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International shipping cartel removes Nigeria from paying war insurance premium

Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo
— as war against piracy gains traction
 The eyewitness reporter
After the successful decapitation of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea and Nigeria’s territorial waters, the international shipping cartel has finally removed Nigeria from paying war insurance premiums.
The international shipping lines have slammed what they described as war insurance premiums on cargos destined for Nigeria in the wake of the frenzy of pirate attacks in the Gulf of Guinea and Nigeria’s waters.
This surcharge has therefore resulted in a high cost of shipping into Nigeria.
But due to the total war declared by Nigeria which was coordinated by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in collaboration with the Nigeria Navy, the pirate activities in the region were reduced to the barest minimum so much so that the Gulf of Guinea recorded zero piracy attacks for 10 consecutive months since 2021.
The Director General of NIMASA Dr. Bashir Jamoh said from the first quarter of  2021  to date, Nigeria has not recorded a single accident or incident on its territorial waters in terms of a piracy attack.
From the last quarter of 2021 till date, it’s been over a year now, with no single attack.

He said this has led to the cancellation of the stigma placed on Nigeria as the most dangerous water in the world and the country was removed from the piracy list for the first time in March 2022.H

However, the international shipping cartel refused to remove the country from paying war insurance premiums despite this feat.

This, therefore, led NIMASA to embark on a campaign against the continued imposition of this surcharge which Jamoh described as no longer justifiable in the face of the successes recorded in the fight against piracy.

However, the NIMASA campaign may have eventually paid off as the country has finally exited from this inglorious era of payment of war insurance premiums.

Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo said that Nigeria’s exit from the surcharge was owing to improved naval operations in Nigeria’s maritime domain and enhanced security architecture in the country’s sea lanes.

Making this disclosure in Abuja Thursday, the Naval chief said Nigeria was removed from the list of countries paying War Insurance Premium on ships whose destination is Nigeria by Llyods of London, United Kingdom.

The war insurance premium meant that cargo ships and other vessels plying the Nigerian route or whose destination was Nigeria paid a significantly higher premium on insurance due to heightened security fears and attacks including piracy which were a frequent occurrence in the past before the Nigerian Navy overcame the criminal activities of pirates in the country’s sea lanes and maritime domain.

Admiral Gambo noted that “with the removal of the tag, insurance premium to be paid by ships doing business with, or plying Nigerian sea lanes will become normal insurance paid by other countries which are less expensive and will enhance shipping/cargo trade”

Similarly, the Nigerian Navy has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) through the Navy Holdings Limited (NHL) and Akewa Global Services for the Upgrade and reactivation of the Burutu Dockyard and building of a Naval Logistics Base to be located at Burutu, in Delta State.The MoU on the Burutu Dockyard reactivation/development which is a Nigerian project, aimed at decongesting land transport challenges while reviving inland waterways transport that was abandoned at the jetty since the 1960s.

On the MoU, the CNS said, “It is with great delight that I welcome everyone to this unique collaborative initiative, which is the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Navy Holdings Limited and Akewa Global Services Limited.

“This partnership with the Nigerian Navy is to revive the dock facilities, by upgrading and modernizing the facilities to support maritime commerce, especially in preparation for the take-off of the regional Sealink Inland Water Cargo Transportation.

“This will greatly assist in the movement of bulk cargoes from Nigeria’s hinterland thereby boosting our country’s non-oil export, especially solid minerals and agricultural exports.

Gambo said the desire to safeguard the nation’s maritime domain for socio-economic activities to thrive, prompted the Nigerian Navy to collaborate with Akewa Global Services Limited adding that signing of the MoU is the beginning of good things and better relationships between both organisations and by extension, the good people of Burutu Community.

“It is my hope that this collaboration would continue to blossom and yield expected dividends that could rid the nation’s maritime environment of activities of criminal elements and economic saboteurs while attracting desired development to both parties and the nation at large”, he said, adding “Undoubtedly, this collaboration will further position the Nigerian Navy to support government’s development of sustainable Blue Economy”.

Explaining the legal basis for the MoU, Admiral Gambo said, “Pertinently, the Presidential Executive Order 5 of 2nd February 2018, allows Ministries, Departments and Agencies to partner or engage reputable indigenous professional companies in Joint Venture relationships in realization of corporate objectives.

“Accordingly, this partnership with Akewa Global Services Limited stands to yield great benefits in Local Content Development in the areas of shipbuilding technology as well as other aspects of science and engineering”.

