Top maritime stories of 2015

We saw some big stories in the maritime industry in 2015.At Ships & Ports Online, a new annual record for visitor traffic was set with more than two million page views from almost every country in the world with the top ten being Nigeria, Kenya, United States, United Kingdom, Netherlands, India, Indonesia, Russia, Philiphines and Canada in that order.

There were several stories in 2015 to keep us busy and excited all year round. It is our pleasure to remind you of the Top 10 Stories of 2015. Enjoy.

 

Buhari’s victory: NIMASA DG, Akpobolokemi resigns, seeks exile in The Philippines

NIMASA DG, Akpobolokemi resigns, seeks exile in The Philippines

This was an April fool’s day joke published by Ships & Ports but it turned out to be our most popular post of 2015. The joke went viral. And it seems like a prophecy come true. As it turned out, Akpobolokemi did not resign but was sacked by Buhari. He was said to have jumped bail and was re-arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). He is now being prosecuted for series of financial crimes by the anti-graft agency.

The original story reads: Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi has neither resigned nor sought asylum in The Philippines over the victory of General Muhammadu Buhari. This is only April fool’s day joke. Hilarious.

Related Stories

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Drama as EFCC whisks away ex-NIMASA boss, Akpobolokemi from court
EFCC alleges plot to frustrate Akpobolokemi’s trial
EFCC arraigns Akpobolokemi, 9 others for allegedly stealing N3.4bn from NIMASA


Ali goes tough, sends DSS after corrupt Customs officers

Ali goes tough, sends DSS after corrupt Customs officers

Published September 15, 2015, the story reads:

Customs Comptroller-General, Hameed Ali has requested for the files of serving Customs officers found to have been involved in corrupt practices in the past with a view to determining their fate over the next few days.

Ali, who formally resumed duties as the new Customs boss on Thursday said that President Muhammadu Buhari gave him a three-point mandate to reform, restructure and boost Customs revenue.

“The mandate he has given me are three basic things: go to Customs, reform Customs, restructure Customs and increase the revenue generation, simple. I don’t think that is ambiguous, I don’t think that is cumbersome. It is precise and I believe that is what all of you are here to do,” Ali told Customs officers in Abuja on Thursday.

In fulfilling the mandate, SHIPS & PORTS DAILY gathered that Ali, over the weekend, in addition to demanding for the files of top officers of the NCS especially those from the ranks of Comptrollers and above, also reportedly enlisted the support of the Department for State Security (DSS) to investigate top Customs officers especially Customs Area Controllers, Assistant Comptroller-Generals and Deputy Comptroller-Generals to track down their wealth and property across the country.

“It goes beyond sacking them. Many of them will forfeit illegally acquired property to government in addition to losing their jobs. Some will also be prosecuted. It is the beginning of a new era in Customs. It can no longer be business as usual,” a source at the Presidency told SHIPS & PORTS DAILY.

The source said President Buhari was particularly concerned about high level of corrupt in the NCS and the perception that “Customs is one of the most corrupt agencies in the country”.

It was also gathered that a mass purge is imminent in the Service as part of efforts to carry out the President’s directive.

It was also gathered that the past Customs Comptroller-General, DikkoAbdullahi’s tenure will be probed with a view to recovering lost revenue.

Ali has also reportedly directed the implementation of zero tolerance for smuggling, underdeclaration and Customs duty evasion.

“Any importer or agent found culpable for any of these acts going forward will be prosecuted. No more slap on the wrist as it used to happen in the past,” a Customs officer who did not want his name in print told SHIPS & PORTS DAILY.

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6 countries turn down Alison-Madueke’s asylum request

6 countries turn down Alison-Madueke's asylum request

Nigerian’s former Petroleum Resources Minister, who is currently battling breast cancer, make major headlines in 2015. This story published on April 14, while she was still in office, attracted good audience. It reads:

No fewer than six countries have already refused to grant an asylum request by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, the Business Council for Africa (BCA) said in its just-released monthly report, noting that about US$ 1 trillion is the latest estimated figure of the looting of the Nigerian treasury between 1960 and 2005 alone.

