–urges NIMASA to share success story with other African nations
The European Union E.U, through her Senior Coordinator for the Gulf of Guinea, Amb. Nicolas Martinez, has commended the Nigerian Government for providing leadership in the Gulf of Guinea in the war against criminality in the maritime sector which has yielded desired results.
The commendation came at the end of a working visit to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency,( NIMASA) by the EU delegation which inspected assets under the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, otherwise known as the deep blue project.
Amb. Martinez noted that the EU remains a committed partner to the Gulf of Guinea region and would continue to provide extensive and targeted assistance to strengthen the critical features of the Yaoundé security architecture while cementing the long-standing relationship between ECOWAS member states, like Nigeria and the EU.
“We support Nigeria’s leadership in the regional quest to end piracy and other maritime crimes. You can count on the EU as we are fully supportive of the Yaounde Infrastructure.
“We urge Nigeria to share the experience with other countries in the region. It is obvious from the results so far that Nigeria, providing leadership for other countries, is winning the war against piracy,” he said.
Speaking at the reception for the EU delegation, the Director-General NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh noted that the recent removal of Nigeria from the Piracy list by the International Maritime Bureau, (IMB), was as a result of collective efforts of various stakeholders within and outside of the country.
“ It is not yet time to celebrate. Now the focus for us at NIMASA is sustainability. The improved intelligence gathering and sharing amongst all stakeholders played a major role in the results we are witnessing now.
“Our Deep Blue Project, the SPOMO Act enacted by the National Assembly, the Convictions of criminals under the SPOMO Act, the commitment of the Nigerian Navy and other military arms of the Nigerian Armed Forces, not forgetting the support from the international community, all led to the reduction of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea” he declared.
Speaking further, Dr Jamoh said NIMASA is already looking ahead in her quest to attain sustainability.
” We are working on an International Maritime Sustainability Conference which we will be hosting in Abuja later this year; also a comprehensive National Maritime policy for Nigeria is in the pipeline.
Commenting on the Deep Blue Project, Dr Jamoh disclosed that the Japanese Government has pledged $2.4 million to support the Deep Blue Project just as the Korean Government has donated a warship to NIMASA to add to the fleet of the Deep Blue Project.
The delegation, comprising Ambassador Martinez, and members of selected EU Member States, in the company of the NIMASA DG and senior management staff of the Agency, had conducted an inspection tour of Deep Blue Project assets at the Nigerian Navy Diving School.
They also witnessed an organized drill put on by the Nigerian Navy showcasing some of the assets in action.
The Deep Blue Project, otherwise known as the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, was initiated by the Federal Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Defence while being implemented by NIMASA.
Its main objective is to secure Nigerian waters up to the Gulf of Guinea.
I was never in charge of maritime industry —Saraki
It could also be recalled that Amaechi had made a couple of visits to the Lekki deep seaport, even on a Sunday, before the presidential visit, none of which Saraki attended.
” Gbemi is also made of sterner stuff given her role in the “Otoge” political tsunami in Kwara which eventually swept off Bukola Saraki, her blood brother, from the political dominance in Kwara politics, a role which earned her the present position in the present dispensation.
“Today is my fifth week of assuming the leadership of the Ministry of Transportation”, she declared last week Friday in Lagos.
“We came to take stock of the sector. We had taken the stock of the Road sector,” she said.
Giving her summation of her findings at the end of the tour, she declared” Apapa and Tin Can ports are in terrible need of repairs.
“We will go and come back for repairs.
“We have the short, medium, and long-term plans for this. We need to start with rehabilitation here. Another problem here is power”
The Minister met various groups who are stakeholders in the industry.
Among them are women groups in maritime, terminal operators, stevedores, maritime workers union groups, haulage, and transport operators, maritime lawyers, freight forwarders, and maritime press.
We have political will to ensure CVFF is disbursed—-Saraki
The Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Rukayyat Gbemisola Saraki has expressed willingness to muster the necessary political will to ensure the controversial Cabotage Vessels Financing Funds (CVFF) are disbursed before she leaves office.
“In the course of this visit, I have also interacted with so many stakeholders, including the indigenous ship owners.
“It is really a shame that this fund has not been disbursed, I learnt the value is $350 million now and I am not sure any part of it is missing.
She added that the disbursement would follow the approval by the National Assembly after beneficiaries must have been shortlisted.
P&ID fraud : Court convicts, winds up Marqott Nigeria Limited.
Justice D.U Okorowo of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has convicted and wound up Marqott Nigeria Limited, one of the 30 companies associated with the Process and Industrial Development Limited, P & ID, for money laundering.
The company was convicted on Thursday, June 16, 2022, after being found guilty of four-count charges bordering on money laundering preferred against it by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Count one of the charges read: “That you, Marqott Nigeria Limited, being a designated Non-financial Institution; and Giovanni Beccarelli, Valentina Fantoli, and Dimitri Duca, being directors of and signatories to the bank account of Marqott Nigeria Limited, sometime in September 2014, in Abuja, within the Abuja Judicial Division of the Federal High Court, failed to comply with the requirements of submitting to the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, a declaration of activities of Marqott Nigeria Limited contrary to Section 16(1) (f) read together with Section 5(1)(a)(ii) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011(as amended and you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.”
Count two read: “That you, Marqott Nigeria Limited, being a designated Non-financial Institution; and Giovanni Beccarelli, Valentina Fantoli, and Dimitri Duca, being directors of and signatories to the bank account of Marqott Nigeria Limited, sometime in September 2014, in Abuja, within the Abuja Judicial Division of the Federal High Court, failed to develop programs to combat money laundering and other illegal acts, to wit: failure to designate at management level a compliance officer within any strata of Marqott Nigeria Limited, contrary to Section 16(1)(f) read together with Section 9(1)(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 16 (2)(b) of the same Act”.
At the point of the first arraignment on February 7, 2022, the defendant pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, setting the stage for a full trial.
In the course of the trial, the EFCC presented many witnesses and tendered many documents as exhibits.
In his judgment, Justice Okorowo found Marqott Nigeria Limited guilty of all the four-count charges and convicted it accordingly. He also ordered that the company be wound up and its entire assets forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Marqott was first arraigned on Monday, February 7, 2022, for being an accomplice in the $9.6bn Gas Supply and Processing Agreement between the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and P&ID.
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