Shippers Council To Hold Conference On Port Concession

Udo ONYEKA

Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) and the Union of African Shippers’ Councils (UASC) in collaboration with United Nations Conference on trade and Development (UNCTAD) is set to hold a two-day Sub-Regional workshop and joint standing committee meeting of UASC.

The workshop which takes place at Sherathon hotel, Abuja, with the theme; “Port Concession in West and Central Africa; Impact on Economies of member states of the sub-region”, is geared towards proffering solutions to challenges facing maritime transportation in the sub-region.

 Some objectives of the conference include; appraising the state of maritime transportation in West and Central Africa vis-à-vis other regions of the world, assessing the implementation of World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreements (TFA) and issues relating to port operations, advocating for the development and maintenance of critical trade support infrastructure that could promote efficiency, competitiveness and cost reduction in carriage of goods as well as linkages to other markets.

The workshop would also scrutinize the state of Maritime Transport in West and Central Africa: UNCTAD’s viewpoint; Sealink: A Panacea to boosting intra-African Trade; charges, surcharegs and related costs of carriage of goods; Evacuation of IMO Container weighing regime Verified Gross Mass (VAM) and impact on shipping services/businesses.

Recall that UASC as a specialized organ of the Maritime Organization of West and Central Africa (MOWCA) comprises nineteen Shippers Councils and similar organizations of West and Central African countries.

In the last three years, under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Nigerian Shippers’ Council has hosted the sub-regional workshop that has gone a long way in the reduction of the incidence of transport cost on the economies of West and Central African nations.

Fayose writes again, accuses EFCC of hatred, persecution

The Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has again written the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, rejecting the commission’s request that he should report on September 20 for questioning over monies allegedly traced to his account.

The governor said the date suggested by the commission despite his letter indicating readiness to appear on October 16 was smacked of hatred, persecution and partiality.

The governor, however, said the anti-graft agency could send its investigators to meet him in his office on September 20 if it was so much in a hurry that its investigation could not wait till October 16, 2018 – the first day after the expiration of his tenure.

“Without prejudice to Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution, I will be willing to answer questions from your team of investigators should they be willing to meet me in my office in Ado Ekiti on the 20th of September, 2018 indicated in the EFCC’s letter dated September 13, 2018,” he said.

Fayose, according to a press release issued on Tuesday by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, said the letter written by the EFCC to the Customs and other agencies, directing them to put him on their watch list and arrest him if he attempted to leave Nigeria before the expiration of his tenure raised serious question about the impartiality, independence or neutrality of the commission.

Reminding the EFCC that he had on December 19, 2007, willingly presented himself for investigation at its Lagos office after his first tenure, Fayose added that there was nothing new or strange in his September 10 letter, which he said, had been received and treated in a bad taste.

The September 14 letter read, “As a responsible citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who currently enjoys immunity under Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution, it would amount to a breach of the constitution which I swore to uphold if I appear in your office on any date earlier than 16th October, 2018. If done otherwise, it will set a wrong precedent for the constitutional institution that I represent.

“I carefully chose that date (October 16, 2018) being the next day after the expiration of my tenure upon which the immunity I enjoy will lapse to avoid any form of insinuation and was in good faith.

“While drafting my response to your letter of 14th September, 2018 my attention was drawn to your widely publicised letter of 12th September, 2018 to the Comptroller General, Nigeria Customs Service and similar agencies, directing them to put me on the watch list and arrest me on an imagination that I might leave Nigeria to escape investigation. It has finally put in context, your commission’s hurriedly deleted online statement vide EFCC Nigeria @OfficialEFCC a day after the Ekiti governorship election that, ‘The parri is over; the clock of immunity turn apart, and the staff broken. Ekiti Integrated Poultry Project/Biological Concepts Limited N1.3bn fraud case file dusted off the shelves. See you soon.’

“Your commission by its actions, no doubt, has presumed my ‘guilt’ even prior to the commencement of “investigation.” This raises a serious question about the impartiality, independence or neutrality of the commission in the matter. I feel harassed, intimidated and embarrassed by the imputation of crime and the innuendos of criminality underlining your correspondence which has been maliciously circulated widely. This in all implies a case of persecution rather than prosecution.

