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Nigerian Navy to reduce high insurance premium on ships — CNS

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The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Adm. Awwal Gambo, on Monday said that the Nigerian Navy (NN) had redoubled its effort to reduce high insurance premium for ships in Nigerian-controlled waters.

Awwal said this while he was inaugurating several projects that cut across the naval commands in Lagos State.

Some of the projects inaugurated included: a girls hostel at the Nigerian Navy Secondary School, Ojo, and blocks of 16 by two bedrooms for senior rates.

Others are 24 by one Under Training Rating’s Accommodation and renovated diving wing at the Under Water Warfare School (UWWS) among other projects.

The CNS recalled that sustained and aggressive patrols within the maritime domain significantly reduced piracy and other maritime crimes in 2022.

“This culminated in delisting Nigeria from the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) list of piracy prone countries in March 2022.

“This further led to lifting of War Risk Premium tag on Nigeria that reduced high insurance premium for ships in Nigerian-controlled waters to about $960 as against 5,000 per dollars shipment,” he said.

Awwal, however, said there were speculations that some Gulf of Guinea countries were again considered to be tagged with the War Risk Premium, due to recent developments within the region.

“It is on this development that efforts must be doubled round the clock, to maintain positive postures toward sustained intelligence driven patrols to rid our maritime space of insecurity,” he said.

The CNS reiterated that the Nigerian Navy, as the nations maritime sentinel, would not stop to ensure the domain is safer for sustainable development of the nation’s Blue Economy.

“Furthermore, the successful arraignment and conviction of Motor Tanker, HEROIC IDUN and her crew arrested last August, is an indication of the navy’s resolve to rid the nation of maritime crime.

“The crew was sentenced after a plea bargain to pay N5 million as penalty for the charge and 15 dollars million as restitution to the country.

“It is to be noted that the vessel and crew will not be released until the penalty and restitution are paid as well as public apologies made in the print and electronic media in Nigeria and Llyod’s list,” Awwal said.

He said that the projects innaugurated were initiated to consolidate on the comprehensive transformation plan, articulated to guide the Nigerian Navy towards effective discharge of its constitutional mandate.

“These infrastructural developments are in addition to already commissioned as well as ongoing projects like the reconstruction of the Base Flat Officers Accommodation in Nigerian Navy Ship BEECROFT.

“Also, a 250 metres runway at Naval Air Base, Ojo, with in-built lights and non-directional beacons, to aid training and operations in restricted visibility.

“The Nigerian Navy is cognisant of the significance of essential infrastructure and facilities within bases and barracks as they hasten necessary comfort and essential ambience to bolster security, productivity and efficiency,” Awwal said.

The CNS said that it was in this regard that the Naval Headquarters had continued to prioritise infrastructural development in the hierarchy of its preferences.

“Certainly, commissioning these structures will further ameliorate deficiencies experienced at the respective units and bases.

“I urge occupants of these structures and facilities to inculcate deliberate positive maintenance culture, so that these legacy projects will serve future generations of personnel.

“We must all be encouraged by this and many other achievements of the Nigerian Navy, regardless of unguarded comments and utterances from unpatriotic individuals,” he said.

Awwal added that preparations for the 2023 Presidential Fleet Review in honour of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tremendous support for the Nigerian Navy towards actualisation of its mandate.

“All hands must be on deck to ensure a befitting Presidential Fleet Reviewed as the administration draws the curtain,” the CNS said.

 

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ECOWAS Court nullifies ECOWAS Commission staff’s dismissal

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The ECOWAS Court of Justice has nullified the dismissal of Mr Momodu Cham, a former staff of the Commission, saying it breached Article 69 of the ECOWAS staff regulations.

Cham had filed the suit following his dismissal from his position as a Procurement Officer with the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing (GIABA), a specialised ECOWAS agency.

The applicant, a community citizen residing in Banjul, Gambia, had joined the Economic Commission for West African States (ECOWAS) and its President, as first and second Respondents, respectively, in the suit challenging his sack.

Delivering judgment, Justice Dupe Atoki, the Judge Rapporteur, held that the cessation of Cham’s salary by the Commission before the exhaustion of the appeal process was arbitrary, unlawful, null, and void.

According to Justice Atoki, the action of the Commission is contrary to Article 73(b) of the ECOWAS Staff Regulations.

The Court, therefore, ordered the Respondents to pay Cham his salary arrears and other entitlements from January 2021 to June 2021, as compensation.

It further ordered the Commission to pay Mr Cham’s salaries and emoluments from July to December 2021 as compensation for the unlawful dismissal.