The report, dated March 2015, focused extensively on Nigeria’s general elections. It said the notorious Minister, whose impunity is known to have been closely-protected by President Goodluck Jonathan, will be coming under the microscope for the first time in her Ministerial career.

“Given her reputation, it comes as no surprise to learn that 6 countries have already refused to grant her asylum to live in their countries as she now wishes to leave Nigeria at the earliest possible opportunity,” it said.

BCA recalled President-elect MuhammaduBuhari lamenting that the rest of the world looks at Nigeria as the home of corruption, one where stealing is not corruption but a way of life, and that his administration will pursue all public offices and individuals who are believed to be guilty of corruption.

It observed that despite an earlier promise, it is now understood that Buhari’s anti-corruption fishing net will include Ministers currently serving under President Goodluck Jonathan. Alison-Madueke’s departure from Nigeria is likely to be followed by several other PDP elders, party members and supporters as well as some former Government officials, as Buhari’s anti-corruption drive will be far-reaching.

“It will be very interesting to learn in the coming months exactly how far back in Nigeria’s history his administration will go in the pursuance of those who have robbed Nigeria of US$ 1 trillion, which is the latest estimated figure of theft from the Nigerian treasury between the period 1960-2005. Given that President Jonathan’s administration is considered the most corrupt of any of its predecessors, that figure is going to be considerably magnified, but whether the new President will wish to pursue former Heads of State is a matter of interest and considerable debate to Nigerian observers. It is this subject that is primarily responsible for Buhari’s success in winning the election as well as his campaign promises to eradicate Boko Haram, revive the economy and rebuild Nigeria to make its position as the number one country in Africa.

While BCA agreed that the March/April 2015 were “the most credible elections in Nigeria’s history”, it said they could not be called the most incorruptible.

On the contrary, it referred to them as the worst because of the amount of money that the PDP so freely and openly spent on trying to secure the re-election of Mr. Jonathan.

“The stories and reports from throughout the 36 States of the amount of money distributed by the PDP to elders, rulers, church leaders, unions and youth leaders amongst others in an endeavour to favour the voters towards the PDP has backfired badly,” the report said.

BCA said that if the 2011 elections were considered bad, the 2015 elections will undoubtedly go down as the most corrupt in Nigeria’s history, certainly since 1999, as the amount of money being distributed as bribes primarily by the PDP so very openly would readily confirm.

It reported that since November when campaigning began, President Jonathan and General Buhari during their travels made no fewer than 109 promises of what they intend to achieve if given the mandate in the presidential election.

“President Jonathan’s campaign continued to hinge on his party’s Transformation Agenda and the achievements of his Government in the last 4 years, particularly in the agricultural sector, job creation and the empowerment of women,” the report said. In that regard, it credited Jonathan as having achieved a great deal during his tenure.

It said it was however Jonathan’s failures – rampant corruption, insecurity, inability to eliminate the Boko Haram insurgency, failure in such sectors as the economy, and power in particular, and the overall feeling that he was ruled rather than led – that have cost him his re-election bid.

The report also stated that in the 2015 elections, up to 250 Nigerians lost their lives, describing that deplorable record as speaking volumes for the control achieved by the Police at the campaign rallies by the two main candidates.

It described the cost of the campaigns of the two main parties as “simply staggering”, noting that by the first week of March, Buhari had spent some N332.58 billion as compared to the expenditure of President Jonathan which amounted to N1.05 trillion.

“This is without taking into account the cost of other expenses for such items as campaign rallies, where the PDP has spent N1.06 billion against MuhammaduBuhari’s APC’s N595.08 million, and clearly demonstrates the desperate lengths that the PDP have gone to in order to try and secure the re-election of President Jonathan.”

Related News

I’m not seeking asylum anywhere, says Alison-Madueke
Diezani Alison-Madueke: Scaring the golden face of a lost era
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NIS, CIS, Stars Academy missing as NIMASA releases list of accredited maritime academies

NIS, CIS, Stars Academy missing as NIMASA releases list of accredited maritime academies

This July 21 article generated significant interest of our readers to rank it among the top 10 articles of 2015. See its details below:

 

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, (NIMASA), has said it would not recognize certificates issued by any of the private maritime academies it does not accredit.