“While I have handed a copy of your letter to my solicitors for a careful study and advice, let me state here for the records, that there is nothing about me or my antecedents, as a long-standing public figure to justify the commission’s action. I have never been a coward or a criminal.

“You may wish to recall that in 2007, precisely on the 19th day of December, I willingly presented myself for EFCC investigation at your Lagos office. There is therefore nothing new or strange in my letter of 10th September, 2018 which has been received and treated in bad faith and taste. I thought I was assisting due and fair process of law.

“Notwithstanding the demonstrated hate and prejudice, I reaffirm my willingness to make myself available to answer questions within my knowledge on the day you may indicate after the expiration of my term of office on the 15th October, 2018. If for any good reasons, your investigation cannot await the date suggested in my earlier letter, without prejudice to Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution, I will be willing to answer questions from your team of investigators should they be willing to meet me in my office in Ado Ekiti on the 20th day of September, 2018 indicated in yours.

“Save as above, I will appreciate any date convenient to you after 15th October 2018, otherwise, expect me on the 16th October 2018 at 1 pm as earlier stated.”

APC, PDP taken over by impunity – Gemade

Image result for Senator Barnabas GemadeA former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Barnabas Gemade, lambasted the PDP and the All Progressives Congress, noting that both parties had been taken over by impunity and it was necessary for him to leave.

Gemade, who stated this on Tuesday, said that the same reasons that made him leave the PDP for the APC had made him to also leave the APC for the Social Democratic Party.

The senator representing Benue State North-East Senatorial District had earlier on Monday defected to the SDP, and collected an expression of interest and nomination forms from the party.

Gemade returned the form at the SDP National Secretariat on Tuesday, saying that “the issues that drove him from the PDP were the same he met in the APC.”

He said he left the PDP and also dumped the ruling APC because both parties were not practising internal democracy.

Gemade said both parties lacked respect for the rule of law as enshrined in the nation’s constitution, a reason, he explained, necessitated his exit from the parties.

He said, “When I ran the PDP, it was an excellent party. Thereafter, impunity took over and that is why so many of us left and went to other parties. I also went to the APC. Those problems cropped up again and it was necessary to move. I have removed myself.

“If you don’t condone something, and it is something you cannot remove from where you are; you remove yourself. Politics is all about times and seasons. The reason is that so many issues had bedevilled a lot of parties.”

The Benue State senator said poor governance had led to insurgency and lack of insecurity in his state and other parts of the country, coupled with lack of internal democracy in the APC and the PDP.

The SDP National Publicity Secretary, Alfa Mohammed, said that with Gemade joining the party, the senator now became the New Minority Leader in the Senate.

I’ll turn around Nigeria’s economy in two years –David Mark

Image result for Senator David MarkA presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator David Mark,  has promised to turn around the economy of the country within two years if elected President of Nigeria in the 2019 general elections.

Mark, a former Senate President, made the promise on Tuesday at the PDP secretariat in Lokoja while on a campaign visit to solicit votes of the state delegates to the presidential primaries in October.

He pledged to do many things differently to revamp the economy saying, “a lot of research had been done on the economy and if given the chance, he would bring them to bear and turn around things.’’

Economic growth under his watch, he said, would experience tremendous change within 700 days, which would be physical rather than based on paper statistics.

He said, “I will do so many things differently. When we put our processes in, the woman who is selling groundnuts by the roadside will feel the impact.

“It is not by mere statistics or indices that we churn out. We want the ordinary people on the streets to feel the impact of the economy on their lives.

“We have young men and women who are neck dip into research and understand the economy of this country.”

On his acceptance by the electorate in the core northern part of the country, Mark said he had equally worked for candidates from the core north and that now it was their turn to support him.

“I think the core north should support us because we also have supported the core north. It is a give and take thing and we are talking about Nigeria.

“We are not talking about a section of this country. If I don’t have a national support, to be honest with you, I would not want to be a President of this country.

