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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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My hubby is not a rapist, says Omodele Fatoyinbo

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Wife of the Senior Pastor of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly, Pastor Omodele Fatoyinbo has denied claims of her husband, Biodun Fatoyinbo, raping Busola Dakolo.

According to her, it is impossible for her husband to be a rapist.

Mrs. Fatoyinbo speaking during the church service on Sunday said “My husband is not a rapist. Even if he was an unbeliever, he would not be a rapist.”

Her husband, however, took the microphone from her before she could finish her speech, and said: “the elders are handling the matter.”

No sermon was delivered during the service that rounded up one hour before the normal time service closes.

Busola Dakolo, wife of popular musician, Timi Dakolo, during the week accused Fatoyinbo of having carnal knowledge of her when she was sixteen years old, but the Pastor has since denied the allegation.

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JUST IN: Masked DSS operatives, police, army surround COZA

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Operatives of the Department of State Services wearing hooded masks,  the Nigerian Army, the Nigeria Police Force and officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps have surrounded the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly in Guzape, Abuja,  PUNCH reports

Our correspondent, who is currently at the scene,  observed at least 50 security operatives with patrol vehicles on either side of the road on Nasir el-Rufai crescent where the church is located.

It was gathered that although security officials are usually deployed in the church every Sunday, the number of operatives today is higher than usual.

The deployment of security operatives may not be unconnected with threats by several rights groups to protest at the church following allegations of rape levelled against COZA senior pastor, Abiodun Fatoyinbo.

Mrs. Busola Dakolo, the wife of popular musician, Timi Dakolo, had on Friday accused Fatoyinbo of raping her 20 years ago.

The allegation caused a storm over the weekend with groups calling for the arrest of Fatoyinbo while some of his supporters have stayed by his side.

The COZA founder has, however, denied all the allegations levelled against him.

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Fatoyinbo rape scandal: Groups plan to stage protest today

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A coalition of human rights groups will on Sunday (today) stage a protest to the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly to demand the stepping down of the church’s senior pastor, Biodun Fatoyinbo, to allow a probe following a rape allegation against him by Busola, photographer and wife of musician, Timi Dakolo.

This is coming as the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria is set to meet that of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria over the matter.

A statement by the Special Assistant, Media and Communications, to the CAN President, Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, said the association would get to the root of the matter.

The statement read in part, “The Christian Association of Nigeria, as a body, condemns any case of rape in strong terms. It doesn’t matter who is involved. It is ungodly, wicked, and reprehensible. However, on the allegations against Pastor Abiodun Fatoyinbo, we have no details about the matter other than what we are reading on the social media. This is not reliable and credible evidence enough to jump into a conclusion.”

Convener of the planned protest, Dr Princess Olufemi-Kayode, said the pastor must step down to allow the allegations to be investigated.

The sexuality minister/sex and intimacy coach said the coalition would stage a protest at the Lagos and Abuja branches of the church.

She said, “We are planning a peaceful protest to the church as women advocates and citizens of Nigeria. It is necessary for the leadership of the church to take action. This is not the first person making such accusation against the man. It is only proper for him (Fatoyinbo) to step aside while the allegations are investigated. He was not the one that was supposed to sign the statement released by the church yesterday (Friday). That letter should have been signed by the chairperson of the governing board of the church, or the person next to him in hierarchy. We cannot just write this off as propaganda against the body of Christ. This is actually about a particular individual. We are not saying we are the judge and jury, but we want these allegations to be properly looked into.”

Also reacting to the issue, the president, Women Arise and rights activist, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, said it took courage to go public about such issues.

She stated, “Everyone who speaks up is a woman/man of courage no matter how long they have carried the heartache. We support all victims of domestic violence and rape is top on the list. We will do our best in this case alongside other well meaning professionals already doing a great job supporting the family. However, every case has three sides; my side, your side and the right side. Every accused deserves his right to be heard.”

Odumakin also said beyond the sensation of the current situation, all stakeholders must join hands to find a solution to the rape scourge, maintaining that her organisation and its allies would lead the conversations in the coming days and months.

However, a member of COZA and supporter of the embattled pastor, who spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity, said that the case would be resolved in court.

He said, “I have made my position on social media and I don’t want to say anything at this point. It is a legal matter which is already in court. Let’s see how it goes.”

A Senior of Advocate of Nigeria, Tayo Oyetibo, also stated the matter could still be pursued in court.

He said, “There is no statute of limitations in criminal law. She (the accuser) knows best. She knows the facts of the case. Whoever makes the allegation is the one that would provide the evidence.”

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