“Therefore, while the Nigerian Navy benefits in enhancing the turnaround maintenance of her vessels, the good people of the Burutu Community would also derive maximum benefits from employment opportunities and corporate social responsibilities that would arise from this collaboration. This partnership will also lead to the establishment of a standard Base to facilitate all-around security of the facility, the community and the entire region.

Articulating other objectives of the MoU, the CNS said, , ‘My vision for the Nigerian Navy is to leverage all factors of national location, technology, training teamwork and synergy to re-energize the Service and enhance her as a well-motivated and ready naval force in the discharge of her constitutional mandate in fulfillment of national security objectives.

“To achieve this, one of the policy thrusts of my administration is geared towards renewal and re-invigoration of the Nigerian Navy Fleet. The strategic objective of this Fleet Renewal Project is to develop and sustain the right mix of ships and assets capable of sustaining the presence of the Nigerian Navy across the span of the nation’s maritime domain.

“Undoubtedly, attaining this objective requires standard shipbuilding capability, repairs and maintenance facilities to enhance operational availability of Nigerian Navy platforms towards curtailing maritime crimes that undermine the economic prosperity of our great nation.

“Although the Nigerian Navy operates 2 shipbuilding and repair facilities, namely the Naval Shipyard Port Harcourt and Naval Dockyard in Lagos, it is believed that these collaborative efforts to develop the Burutu Port and utilize existing shipyard facility, would act as a force multiplier to the Nigerian Navy in ship maintenance and repairs, particularly in the Central Naval Command area of responsibility”.

‘This would further enhance securing the maritime domain as well as protection of critical maritime assets therein. Certainly, the dockyard would be leveraged towards building needed platforms including barges and small craft”, he added.

The CNS thereafter appreciated
President Muhammadu Buhari for empowering the Nigerian Navy towards the actualization of its constitutional mandate, and both ministers of Defence and Transport for their support and guidance toward ensuring safety and security within the maritime domain.

Chief Kenneth Donye, Chairman of Akema Global Services in his remarks recalled that Burutu Dockyard built by the colonial masters during their early trade mission to the Niger Delta Coast in the early 20th century played a very crucial role in the then lucrative inland waterway transportation that existed upto the late sixties, when inland waterway transportation drastically declined in Nigeria as well as the Burutu dock business.

“The partnership with the Navy is to revive this dock, by upgrading and modernizing the facilities to handle modern maritime challenges, especially in the preparation of the take-off of the Regional Sealink Inland Water Cargo Transportation, which will greatly help in the movement of bulk cargo from Nigeria’s hinterland resulting in a boost of our country’s non-oil export, especially for solid mineral and agricultural exports.

He commended the Chief of Naval Staff for approving the partnership, which Includes the establishment of both Naval and Commercial Logistic bases, saying Burutu, will help boost security in the area, as well as increase the shipping and other maritime activities for both the oil and non-oil industries.

“This will also Improve the lives of several communities within the Niger Delta Region, Eastern Region, and the Northern Region, from where most of these bulk cargoes will be transported through the naturally gifted Rivers Niger and Benue Inland Water Channels,” he said.

“What gladdens me most in this partnership, is the Naval security architecture that will be put to bear in these areas of operation. This will help de-stigmatize Burutu and environ as a security-prone area and help attract both local and foreign investors to unlock the investment potentials of this area, which will ultimately translate to wealth creation for both the people and the nation at large.

“This partnership is expected to help revive commercial activity along the rivers Niger and Benue axis, by producing specialized barges, best suited for our river transportation for bulk cargo, against the current trend, where all goods are conveyed majorly through our dilapidated roads and inadequate rail systems.

“It will also help put activity on the several moribund inland and dry ports located in the Northern and Eastern parts of the Country, thus increasing economic activities in these areas. The partnership will help boost the commercial shipping activity of Burutu seaport and other Delta cluster ports.

“While the Navy will be having a 10 Hectares Naval Logistic base, donated by the host community, for their internal use, there will be an additional 50 Hectares Commercial Logistic base to be jointly owned by this partnership which includes the host community, that will help boost commercial businesses and safety within this area of operation.

This icing of this relationship is that the Nigerian Navy is being transformed from not just a maritime security outfit, but to an economic enhancer that provides facilities that help boost commercial activities within their maritime operational zone.”