“I want to be President of a united and indivisible country called Nigeria. Call it core north, core south or core whatever, wherever they are, let them support me because we too have supported them,” he said.

On consensus candidate, the former Senate President said that would be left for the aspirants and the party to decide.

“Whatever we do, the most important thing is that whoever emerges should emerge through a process that is fair, transparent and credible; whether it is by consensus or by primaries,” he said.

Buhari to Osun: vote APC to shut out corrupt leaders

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday urged Osun State residents to save the state from returning to the “dark days”.

Leading top members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to a mega rally for the party’s candidate in Saturday’s governorship election, Gboyega Isiaka Oyetola, the President urged the residents to renew the party’s mandate in the state.

He told the crowd that the APC leaders were in the state to celebrate the eventful eight years of Governor Rauf Aregbesola.

He said: “We are here to thank Almighty God for the successful 8 years tenure of the APC Government in this state under the leadership of His Excellency, Rauf Aregbesola, the Omoluabi of Yorubaland.

“We are also here to pray to Almighty God to safeguard and consolidate on this through Isiaka Gboyega Oyetola.

“You are fully aware of this great partnership story. Oyetola is a partner, a trusted advisor, a brother and a friend to Governor Aregbesola. They have seamlessly worked together for many years serving you.

“By electing Oyetola as your Governor, you are guaranteeing the consolidation of these successes.

Eight years after Governor Aregbesola took the mantle of leading the business of government in Osun, the state now has excellent infrastructure for primary and secondary schools. The school that I commissioned in 2016 is one of the best schools in Nigeria. But more work remains to be done. Oyetola is ready for work.

“Osun State has empowerment programmes to support entrepreneurs. You had school construction and rehabilitation programmess to improve the quality of education. You had hygiene, sanitation and health care programs to improve the quality of life. You had security and outreach programs that enhanced peace and stability in your communities.”

Farmer jailed for stealing 13 crates of eggs

Forgery: Court dismisses Ikuforiji's 'no-case-submission'A 28-year-old farmer, Amisu Bello, is to serve six months in prison after a Magistrates’ Court in Minna, Niger, convicted him of stealing 13 crates of egg.

Bello was docked alongside one Shefiu Yahaya on a two-count charge of theft and receiving stolen property, contrary to Sections 288 and 317 of the Penal Code Law.

The Police Prosecutor, Emmanuel Ogiri, had told the court that one Isa Azeez, the Manager of IK Farms, Gidan Mangoro, Minna, reported the matter at the Kpakungu Police Station on Sept. 17.

Ogiri said that Bello went to IK farm and stole 13 crates of eggs and when he was arrested, he confessed to having previously stolen 12 crates on five different occasions.

He also said that police investigation revealed that Bello was in the habit of selling the eggs to Yahaya, the second accused person.

When the charges were read to them, Bello pleaded guilty and begged the court for leniency while Yahaya pleaded not guilty.

In her ruling, the Magistrate, Ramatu Adamu, sentenced Bello to six months in prison with an option of a fine of N10, 000.

Adamu also ordered him to pay N17, 000 to the complainant as compensation.

He, however, discharged and acquitted Yahaya of any wrongdoing after establishing the fact that he bought the eggs at their market value without the knowledge that they were stolen.

APC can’t protect Benue’s interest – Ortom

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, on Monday, said he left the ruling All Progressives Congress because the party failed to arrest leaders of Miyeitti Allah Kautal Hore.

The governor said the ruling  party could not protect the interest of the people of Benue State

A statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Information and Communications Technology, Tahav Agerzua, quoted the governor as saying this during a meeting with Peoples Democratic Party ’s stakeholders in Oju and Obi local government areas of the state.

Agerzua said Ortom “came to the conclusion after his cries for the arrest and prosecution of leaders of various Fulani groups, including Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore,  who threatened to invade the state and carried out the threat, fell on deaf ears.”

Ortom explained that after he signed the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Bill into law in May 2017, leaders of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore addressed several press conferences at which they pledged to mobilise their kith and kin across the world to invade the state.