This came few months after the Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM) declared private maritime academies in Nigeria illegal over non-accreditation by the apex maritime regulatory body.

A document released by the agency and obtained exclusively by SHIPS & PORTS DAILY stated that the agency would not recognize any certificate issued by the maritime academies not accredited by it.

According to the document, “In pursuance of the international convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) 1978 as amended and the Merchant Shipping Act 2007 which aimed to promote safety of lives and property at sea and protection of training, certification and watch keeping for seafarers, NIMASA is committed to the maintenance of the highest seafarer training examination and certification standards and will therefore take action necessary to ensure that this commitment is met.

“As part of the measure towards the maintenance of standards in training, examination and certification, the Agency recently concluded the reappraisal of approved training institutions and centres in Nigeria.”

The recognized maritime training institution according to NIMASA are the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron; College of Fisheries, Victoria Island, Lagos; ChalkinsMaritme Safety Centre; Elkins Marine, Joe Marine, Coastal Marine; Tolmann Allied Services; Mantral Maritime Centre, IzizcoObosco Institute and Falck Prime Atlantic.

The agency warned that only maritime institutions stated above are recognized and accredited by the agency to offer maritime education and training in line with the provision of the NIMASA Act 2007 and the STCW Convention.

Curiously, such big names as Certified Institute of Shipping, Nigerian Institute of Shipping and Stars Maritime Academy were conspicuously missing on the list of accredited maritime training institutions.

Related Stories

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NIMASA staff jubilate over Akpobolokemi’s April fool joke

NIMASA staff jubilate over Akpobolokemi’s April fool joke

This story ranks number five on the popularity chart. NIMASA and Akpobolokemi seems to have enjoyed a lot of media attention last year. The full story, published April 2, reads:

There was wild jubilation at the offices of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) yesterday over an April fool’s day joke posted by Ships & Ports.

Many staff of the agency were seen in groups in wild celebration at the various units and departments of the agency. The fear of Akpobolokemi seems to have suddenly disappeared and they were not bothered about being discovered “talking ill of the DG”.

“We have been liberated. Our change has come. SaiBuhari, sai Baba,” one of the staff of the agency at its 4 Burma Road, Apapa Headquarters told SHIPS & PORTS DAILY.

Akpobolokemi has been accused of series of misdemeanours and impropriety in his five year reign at the agency.

Most of the workers also accused him of “suppressing and oppressing” them.

“We are happy because now there will be a new government and he will be fired,” one of the excited workers said.

NIMASA spokesman, Isichei Osamgbi could not be reached for comments.

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Judge withdraws from former NIMASA DG, Akpobolokemi’s suit
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NIMASA: EFCC files criminal charges against Akpobolokemi, Agaba, Warredi, 7 others

NIMASA, EFCC files criminal charges against Akpobolokemi, Agaba, Warredi, 7 others

It is back to Akpobolokemi and NIMASA again. This shows the enormous interest in issues related to corruption. You can read the details again below:

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is set to commence the prosecution of the former Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) over alleged financial crimes he committed while in office.

The anti-graft agency, in charge sheet number FHC/L/496C/C5 dated 20th November 2015, filed a 30-count charge against the embattled former NIMASA boss. Akpobolokemi was charged alongside the current Executive Director (Maritime Safety & Shipping Development) of the agency, Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba and six other serving Directors and Assistant Directors namely Ekene Nwakuche, Felix Bob-Nabena, Captain Warredi Enisuoh, Governor Amachee Juan, Ugo Frederick and TimiAlari. Two companies – Al-Kenzo Limited and Penniel Engineering Services Limited – were charged along with the accused persons.