“Requesting an on-the-spot response to charges without prior notice or an opportunity to prepare a defense violates procedural safeguards outlined in the ECOWAS Staff Regulations.

“The regulations are designed to ensure an Applicant’s rights are fully maintained until the Council’s final decision.

“Consequently, the summary dismissal of the Applicant by the 2nd Respondent breached Article 69 of the regulation.

“Therefore, the cessation of the Applicant’s salary and other emoluments after invoking the right of appeal is a violation of Article 73(b) of the ECOWAS Staff Regulations,” Justice Atoki held.

The Court, however, declined to grant any orders for mandatory injunctions against the Commission and reinstatement of the applicant .

The Applicant had contended at the trial that he was suspended on July 11, 2019, following a forensic audit report by Ernst and Young UK, which implicated him in irregularities related to the purchase of IT equipment for GIABA.

He said that on Jan. 26, 2021, he was summarily dismissed, and his salaries and emoluments were withheld in violation of the ECOWAS Staff Regulations.

Cham had prayed the court to grant him several reliefs, including a declaration that his dismissal was arbitrary, null, and void.

He also sought an order setting aside his dismissal and the immediate payment of his salary arrears and other entitlements from January 2021.

The applicant had also prayed for his reinstatement to his position as a Procurement Officer and compensation for costs incurred in prosecuting the suit.

The Respondents, in their defense, had however, maintained that the applicant was properly suspended and later dismissed following a forensic audit report and a subsequent query.

They had also argued that the dismissal was appropriate due to the allegations of gross misconduct, embezzlement, theft, fraud, and abuse of trust.

The three-member panel also had Justices Gberi-bè Ouattara, presiding, and  Sengu Mohamed Koroma, as a member.

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Tinubu names National Theatre after Wole Soyinka

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President Bola Tinubu has named the National Arts Theatre in Iganmu, Lagos, after Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka.

Tinubu announced this in a tribute he wrote to celebrate Soyinka in commemoration of his 90th birthday.

The tribute dated “Professor Wole Soyinka at 90: Tribute to a national treasure and global icon,” was personally signed by the President and made available to journalists on Friday.

Tinubu expressed his delight to join admirers around the world in celebrating Soyinka, adding that July 13 would be the climax of the series of local and international activities held in his honour.

Tinubu wrote, “Professor Soyinka, the first African to win the Nobel Literature Prize in 1986, deserves all the accolades as he marks the milestone of 90 years on earth. Having beaten prostate cancer, this milestone is a fitting testament to his ruggedness as a person and the significance of his work.

“It is also fitting we celebrate this national treasure while he is still with us. I am, accordingly, delighted to announce the decision of the Federal Government to rename the National Theatre in Iganmu, Surulere, as the Wole Soyinka Centre for Culture and the Creative Arts.”

Tinubu stated that Nigeria not only celebrates Soyinka’s remarkable literary achievements, but also his unwavering dedication to the values of human dignity and justice.

When he turned 80, I struggled to find words to encapsulate his achievements because they were simply too vast. Since then, he has added to his corpus with his series of Interventions, which have been published in many volumes.

“Professor Soyinka is a colossus, a true renaissance person blessed with innumerable talents. He is a playwright, actor, poet, human rights and political activist, composer, and singer.

“He is a giant best riding not just the literary world but our nation, Africa, and the world,” he averred.

According to the President, Soyinka is one Nigerian whose influence transcends the Nigerian space and who inspires people around the world, explaining that since his youth, he has been a vocal critic of oppression and injustice wherever it exists, from apartheid in South Africa to racism in the United States.

“Beginning from his 20s, he took personal risks for the sake of our nation. His courage was evident when he attempted to broker peace at the start of the civil war in 1967. Detained for two years for his bravery, he narrated his experience in his prison memoir, ‘The Man Died.’

“Despite deprivation and solitary confinement, his resolve to speak truth to power and fight for the marginalised was further strengthened.

“Our paths crossed during our struggle for the enthronement of democracy in Nigeria following the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election,” Tinubu stated.

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Tinubu sympathises with victims of building collapse in Plateau

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President Bola Tinubu receives the news of the tragic collapse of a school building, which resulted in multiple deaths and many surviving victims in Jos, Plateau, with profound grief.

His spokesman, Chief Ajuri Ngelale, in a statement on Friday, said the President described the incident as a huge loss to the nation, as well as a devastating development – too excruciating to imagine.

“The President condoles with the bereaved families, families of all the victims, and the people and Government of Plateau State.

“President Tinubu commends emergency responders, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), security agencies, and all citizens involved in the search, rescue, and resuscitation efforts.

“The President assures the people of Plateau State of his fervent support at this difficult time,” said the statement.

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