Ortom stated that his petitions to the relevant authorities to preempt the invasion were ignored just as his request for the arrest of those who claimed responsibility for the subsequent attacks and killings.

He said, “Leaders of the APC at the national level with their collaborators in the state have made him a target for elimination on account of the Ranches Law which the people have insisted should not be repealed.”

Osun election: NYSC warns politicians against attacking corps members

The National Youth Service Corps has warned politicians and their supporters against attacking corps members that will be used for the September 22 governorship election in Osun State.

The Coordinator of the NYSC in Osun State, Mr Emmanuel Attah, gave this warning in Ede on Monday at the closing ceremony of the orientation course for 2018 Batch B corps members deployed in the state.

Attah said the Federal Government placed much value on the lives and wellbeing of all corps members and would not allow anybody who attacked any of the youths to go without facing the full wrath of the law.

He said the NYSC would not tolerate attack on corps members, adding that they had been trained in the role expected of them to play during the election.

He stated that the corps members were ready to discharge their  duties with passion and patriotism because the election was one of their duties to the nation.

The coordinator said,   ‘’NYSC will not take it lightly with any individual or group of persons who attempts to intimidate or harm any of our corps members in the name of politics. They are our children and we must protect them.

“My advice  to  politicians is to  stay away from our corps members because  they will not listen to them. They will not demand or take bribe from anyone and we have instructed them to report any attempt to compromise them to security agencies.”

The Osun State Governor, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, also urged the corps members that would be used in the conduct of the election to ensure that the votes of residents counted at their polling units.

He also advised them to discharge their duties without fear of favour, saying they should emulate those who had done the duty before them and their contributions to the development of the nation’s democracy.

Aregbesola who was represented by the Commissioner for Empowerment and Youth Engagement, Mrs  Folake Adegboyega, told  the corps members to shun violence and corruption and should not allow any politicians to use them to manipulate the election.

He said, “Ensure that you abide by the advice given to you by seasoned officers of the scheme.

“Shun violence and corruption; ensure that the vote of every citizen at the polling units counts. Do not allow yourself to be used by anyone to perpetuate rigging during the process.”

The governor also advised   them to accept their postings in good faith and avoid frivolous travelling.

He also asked them to contribute their quotas to the development of the state and the nation.’’

2019: Saraki, Ribadu, Bafarawa disagree over Buhari

The President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki; a former Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa and an ex-Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu,  on Monday, differed on the performance of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Ribadu, in an interview with journalists in Abuja, said he would not contest against Buhari in 2019 because he was doing a good job.

But Saraki, who spoke in Abeokuta, lashed out at Buhari, saying he was presiding over a divided country.

Justifying his support for Buhari, Ribadu, who contested the 2011 presidential election on the platform of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, said it would be in the interest of the country for the President to win the 2019 election.

He noted that those who had a passion for Nigeria’s development were aware of the great job Buhari was doing.

Responding to a question on whether he was sacrificing his presidential ambition for Buhari’s second term, he said, “You can say it is part of it.

“Of course, that is a good reason. When you agree with a leadership, it is okay that you step aside and allow good things to happen and I am comfortable with that.

“Today, Buhari is our President and I agree with him totally and I am comfortable with the leadership he is giving this country.”

He described the anti-corruption war as the most difficult job to do, adding that “it takes a man of courage and integrity to make a success of it.”

On the refusal of the Senate to confirm the appointment of the acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, Ribadu said, “I don’t see any reason why they will not confirm him and allow him to do the work properly. I totally agree with the Federal Government in allowing him to do this work.”

Buhari presiding over divided country, says Saraki

But the Senate President stated that Nigeria was more divided under Buhari. He said that Nigeria required a leader who would give every Nigerian a sense of belonging.

He said this on Monday while addressing the Ogun State party executive council of the Peoples Democratic Party led by the Sikirulahi Ogundele faction.

He was in the state to sell his candidacy ahead of the PDP presidential primaries slated for early October.

Saraki said, “Today in Nigeria, we are here at a crossroads. The country is divided and to unite the country, we need someone who will make everybody feel a sense of belonging.

