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Denmark in Gulf of Guinea to protect multi-billion dollars investments in maritime in Africa 

The Danish Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen being led by officials of Tema ports to tour the facility


Eyewitness reporter
In recent times, foreign Navies have moved their war machines to the Gulf of Guinea to offer support to Nigeria and other countries in the region to fight piracy that has been the hallmark of the axis.
Britain and Denmark have their warships patrolling the volatile region and their presence has actually helped to scare away the sea marauders.
Early this month, Denmark deployed frigate Esbern Snare equipped with a Seahawk helicopter, maritime Special Forces among other crew to the region to combat piracy and perform other mandates until April 2022.
The patrol ship last Wednesday killed four out of eight pirates after a heavy gun battle outside Nigeria’s territorial waters.
But it has been revealed that the willingness of these foreign countries to help the countries in the Gulf of Guinea was more for self-preservation to protect their economic interests than to be charitable countries.
 The Danish Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen, who paid a two-day working visit to Ghana this week, declared that Denmark have a strong interest in free trade and a passion to protect its vast investments in shipping.
“Traditionally and in future, we have a strong interest in free trade, to protect our ships and our part of the global infrastructure when it comes to shipping and cargo,” Ms Frederiksen explained.

While addressing journalists at Tema port as part of her two-day visit to Ghana, Ms Frederiksen expressed the need to intensify the fight against piracy.

“What took place on Wednesday shows how important it is that we work together on security issues.

“It underlines why this area is facing huge challenges therefore I’m proud to see Denmark play such an active role in the fight,” she said.
Denmark has over the years committed lots of resources to protect its investments in the Gulf of Guinea.

The country, whose one of its companies, AP Moller has one of the biggest stakes in the Shipping business in Nigeria, has launched a $ 7 million programme in 2018,  focusing on Ghana and Nigeria despite being part of the European Union’s Gulf of Guinea Inter-regional Network (GoGIN) programme on regional coordination in West Africa.This year, Denmark appointed a special representative for maritime security and added $ 1.5 million to the programme which will finance maritime training facilities for customs, police, tax, immigration and fishery authorities to increase interagency coordination.

It is expected to enhance the two countries abilities to capture and for Nigeria also to prosecute pirates and implement piracy law which Denmark provided support for drafting.

Ghana and Nigeria house the two biggest ports for Danish shipping companies apart from proximity to pirate attacks and anti-piracy collaborations.

According to Ms Frederiksen, Denmark is interested in helping others and will, directly and indirectly, be involved in securing the region working closely with Ghana.

“We have been working together for many years in many areas but now different aspects of security are higher on our common agenda,” she said.The European nation will from next year begin a 5-year programme covering Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria building on previous engagements.

The $ 26.5 million programme will support United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime(UNODC) and Interpol in their operation to improve national and regional agencies’ capacities.

Through the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), the programme will also facilitate convening dialogue and develop the capacity of navies and Special Forces.

The Prime Minister accompanied by the opposition leader from the Liberal Party, Jakob Ellemann-Jensen interacted with the management of Meridian Port Services in Ghana.

Before her engagement at the Tema port, Mette Frederiksen visited Christianborg Castle in Accra which also houses the Ecowas Multinational Maritime Coordination Centre for Zone “F” which comprises Ghana, Coast d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Burkina Faso.

The entourage from Denmark visited Ghana as part of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Growing insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea has challenged countries in the region and their international partners to up their game in tackling it.

The region continues to remain a hotbed for piracy which threatens peace and security as well as international trade.

In 2020, 95% of all kidnappings at sea is said to have happened in the Gulf of Guinea which has about 40 Denmark merchant ships using the route daily.

However, with the intervention of foreign countries, including Denmark, the region has in recent times recorded a low incidence of pirate attacks.
According to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), the Gulf of Guinea region recorded 28 incidents of piracy and armed robbery in the first nine months of 2021, compared to 46 in the same period in 2020

Incidents of piracy in the first nine months of 2021 are the lowest reported in 17 years.

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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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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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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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