Count One of the charge, filed at the Federal High Court Lagos reads: “That you, Patrick Ziadeke Akpobolokemi, Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba, EkeneNwakuche, Felix Bob·Nabena, Captain Warredi Enisuoh, Governor Amechee Juan, Ugo Fredrick, TimiAlari. AI-Kenzo Ltd and Peniel Engineering Services Ltd on or about the 20th day of December, 2013 in Lagos, within the Jurisdiction of this Court did conspire amongst yourselves to commit an offence, to wit: Conversion of the sum of N1, 151, 214,000.00 (One Billion, One Hundred and Fifty One Million, Two , Hundred and Fourteen Thousand Naira), property of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, which sum was derived from stealing and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.”

Count Two states: “That you, Patrick Ziadeke Akpobolokeml, Captain Ezekiel BalaAgaba, Ekene Nwakuche and AI-Kenzo Ltd, Felix Bob-Nabena, Captain Warredi Enisuoh, Governor Amechee Juan, Ugo Fredrick, TimiAlarl, Al-Kenzo Ltd and Peniel Engineering Services Ltd between the 23rd day of December, 2013 and the 19thday of December, 2014 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Court did commit an offence, to wit Conversion of the sum of N861, 500,000.00 (Eight Hundred and Sixty One Million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira Only) property of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(1} of the Money laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.”

Count Three reads: “That you, Patrick Ziadeke Akpobolokemi, Captain Ezekiel BalaAgaba, Ekene Nwakuche and AI-Kenzo Ltd, Felix Bob-Nabena, Captain WarrediEnisuoh, Governor Amechee Juan, Ugo Fredrick, Timi Alarl, Al-Kenzo Ltd and Peniel Engineering Services Ltd between the 7th and 15th day of July, 2015 in Lagos within the Jurisdiction of this Court did commit an offence to wit Conversion of the sum of N235,380,000.00 (Two Hundred and Thirty Five Million Three Hundred and Eighty Naira Only) property of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency” while Count 30 states “That you Patrick Ziadeke Akpobolokemi, Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba, Governor Amechee Juan and EkeneNwakuche on or about the 23rd of December 2013. In Lagos, within the Jurisdiction of this Court did commit an offence to wit. Conversion of the sum of  N94,300,000.00 (Ninety Four Million, Three Hundred Thousand Naira) property of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.”

The charge sheet was signed by EFCC prosecutors Festus Keyamo and Rotimi Oyedepo Iseoluwa. The case is awaiting assignment to a judge.

It would be recalled that Akpobolokemi was sacked by President Muhammadu Buhari as Director General of NIMASA on July 16. He has since his sack been under

investigation for alleged financial misappropriation by the EFCC and the Department of State Security (DSS).

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New Customs CG, Ali resumes office

New Customs CG, Ali resumes office

It took Ali about a month to resume after he was appointed Customs Comptroller-General. Little wonder his resumption gained a lot of traction. The 2-paragraph report, published September 3, reads:

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Profile of the new MD of NPA, Sanusi Lamido Ado Bayero

Profile of the new MD of NPA, Sanusi Lamido Ado Bayero

He was an unpopular Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authroity (NPA) but the profile of Sanusi Ado Bayero generated enough interest to rank it among our 2015 to 10 maritime stories. The details are reproduced below:

 

Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Ado Bayero, who assumes the position of Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) today, is the first child of the immediate past Emir of Kano, late Dr. Ado Bayero.

Sanusi Lamido Ado Bayero contested to succeed his father in June 2014 but lost to his cousin and former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.

He started his working career as a lecturer in the Kaduna State Polytechnic and later moved on to become State counsel in the Ministry of Justice Gidan Murtala Kano. He served as the Legal Adviser/Company Secretary of Kano State Investment and Properties. He has distinguished himself in service to his community in several capacities.

He was Director General, Kano State Council of Chiefs, Director General Special Duties in the Kano State Government, and District Head/Council member Kano Emirate Council.

He was also the permanent Secretary Kano State Ministry of Information, Youths and Culture.

Sanusi Lamido Ado Bayero also served as Chairman of City Walls & Gates; Director of Briscoe Nigeria Limited and International Energy Insurance Plc.