“Today, there is no sense of belonging in some parts of the country.

“We need a President that rules and represents Nigeria. We want a President where everybody will say they belong here.

“Where there is no unity, there can never be progress. After unity, we can talk about development and progress.”

Saraki, who explained that a lot of Nigerians were suffering today due to leadership’s inability to fix the economy, said it was difficult for any leader to give what he or she did not have.

He said the new world order from Asia to Europe was the enthronement of visionary, dynamic and energetic presidents, qualities which he said he possessed.

He said, “We need a visionary leader. It is time for us in Nigeria to have a visionary leader. We need a man that has the ability and that can perform.”

Also, Bafarawa said the All Progressives Congress government had damaged the economy.

The presidential aspirant said that there was a need for the country to implement the abandoned 2014 confab report in order to tackle various challenges facing the country’s development.

Bafarawa stated this on Monday during his visit to the leaders of a pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, in Akure, Ondo State capital. The meeting was held at the residence of the leader of the group, Chief Reuben Fasoranti.

He said, “When we get to power, we are going to take our time to do the damage control.  We correct where mistakes have been made.

“We shall de-emphasise over-dependence on oil and look towards agriculture, tourism, mining and manufacturing as potential drivers of our economy.”

On restructuring, Bafarawa promised to implement the 2014 National Conference report, saying that “when we are talking of restructuring, we are talking about development.”

Saraki, urges Nigerians to vote for visionary leaders

The Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, on Monday urged Nigerians to vote leaders not according to sentiments, but capacity and vision to bring about change.

Saraki, a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential aspirant, made the statement in Lagos while addressing party members at the party secretariat.

The visit to the party secretariat was in continuation of his nationwide tour of state chapters to garner support for his aspiration.

Saraki was accompanied on the visit by Sen. Dino Melaye; a former minister, Alhaji Muhammed Wakil; and former governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Idris Wada.

A former Presidential Adviser on Media and Publicity and Director-General of Saraki Campaign Organisation, Dr Doyin Okupe, was also with him.

The Senate President said that great nations, including the Asian Tigers, were built by visionary leadership, saying Nigeria would be better if entrusted in capable hands.

“We should stop using sentiments to vote for our leaders because a man cannot give what he does not have.

“Most of us here read about great countries including the Asian Tigers; all their achievements do not happen by chance or luck.

“They happened because there are visionary leaderships in those countries.

“So, it is time for Nigerians to vote for leaders who have the capacity, the courage, and knows what he wants to do for his people,” he said.

Dividends of Democracy
Saraki said he was seeking to lead the country out of the need to serve and deliver the dividends of democracy.

The Senate president said he had the capacity, the experience and the youthfulness to turn the country around.

He said that he was the best and the only sure one to deliver out of all the presidential aspirants across the parties.

Saraki decried the killings in parts of the country and other challenges in the country, saying it was the responsibility of all citizens to address them.

He promised to make the issues history, if elected to lead the country.

On restructuring, Saraki said there was the need for powers to devolve to the states to make them more viable.

He said the over-concentration of powers in the centre had stifled the development of the other federating units.

The Senate president expressed concerns that most aspirants who promised restructuring could not deliver, saying only somebody who could pursue the right legislative action and has the political sagacity could implement it.

“A lot of people come and tell you here that they can do restructuring.

“Restructuring is not one thing only a president can do, because it requires laws to be changed.

“Implementing restructuring requires somebody with the political sagacity to carry people along with him to the destination,” he said.

Saraki urged party delegates to see him as part of them and vote for him at the national convention.

He said Lagos had always remained with him, having spent his school years in the state and even married an indigene of Lagos.

The Senate president urged party members to congratulate themselves in advance, promising to do his best to ensure PDP wins Lagos.

Melaye, who also spoke at the event, told the party members that Saraki remained the best out of the aspirants seeking to lead Nigeria.

Okupe similarly appealed for support for Saraki, saying he was the best man for the job.

The PDP Secretary in the state, Prince Muiz Dosunmu, commended Saraki, saying the chapter aligned with his vision to reposition the country.