the Executive Director, Finance and Administration of the agency and whatever transpired could not have been without his knowledge” the leader of the group declared.
 
He accused Koko of eyeing the exalted seat of Hadiza, abinitio, given his lack of scruples to take advantage of the travails of her boss.
“It is the finance where he is that the allegation came from, are you sure he was not used as a stooge to bring this woman down?
“If I were Koko and to show that I was not happy that somebody who is my MD was suspended, I will say no and reject the offer because both of us were together when the alleged crime was committed” he declared.
Patrick lauded the achievements of Hadiza as the MD of NPA, claiming she has taken the Nigerian port industry from where it used to be to where it has never been before.
He noted that if Nigeria had gotten her type, there would not have been a need for port concession in 2006.

Recall that Hadiza Bala Usman was suspended last week  Thursday, over allegations of financial recklessness.

While reminiscing on the achievements of the suspended NPA Chief, the industry activist declared “had it been that this type of woman was there before concession, the Federal government wouldn’t have done the concession exercise.
“She came from a good background, she was well trained and an activist, she speaks for the masses. I don’t think what they are alleging that led to her suspension should be anything to discuss at all”

“The people fighting the woman are people in the Ministry of Transportation and her colleagues because she would never allow anyone to steal money and that’s the only anger’

According to him, the suspended MD incurred the wrath of her detractors because she refused to yield to their request to share public funds

“Quote me, she doesn’t want to give them the money they demanded, she doesn’t want to succumb, that’s why they are looking for a loophole to get at her.

“If you look at what she has done in the port, you will know that she is a goose that lays the golden egg. Go to the port and see what I am talking about. The port used to be dirty but when she came, she fixed the roads by using her ideological concept to make Dangote fix the port road in Apapa.

“The suspension of that lady is a bombshell to those of us that love our nation’s seaport.

” This kind of her person is hard to see in a country” he claimed.
Patrick noted that Bala-Usman is not a saint but stressed that the issues on the ground bothered on the conspiracy theory of some forces in the system.

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Headlines

IMO tasks Mobereola to sustain NIMASA’s leadership role in regional maritime industry

—– hails his appointment as DG
The Eyewitness Reporter
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has lauded the leadership role of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in the maritime industry within the West African sub-region which it said has stabilized maritime administration in the region.
In his congratulatory letter to Dr. Dayo Mobereola, the new NIMASA DG, the Secretary General of IMO Arsenio Dominguez, observed with satisfaction the collaborative efforts of NIMASA that have brought relative peace to the troubled Gulf of Guinea (GoG).
He therefore charged Mobereola to sustain the tempo of activities that will keep the momentum going in the areas of safety, security and building of strong maritime institutions.
In a conveyance letter personally signed by him, the IMO Secretary-General recognized the strides of the Agency in building a robust maritime sector in Nigeria, adding that the IMO commends the significant effort, initiatives, and investment that Nigeria has made in strengthening its maritime institutions.

In the words of Dominguez, “The focus on strengthening maritime law enforcement and security architecture has been welcomed by seafarers and flag States.

“The Deep Blue project and the C4i Centre as well as maritime piracy laws under the SPOMO Act are just some of the many investments that have set a new gold standard in the region in maritime security capacity building”.

“IMO has long supported the regional role of the Yaoundé Code of Conduct and its Member States in strengthening maritime security and law enforcement.

” In this respect, we have been greatly encouraged with the continuation of this regional ownership with the formation and work of the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Collaboration Forum and Shared Awareness and De-confliction (GoG-MCF/SHADE) in 2021”.

He commended the Agency’s partnership with the various regional bodies and expressed the readiness of the IMO to work with Nigeria and other member states on many maritime issues with the aim of jointly tackling these issues.

“NIMASA’s partnership with the Interregional Coordination Centre (ICC) and the collaboration with the shipping industry, navies and the Yaoundé architecture has been instrumental in suppressing the threat of piracy to merchant vessels and seafarers in line with UN Security Council resolution 2634 (2022) on piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea and IMO Assembly resolution A.1159 (32)”.

” I look forward to working with you and your colleagues on many of the maritime issues that we are jointly tackling and hope to welcome you in person at the IMO, he said.

