By Chiazo Ogbolu
Lagos, July 9, 2020 (NAN) Mr Chidi Ilogu, President, Nigerian Maritime Law Association (NMLA), says criminalisation of seafarers when there are issues in a vessel has psychological implications.
Ilogu made the assertion at a Seafarers Global Conference Webinar with theme: “Seafarers Welfare:Are we Missing the Boat?”, organised by the Mission to Seafarers Lagos (MTSL) on Thursday.
He added that such situation, which is part of the challenges faced by seafarers, arose when a maritime dispute or robbery took place, leading to a vessel being arrested.
According to him, this exposes seafarers to a long stay in the port and considering the hazardous nature of their jobs, they cannot travel home and this affects them psychologically.
“A vessel can also be arrested and detained by the Navy when it is carrying crude oil without authorisation and this can take up to six to nine months before it is resolved and seafarers at times charged for it.
“Collective arrest is done by a security official even when there is a piracy attack and this exposes the seafarer to many hazards,” Ilogu said.
Mr Ibrahim Jibril, Director of Maritime Services, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), said that unfortunately, activities of pirates greatly affected seafarers in which some were alleged to work with the pirates.
According to him, seafarers are arrested with the pirates without charging them to court and this is not good for their mental health due to the nature of their job.
He added that to restore their confidence, the new Anti-piracy Law would bring succour to seafaring and seafarers in the country.
Discussing on issues faced by seafarers on international scene, Mr Ben Bailey, Director of Advocacy International Centre, MTS London, said that lack of communication was the biggest challenge seafarers faced.
He noted that restriction during the COVID-19 had a drastic impact on their mental health, urging that repatriation should be approached with much sensitivity.
Prof. Ayodele Coker, a Clinical Psychologist, Lagos State University College of Medicine, noted that welfare of a seafarer was in tandem with the mental health.
According to him, seafarers are faced with depression, loneliness, abandonment, suicide and others and these affects their mental health and leads to disorder.
“Twenty five per cent of seafarers suffer from depression; 15 per cent commits suicide in a year and so they need psychological interaction.
“The medical personnel on the ship should be aware of the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and policy makers, shipowners should ensure that there is reduction in the stigma associated with mental disorder,” he said.
Mrs Margret Orakwusi, President, Shipowners Forum, said that lack of safety of seafarers on our waterways was what bothered them, urging government to look into the search and rescue missions.
“The welfare of seafarers is a give and take situation. When they are at sea, they are our problems and we have lost seamen due to piracy attacks; we are now bearing the burdens of their families.
“It is the responsibility of government to provide safe environment for business to thrive; security and safety that affect activities of seamen,” she said.
Mr Aminu Umar, Managing Director, Sea Transport Group, said that during the COVID-19, there were issues with changing crew due to the difficulties experienced in testing the crew to ensure they had no virus before boarding or disembarking the vessel.
The Chairman of the Mission to Seafarers Lagos (MTSL), Chief Adebayo Sarumi, called for support not only from regulatory organisations but also from private organisations to ensure that seafarers were given the needed support. (NAN)
Edited By: Vivian Ihechu/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)
Stakeholders want urgent FG intervention in aviation industry
They made the call in interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria on Saturday in Abuja.
According to them, aviation sector accommodated many businesses and employed thousands of workers, whose jobs were being threatened by the pandemic.
They said that interventions by the Federal Government would go a long way to help many airlines to get back to their feet.
Mr Abayomi Agoro, President of the Nigeria Air Traffic Controllers`
Association (NATCA), said that the sector needed urgent bailout to recover from the effects of COVID-19.
“Aviation is one of the sectors affected most in Nigeria and globally.
“In airports , you have fuel marketers, caterers, ground handling companies, security personnel, restaurants, small shops, lounges and others.
“They have stopped because there are no flights.
“We should prepare for post COVID-19 recovery and stabilisation of the entire system,” he said.
