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India restricts seafarers from working on Nigerian waters

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Following the increasing rate of piracy and hijacking of the crew for ransom in Nigerian waters, especially in the Gulf of Guinea, Indian Directorate General of Shipping in Mumbai, has issued a restriction on all seafarers who are Indian nationals, banning them from working in vessels in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea.

In a circular sent to all shipping owners, shipping companies and other practitioners which was signed by the Director-General of Shipping in India, Capt Anish Joseph, the state reportedly observed that there was an increasing trend in the number of incidents taking place inside the various coastal states jurisdiction in the GoG.

It also alleged that from two recent incidents, it had become clearer that foreign nationals, especially Indian seafarers, were being selectively targeted during piracy and armed robbery incidents in the GoG.

Apart from Nigeria, the Indian Shipping Directorate also instructed manning agents not to engage any Indian seafarers on coastal vessels trading solely within the ports of GoG including Benin, Ghana, Togo, Cameroon, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

The circular read in part, “For the attention of shipowners, ship managers, shipping agents, RPSL agents, ship masters, seafarers, charterers, shipbuilders, Ship Breakers Association, Classification Societies recognised by Directorate General of Shipping, non-exclusive survey companies, insurance companies, coastal state including administrations of union territories/islands and Maritime Boards.

“Piracy/armed robbery attacks in the Gulf of Guinea are becoming more violent with a greater tendency to attack, hijack and rob vessels as well as kidnap crew, in the waters of Gulf of Guinea.

“These attacks having also been reported up to 170 nautical miles from the coast. In many of these incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, pirates have hijacked the vessel for several days, ransacked the vessel and stolen part cargo (usually gas oil). Additionally, in these past attacks, ships’ crew members have also been injured, kidnapped and in certain occasions taken ashore for ransom.

“As per International Maritime Organisation promulgated reports of attempted attacks by pirates and armed robbers via the Global Integrated Shipping Information System, the sum total of the number of incidents of piracy and armed robbery in West Africa, as reported to IMO in the 10-year period from January 1, 2009, to  December 31, 2018, was 555.”

It added, “The number of acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships in West Africa as per GISIS covering the period 1 January to 31 December 2018 was 81 and reflected a comparable increase from 49 incidents reported in 2017. During these 10 years, 2018 also showed the highest in the number of episodes, with three ships reportedly hijacked and 86 crew held hostage in that year.

“Accordingly, all RPSL agents are instructed to not engage any Indian seafarers on coastal vessels trading solely within the ports in Gulf of Guinea (i.e. Benin, Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea). All concerned stakeholders are also advised to take note of the information provided in this advisory and act accordingly.”

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We lack authority to deregister political parties – INEC

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The Independent National Electoral Commission said it lacked the constitutional power to deregister any of the existing 91 political parties in the country.

The INEC Federal Commissioner in charge of Nasarawa, Kogi and Kwara States, Malam Muhammed Haruna, made this known on Monday in Lokoja while declaring open a post-election review meeting on the last general elections.

Haruna said that the clamour by Nigerians for a reduction in the number of registered parties could only be done through an amendment of the Constitution.

He agreed that the provisions in the 1999 Constitution that state that parties must be national in outlook and have headquarters in Abuja had led to unexpected problems but explained that INEC was helpless.

The Commissioner advocated a consensus among stakeholders to resolve the issue, explaining that constitutional amendment was the only way out.

Haruna identified logistics as the major challenge the INEC encountered in the process of conducting the last general elections, saying that steps would be taken to prevent a re-occurrence.

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Lecturer queried over alleged sex scandal

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The management of Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti led by the acting Vice-Chancellor, Prof Olubunmi Ajayi, on Friday issued a query to a lecturer of the institution, allegedly fingered in a sex-for-marks scandal.

Head, Directorate of Information, EKSU, Bode Olofinmuagun, said this in a statement in Ado Ekiti on Saturday, adding that the institution “would not condone any act of sexual harassment in the university.”

He also said, “The attention of the management of EKSU has been drawn to a video that has gone viral on an alleged sex scandal involving one of its lecturers.

“The video allegedly fingered one Dr O. O. Aduwo of the Department of Accounting.”

He added that the institution had “as such, issued a query to the concerned lecturer to defend himself against the allegation, as a first step in the spirit of due process.

“Thereafter, a panel of investigation would be constituted to get to the root of the matter, while the findings of the panel would be made public. The general public is hereby assured that management would continue to be transparent and would not allow such a matter that could smear its good image to be swept under the carpet.”

Students alleged that the lecturer went to a female student’s residence to have sex with her in exchange for marks, unknowingly for him that other students had laid in wait at the place to embarrass him.

According to some students who preferred anonymity, the lecturer was about to begin the “immoral act” when other students appeared, dragging him out and assaulted him.

A video that had gone viral about the alleged sex scandal showed the lecturer in towel, pleading for mercy from the students who mocked and tortured him, as he struggled to resist being drawn out of the room into the public glare.

But a student said on Saturday that the incident took place in the lecturer’s house, adding that it was “a set-up”, allegedly “to teach him some bitter lessons.”

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Global Warming: Anambra students, others protest against detrimental practices

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Students of different Schools in Anambra State in partnership with Live Mother and Child initiative and Mind Savers Youth Initiative and Nigeria Coalition of Eco-Social Research (NCEHR), yesterday, protested devastating effects of climate change in Nigeria, especially in the South east.

The students were drawn from Community Secondary School Enugwu-Agidi; SUSU College, Nkpor; Lighthouse Academy, Okija, Golden Star Secondary School, Amichi, as well as Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Medical Student’s Association (COOUMSA), Awka, Anambra State.

The protesters highlighted several practices detrimental to the environment, which according to them, included: deforestation, poor waste management, use of fossil fuels that increase carbon footprint.

One of the protesters and member, Nigerian working group of Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research (NWG-CCGHR), Dr. Ngozi Joe-Ikechebelu, appealed to citizens to practice greener lifestyles in order to save the planet, just as she asked government to create and implement policies that would aid in the global fight against climate change.

Ikechebelu, who addressed journalists in Onitsha, expressed joy that Nigerian students were committed to reminding the government on the state of climate emergency in the country.

She said, “The protest taking place in different countries of the world is part of the global school students’ decision to demonstrate, through an international movement, called Friday For Future (FFF).

“In Nigeria, the FFF was organised by the NWG-CCGHR which comprised of Nigerian students at the University of Victoria (UVic) and British Columbia.”

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