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Headlines

Eastern shippers, freight forwarders on collision course with Shippers’ Council over increase in haulage rate

Akutah Pius Ukeyima, ES, NSC
The Eyewitness Reporter
Importers, Exporters and freight forwarders playing their trade in the South East region of the country have rejected the recent 200 percent hike in haulage rate by the Nigerian Shippers’Council.
They described the increase as “outrageous, arbitrary, and unacceptable.”
In a press conference called by the aggrieved shippers in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, they claimed that if the hike was not reversed, it would bring them on a collision course with the Shippers’ Council.
Addressing journalists on behalf of the aggrieved group, Joshua Ahuama, Zonal Coordinator of the Association of Nigerian Customs Licenced Agents (ANLCA), claimed that the rate will not only lead to spiral inflation but also in contravention of the provisions of the NSC Act.
He disclosed that the group shall give the Shippers’Council a seven-day ultimatum to reverse to status quo or face withdrawal of their services at the Eastern ports.
He accused the council of not consulting concerned stakeholders before arriving at the decision, saying consultations are an integral part of the NSC Act.
 “Recently, the NSC approved a 200 percent increment in haulage rate for transport owners and drivers operating under the Maritime Union of Nigeria.
“To this end, importers and freight forwarders associations in the eastern zone have unanimously disputed the new rate because it is outrageous, arbitrary, and unacceptable to all stakeholders in the zone.
“We have, however, resolved to adopt all peaceful efforts. We started this move on March 14 by calling on the NSC to ensure proper stakeholder engagement and renegotiation.

” These measures are also expected to help all parties to reach a benchmark that would be in the interest of all stakeholders in the maritime value chain,” Ahuama noted.

 “We also urge the NSC to return to the status quo by suspending the implementation of the disputed rate, pending proper renegotiation covering the interest of all stakeholders.

“We are not on a selfish course. Our demands are in the interest of Nigerians because any slight increase in the haulage rate will reflect on the prices of goods in the open market.

“A businessman incorporates total logistic costs into the prices of goods.”

However, the group said they might be constrained to take drastic measures, including suspending all declarations of goods and payments of customs duties, which could negatively affect national revenue and economic output.

Some members of the import and export associations present at the meeting included the Nigeria Shippers Association, the Aba International Traders Association, the Ultimate Importers Association, the POP Importers Association, the Nnewi Importers Association, and the Onitsha Importers Association.

However, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council has said that the new approved rate took into consideration the cost, moderation and other cargo transport issues.
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Customs

Performance of Apapa Customs scanning officers excites Comptroller Jaiyeoba

The Eyewitness Reporter
The Area Controller of Apapa command of the Nigeria Customs Service, Comptroller Babajide Jaiyeoba has lauded the uncompromising attitude of the officers of the Non-Intrusive Inspection Technology Unit (NIITU) which he said has been invaluable to the overall success of the command.
Comptroller Jaiyeoba, who was on an unscheduled visit to the scanner site, reminded the officers of the importance of teamwork as a strong basis to sustain the gains of compliance and revenue collection recently recorded by the command.
He thanked Deputy Comptroller Salamatu Atuluku, the Officer in charge of the scanning site and encouraged the unit not to be deterred by complaints coming from persons who were made to pay accurate duties to the government after issuance of demand notices
According to him, no business person who is made to part with money will be happy with officers who refused to compromise the ethics of their job
” The main reason for me coming here is to appreciate you. I may not see you but I have seen your work and I won’t keep quiet about what I have seen about your work.
“You are doing very well. I just want to encourage you to work as a team. If you don’t work as a team, you give room for outsiders to come in and when they come in, they divide you and when they divide you,  achieving success will be very difficult
” Do your work without blemish. Once you keep your arm straight, you can stand before anybody. Your work as a customs officer is to ensure that you do the correct thing
” For those of you doing an intervention in the form of Demand Notice(DN), there is no body who part with money that will be happy with you.
“They will want to play intelligent by hiding somewhere. When you fetch them from their hiding place, they become your enemy. Whatever they write about anybody here will still come down to me and if anybody works well, the onus on me is to defend such a person.
“Just have it at the back of your mind that you owe yourself the duty of doing your work diligently whether anyone comes around as a friend or enemy.
“It is not enough for you to rest. The reward for hard work is more work. These demands require sacrifice so that you can maintain the status” he said.
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