Ado Bayero attended Ecole International De La Langue Francoise, Paris where he obtained a diploma in French, and a diploma in Law from the Institute of Administration, Kongo, Zaria. He obtained an LL.B from the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria in 1983 and BL from the Nigerian Law School in 1984.

As a member of the Kano Royal family, he holds the traditional title of Ciroman Kano.

He is legal practitioner and Principal Partner of Lamido & Co.

He speaks English, French, Arabic and Hausa.

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Dikko heads political office holders pay review committee

Dikko heads political office holders pay review committee

This is a June 24 article, which also generated significant online traffic. You can read the full story all over again below:

 

The Comptroller General of Customs, Dikko Abdullahi will lead the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) committee to review the salaries and allowances of political, public and judicial office holders. This is even as the committee would soon call for public presentation of memoranda as it has commenced sitting.

Spokesman of the Commission, Ibrahim Mohammed, said the memoranda would enable Nigerians contribute their views on the subject to ensure that the final result represents the people’s wish on the salaries and allowances of public office holders.

There have been growing concern over the huge salaries and allowances earned by Nigerian public office holders, especially federal lawmakers.

Nigerian lawmakers are reputed to be the world’s highest paid.

The Chairman of the RMAFC, Elias Mbam, had, during the inauguration of the pay review committee, asked members to consider the provisions of the Remuneration Act, 2008, which stipulates salaries and allowances for political, public and judicial office-holders, and come up with appropriate recommendations for a new pay package for them.

Mbam had reminded the Adhoc committee to take into consideration the prevailing economic situation in the country and ensure that their recommendations are in line with the drive of the present administration to cut cost and reduce government recurrent expenditure so as to save funds for more pressing development issues.

Specifically, the committee was asked to carry out a comprehensive review of the current law on salaries and allowances with a view to identifying areas of wastages and abuses; examine the implementation of the monetisation policy by government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and come up with appropriate recommendations on remunerations that would reflect the work political, public and judicial officers do.

The RMAFC, Mbam explained, has the constitutional responsibility to undertake periodic reviews of the remuneration packages as my become necessary to take care of current economic realities in the country; advise governments at all levels on monetisation policies as well as generate cost of living indices for the purpose of revision of allowances, among others.

In carrying out the assignment, the committee is expected to carry out wide consultations among all critical stakeholders in the economy, including all arms of government at all levels, national and state assemblies representatives, state and local governments, professional groups, organised labour, academia, media and the general public to capture the views of all Nigerians.

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Drama at NIMASA as Jauro displaces Obi as Acting DG

Drama at NIMASA as Jauro displaces Obi as Acting DG

The intrigues in NIMASA after Akpobolokemi was fired sounded like a scene out of Hollywood. It was another case of the agency being in the media for the wrong reasons. Please refresh your memories with the details, which were published on July 24 and reproduced below:

 

After barely three days in the saddle, it turned out Barrister CalistusNwabueze Obi is not the “most senior officer” at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and hence should not have taken over from Patrick Akpobolokemi as Acting Director General, SHIPS & PORTS DAILY can authoritatively reveal.

Consequently, the most senior officer, the Executive Director Finance and Administration, Baba HarunaJauro has displaced Obi and has formally assumed the position of NIMASA’s Acting Director General/Chief Executive Officer.

Jauro’s victory did not come easy as he had to formally lodge a protest against the erstwhile DG to the Federal Ministry of Transport and Office of the Head of Service of the Federation.

Curiously, NIMASA has not issued any press release to intimate the public of the new development.

It is still unclear why Akpobolokemi chose to hand over to Obi on Tuesday despite protests by Jauro.

While Obi, Jauro and the Executive Director, Maritime Safety and Shipping Development were all appointed by former President Goodluck Jonathan same day – 24th July 2012; Jauro claims his seniority from the fact that he resumed duties at the Maritime House 24 hours ahead of the others.

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Obi hands over to Jauro, pledges loyalty to new Ag. DG
NIMASA: How Jauro displaced Obi to emerge new Acting DG
‘Staff morale was very low, due processed abused before I took over NIMASA’

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