He commended the efforts of both the Nexim Bank and Sealink towards operationalization of the relationship noting that, “The business advocacy of the Sealink Consortium generated the need for construction of specialized river crafts and barges that will convey hitherto locked bulk cargoes in the hinterland for export.

Also speaking at the signing ceremony, the Managing Director of NEXIM, Nigerian Export-Import Bank, Alhajii Abba Bello disclosed that the bank got involved in maritime activities in a bid to expand the Maritime logistics infrastructure to drive trade and commerce hence its support for the surveying and charting of the nation’s rivers, as well as boost maritime security.

Reiterating that the project required huge capital investments to see its actualization, Alhaji Bello disclosed that NEXIM bank has signed an MoU with AFRI-EXIM bank for a $400million loan facility for the purpose of providing Port Infrastructural Development and other needed infrastructure for the waterways.

The Group Chief Executive of Naval Holdings Limited, Rear Admiral Sirilander Lassa, signed the MoU on behalf Nigerian Navy while Chief Kenneth Donye signed on behalf of Akewa Global Services.

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Freight Monitor

ANLCA cracks

Emenike Nwekeoji , ANLCA President
–ASECO chair resigns, cites internal pressure, backbiting, distrust
— insurrection at MMIA chapter as coup against chairman foiled 
The Eyewitness Reporter
Six months after the highly factionalized elections which brought in the duo of Emenike Nwekeoji and Olusegun Oduntan as the National President and Vice President respectively of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) in September 2023, the graveyard peace which heralded the pyrrhic victory seems to have ruptured.
The fragile peace, which was the fallout of the five years of bitter and intractable war that sent the oldest freight forwarding association to a state of inertia, now seems to have given way to distrust, bickering, animosity, suspicion and repressed anger among the top echelon of the association.
To underline the smouldering fresh crisis that has hit the association, Nze Aloy Emeka Igwe, the Chairman of the Association Elections Committee(ASECO )of ANLCA, has resigned his appointment.
In his letter of resignation dated 27th, February 2024 and addressed to the National President, Emenike Nwekeoji, Igwe, in a voice laden with regret and bitterness, cited extraneous influence, backbiting, under current and lack of trust” as the reasons why he called it quit.
“ASECO as presently constituted depicts a divided house due to the extraneous influence and pressure.
” The under current, the backbiting and lack of trust within and without ASECO have caused me to review my membership and chairmanship of the committee.
“I have deeply addressed my thoughts to this, consulted my family, friends and associates and decided that my time with ASECO is irreversibly over.
“There is no energy, no motivation left in me to continue to work under the prevailing regrettable circumstances” Igwe bemoaned.
A few days after the resignation of the highly traumatized ASECO chairman, a coup was played out at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport chapter of the association where one Chief Bola Ashiru Balogun, one of the defeated candidates of the chapter elections staged an unsuccessful coup to unseat the incumbent chairman, Bangbala Adewusi, Monday, March 4th,2024.
In a commando-like style, Chief Bola Balogun came into the Chairman’s office with officers of the Police Force from the Zonal Headquarters, Zone 2, Onikan.
According to an eyewitness account, on the strength of a petition of threat to Life against the Chairman, the Chairman, Chief Adewusi followed them to the Zonal Headquarters
“While the Chairman was away to Zone 2, Chief Bola Balogun allegedly came with hoodlums and area boys to forcefully break into the office of the Chairman and seize power forcefully on the strength of a May 2023 court judgement, which has been appealed and is currently being heard by the Appeal Court”
However, the attempt to unseat Chief Adewusi, who sources said was an unpopular chairman foisted  on the chapter by the cabal in ANLCA, was thwarted by members of the Task Force, led by the CSO, Mr. Maxwell Onyemachi, and other well-meaning members of the chapter loyal to the embattled chairman.
However, the last is yet to be head of the failed coup at the MMIA chapter as a group loyal to Chief Ashiru Balogun has promised to relaunch the attack on the Chairman, Chief Adewusi who they regarded as a puppet of the cabal in the association.
Stakeholders feared that the recent happening in the association may have signaled the slide of ANLCA back to another round of crisis which has ravaged the war-weary group for five years before its graveyard peace that is now shortlived.
The ANLCA President, Emenike Nwekeoji, through the Sectary of the Association, Olumide Fakanlu, “has graciously accepted the resignation letter of the highly embittered ASECO chairman.
In his acceptance letter dated March 1st, 2024 and signed by Fakanlu, the ANLCA President said the letter was received with mixed feelings but nonetheless, it was graciously accepted while wishing Emeka Igwe well in his future endeavours, thus signaling the resumption of hostilities in the acclaimed oldest freight forwarding Association in Nigeria’s maritime industry
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Headlines