The Max Air Executive Director, Mr Harish Manwani, said that intervention by the Federal Government would cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to him, in many countries, loans and relief packages have been offered to airlines to be able to sustain their operations and maintain their aircraft as safety should not be compromised.
“I believe that the Federal Government is working very hard to come up with a relief package for airline operators to assist the sector to come back to its feet.
“There are various things going on in the ministry, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria and other bodies of government to ensure a decontaminated environment at all airports and on all aircraft in Nigeria.
“I have a strong belief that the aviation sector will come back soon, but we should have all the safety requirements in place,” he said.
Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Ijeoma Popoola (NAN)
Democracy Day: Stakeholders urge Plateau Govt. to improve health facilities
Stakeholders in the health sector in Plateau have asked the State Government to improve the state of health facilities and manpower, as the nation celebrates Democracy Day.
The stakeholders, in separate interviews with News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Jos, decried the condition of facilities in the state’s healthcare sector, saying they were mostly obsolete and non-functional, causing hardships for patients and healthcare personnel.
A civil servant, who pleaded anonymity, said he brought his father who had partial stroke to a hospital in Jos and struggled for one month to get mobile oxygen and access to other diagnostic equipment.
“For almost a month now, we have been asking for mobile oxygen for our patient and it has not been provided for. Equipment such as citi scan has not been operational for a while now,” he said.
Also, the Chairman, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in Plateau, Dr Titus Dajel, expressed concern over the condition of some health facilities in the country, saying it was in dire need of improvement.
Dajel urged the government to implement the World Health Organisation (WHO) standard of allocating 15 per cent of a country’s budget to the health sector in order to equip public health facilities to handle diseases and pandemics such as COVID-19.
“Although WHO recommends one doctor per 600 persons in Nigeria, “we have one doctor to between 10,000 and 22,000 persons,” he said.
In his reaction, the Plateau Commissioner for Health, Dr Nimkong Lar, said the case of inadequate number of manpower in the health sector had been presented to Gov. Simon Lalong, and that a pronouncement on the issue would soon be made.
He said the State Government was working toward getting MRI machines and Citi scans for the state, through a Public Private Partnership (PPP), but that the arrangements had not been finalised.
Also commenting on the state of the health sector, Dr Kenneth Ozoilo, President, Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) said with the situation of the current COVID-19 pandemic, it was apt to rebuild the health sector.
“Medical personnel experience shortage of work materials and shortcomings in working environment,” Ozoilo said.
He said the pandemic called for a revisit of the review on their remuneration and the implementation of the hazard allowance for successful combat of the disease and to prevent brain drain.
He said medical personnel were also in danger as there was inadequate supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which was exposing them to more risks of being infected.
Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu and Abdullahi Yusuf (NAN)
APC crisis: Stakeholders seek Buhari, Tinubu’s intervention
Some chieftains of APC have called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the party National leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to intervene and resolve the crisis rocking the party in some parts of the country.
The group, consists of 13-APC stakeholders, led by Mr Shaliu Mustapha, gave the advice in a statement in Abuja, on Thursday.
Mustapha described members of the group as leaders of legacy parties that merged to form APC.
He urged the President and Tinubu to ensure inclusiveness in the party, anchored on decency and respect for party members and the rule of law.
“We expect a politics devoid of imposition, dictatorial tendencies, and disregard of alternative views.
“It is time for Asiwaju Tinubu to demonstrate his democratic leadership.
“It is time he gives life to the institutionalisation that the APC stands for,” Mustapha said.
According to him, 2023 in APC must be about strengthening internal democratic rules.
“It must be about ensuring that all APC leaders respect internal rules as provided in the constitution, and it must be about fairness and justice for all members,” he said.
Mustapha also lauded the political energies pulled together by the President and Tinubu to form the APC.
“The two leaders– President Buhari and Asiwaju Tinubu– had at some point been victims of political injustices, and reckless abuse of power, at different levels.