Tantita Seizures: Court orders forfeiture of MT Kali to FG

The Eyewitness Reporter 
Private security outfit, Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited (TSSNL), has added another major win for the nation in collaboration with the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) in a landmark judgement, as the Federal High Court, Abuja, ordered the forfeiture of an illegal crude oil vessel, MT Kali and its content to the Federal Government.
Securing this judgement is the first scenario in recent times when oil thieves and their barons are being prosecuted and brought to book as 20 crew members, including community boys’ accomplices, were arrested in the operation.
The police in the Charge NO. FHC/ABJ/CR/18/2024 B/W: INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE V. MT KALI & 22 ORS, had arraigned the vessel and its 22 crew members before the Federal High Court, presided over by Justice J.O. Abdulmalik.
Justice Abdulmalik granted the motion for the interim forfeiture of MT Kali & her content to the Federal Government.
However, the arraignment of the suspects was stalled as they were not produced in court by the office of the Chief of Defence Staff.
All efforts by the prosecuting counsel to convince the court to issue a production warrant to be served on the military authorities for the production of the defendants on 18th March 2024 being the next adjournment date or at least the issue of the defendants’ summons to be served on the defendants through the military authorities proved abortive.
The court, however, sternly warned that the charge may not survive beyond the next adjournment date should the prosecution not secure the attendance of the defendants for their arraignment and plea.
The illegal oil bunkering ship was arrested by the operatives of Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited in conjunction with the special security task force set up by the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, on January 11th, 2024.
The ship was arrested while siphoning crude oil from the Pennington Oil field of the Anglo-Dutch energy giant, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) in Bayelsa State.
The case is being prosecuted to a logical conclusion in the act of dexterity and patriotic zeal by the operatives of Tantita led by its Executive Director, Operations and Technical Services, Captain Warriedi Enisuoh and a team raised by the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Kayode Egbetokun.
Egbetokun had directed the Police Special Task Force on Petroleum and Illegal Bunkering (IGP-STFPIB) under the command of Mr. Lot Lantoh Garba, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, to launch a discreet investigation into the arrest of the bunkering ship.
Investigations into the arrest of MT Kali were being intensified as operatives of Tantita arrested another illegal bunkering ship MT HARBOR SPIRIT, weeks after, on February 4th.
The Moldovian vessel was caught while stealing crude oil from Sengana oilfields in the coastal axis of Bayelsa State.
The investigation and prosecution of the two bunkering ships and their crew members were being diligently coordinated by Enisuoh and Head, Investigation, IGP-STPIB, Mr. Omar John Sini, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP).
It was gathered that MT Harbor Spirit and members of her crew have since been arraigned in court on Friday, March 1st, 2024.
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Customs

Customs gives importers of improperly imported vehicles soft landing

Wale Adeniyi, CGC
— announces 90-day window to pay import duties with 25 percent penalty
The Eyewitness Reporter
The Nigeria Customs Service has bent backward to give a soft landing to importers of vehicles whose vehicles were detained by the customs over improper documentation and undervaluation.
Acting on the Ministry of Finance’s instructions, the Customs has given a 90- day window for the vehicles under that category to pay the required customs duty in addition to a 25 percent penalty and take delivery of their consignments.
According to the statement by the service, those whose vehicles were seized and condemned will not enjoy this grace as they have forfeited their consignments to the Federal Government.
“All vehicle owners, Importers/Agents seeking to regularize import duties on their vehicles are required to apply to the Zonal Coordinators (Zones A, B, C, D) and CAC FCT Command.
“They must submit the necessary available documents and process Vreg in line with the Federal Ministry of Finance directives for the registration of imported motor vehicles.
“Valuation and assessment of the vehicles will be carried out using the VIN valuation method.
” Import Duty and a 25% penalty shall be paid in tandem with the import guidelines, procedures, and documentation requirements for used vehicles under the Destination Inspection Scheme in Nigeria (2013) and the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023.
” Also, duty payments must be made using the Procedure Code specifically created for this exercise.
“This initiative reflects our unwavering commitment to facilitating compliance. We encourage all stakeholders to capitalize on this opportunity within the stipulated timeframe” the statement added.
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