“Asiwaju, for instance, was a victim of military authoritarianism.
“Lest we forget, under the military rule, Asiwaju was forced out of the country, because it was a matter of life and death,” Mustapha recalled.
The group leader added that Tinubu, as then Governor of Lagos State, was also “at the receiving end of civilian despotism under former President Olusegun Obasanjo-led PDP Government.
“As a sitting governor, the allocation of Lagos State, when he was in his second term as governor (2003-2007), was withheld by the central government in flagrant disobedience to a Supreme Court judgment,” he noted.
According to Mustapha, all well-meaning democrats resisted such executive atrocity and brazen acts of impunity to the last man.
“As for our dear President, three times he contested for President.
“Nevertheless, he stood firm for fairness, equity and justice, the key pillars that further underlined the formation of the APC.
“And once the APC was formed, President Buhari submitted himself to internal democratic processes, without attempting to manipulate the process of candidate selection.
“His respect for internal processes without manipulation made it possible for the historic APC Convention of Dec.10, 2014.
“This was acknowledged by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, one of the Presidential aspirants (then), defeated by President Buhari, as the most credible and transparent election to be conducted by any political party in Nigeria’s history.
“Since 2015, President Buhari has so far concentrated his energies, and rightly so, on building an enduring framework for good governance and the turning around of the national economy,” he said.
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Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)
Stakeholders urge governments to involve rural communities in SDG implementations
Some stakeholders in Delta has urged all tiers of governments to involve rural communities in project implementation to avoid waste of resources and ensure functionality of such projects.
Mrs Angella Onwueze, a resource person, at a forum organised for Local Government Chairmen in Delta, made the call in a presentation titled “Localising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Delta State,” on Wednesday in Asaba.
In her presentation entitled, “Sustainability of SDG Pojects: Our Roles and Responsibilities,” Onwueze underscored the need for involving communities at the project design state to ensure sustainability.
She said to ensure sustainability of projects, community user groups should be established while local governments should be committed to deploying manpower for the maintenance of such projects.
The resource person said further that there should be adequate advocacy and sensitisation at the community level on the benefit of such projects as well as a feedback mechanism on their condition.
Onwueze listed the challenges faced by SDGs projects to include lack of participation and commitment of the people, lack of sense of ownership by the people and lack of maintenance of projects by the communities.
In her presentation, another resource person, Augusta Impact, said localising SDGs meant implementing projects programmes in local perspectives and evolving monitoring strategies.
Impact said that localising the SDGs entailed measuring progress at the local levels for achieving Agenda 2030-SDGs, targets and indicators.
“It also means engaging and commiting the communities and other local stakeholders for the realisation of the Agenda 2030-Sustainable Development Goals,” she stated.
She said that local government chairmen were the key drivers in localising SDGs who must involve multi-stakeholders and key influencers at the local levels to ensure sustainability.
She listed the stakeholders to include departments/units, community leaders, private sector, religious leaders, organised unions and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), among others.
Earlier the Senior Special Adviser (SSA) to the Governor on SDGs, Dr Andy Ilabor, said the forum was organised to intimate local government chairmen in the state with the need to maintainin SDGs projects sited in their areas.
Ilabor noted that SDGs were global in nature, but they should be localised so as to achieve the objectives.
The SSA said that the Delta Directorate of SDGs had determined to begin implementation of the SDGs early to avoid the evil that befell the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
He told the council chairmen that the bulk of work in implementing SDGs lied with them, and requested for desk officers at the local government areas to enhance communication between them and SDGs.
Reacting, the Chairman of Aniocha North Local Government Area (LGA), Mr Oseme Chukwugozie, also called for proper need assessment of projects before siting them in communities.
Similarly, the Oshimili South Council Chairman, Osadebe Uchechukwu, called for senergy between the interventionist agency and local governments in siting projects in rural communities.
Edited By: Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)