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Insecurity: EU to supply 30 boats, forensic equipment to Nigeria, others

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The efforts towards containing maritime crime in the West African region received a boost as European Union promised to deliver an array of security hardware, including 30 rigid-hull inflatable boats and forensic equipment to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) member-states.

The equipment, estimated at €5 million, is expected to help security agencies in Nigeria and 11 other coastal Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) states in combating crime and criminality.

The other beneficiaries include Benin, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea-Conakry, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Togo.

Piracy has become a big issue in the Gulf of Guinea and reduce the volume of business from Europe and other continents to the West Africa region.

The boats and other security hardware are expected to be deployed on the West Africa waterways before the end of the year as the arrangement between the EU and ECOWAS are to be concluded at the ongoing high-level maritime security seminar in Abuja.

This was indicated at a  seminar convened by ECOWAS, under the framework of the European Union-funded Support to West Africa Integrated Maritime Security (SWAIMS) project and it has in attendance representatives from all member countries of the regional body.

The Head of ECOWAS’ Regional Security Division, Col. Abdourahmane Dieng, noted that maritime insecurity has long been one of the most persistent and intractable threats to maritime communities and economic prosperity in West Africa.

According to him, turning the tide against maritime insecurity is a collaborative effort that no single country or region can tackle alone.

He said: “For this reason, ECOWAS, in conjunction with the Economic Community of Central African States formulated the Yaoundé Code of Conduct as a foundation for broad-based regional maritime security along the entire Gulf of Guinea.

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“Cognisant of this problem and its ramifications well beyond West Africa, ECOWAS launched its Integrated Maritime Strategy in 2014 with parameters for the development of the blue economy premised upon a coherent security framework.”

The EU Senior Coordinator for the Gulf of Guinea, Amb Nicolas Martinez, said the EU is a committed partner to the Gulf of Guinea region and would continue to provide extensive and targeted assistance to strengthen the critical features of the Yaoundé security architecture while cementing the long-standing relationship between ECOWAS and the EU.

The SWAIMS Team Leader, Dr. Axel Klein, explained that the boats and forensic equipment will be supplied by Portugal’s Camões working closely with the Portuguese Navy, which would also provide related training and maintenance.

“In financial terms, the delivery of RHIBs and forensic equipment worth more than €5 million is the most significant component of the SWAIMS project,” he explained.

Besides Camões, other SWAIMS implementing partners are Institut de sécurité maritime interregional in Côte d’Ivoire, Regional Maritime University in Ghana, ECOWAS’ Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
The boats and equipment which are expected to significantly enhance the capacity of beneficiary countries to enforce the rule of law in their territorial waters and adjoining exclusive economic zones will be supplied by 2024.

THE NATION

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Thugs allegedly loyal to Governor Wike attack Rivers PDP presidential campaign boss’ residence, destroy vehicles

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Political thugs allegedly working for the Rivers state governor, Mr Nyesom Wike have invaded the residence of former Rivers South-East Senator, Lee Maeba.

The house located at GRA, Phase 3 axis in Port Harcourt, Rivers State was invaded by thugs on Thursday morning.

Maeba is the chairman of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council in the state.

A source said the hoodlums, allegedly loyal to Governor Wike, destroyed many cars, including an SUV, while occupants of the house including Senator Maeba’s relations fled the scene.

It was learnt that the hoodlums also shot indiscriminately and injured some occupants of the building during the attack.

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“About 200 hoodlums loyal to Governor Wike attacked the residence of Senator Lee Maeba this morning. They destroyed vehicles and injured some occupants,” the source said.

Since Governor Wike lost the presidential ticket of the party to the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the party has been factionalised.

This followed allegations made by the governor that the National Chairman of the PDP, Senator Iyorchia Ayu manipulated the process to favour Atiku, a fellow northerner.

He subsequently asked Ayu to resign from office but the national chairman has refused to do so amid the attendant crisis in the party ahead of the 2023 general elections.

The Wike-led Rivers government earlier revoked the ownership of a landed property belonging to Maeba in Port Harcourt.

When contacted, DSP Grace Woyengikuro Iringe-Koko, spokesperson for the state police command said she wasn’t aware of the incident.

SR

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Over 100 injured in Spanish train collision

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At least 150 people have been injured after two trains collided in the Catalonia region of north-eastern Spain, emergency services have said.

The crash, which occurred around 07:50 (06:50 GMT), took place at a station on the outskirts of Barcelona.

Local media reported that the trains had been travelling in the same direction and collided while one was parked at the station.

It is unclear how the accident happened and officials have yet to comment.

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Emergency officials wrote on Twitter that the crash happened at the Montcada i Reixac – Manresa station, about 12km (7 miles) from the city centre.

Writing on Twitter, emergency services said that 150 people were “in a mild condition” and five others had been left with “in a less serious condition”.

They added that three people had been transferred to hospital.

Train traffic was briefly disrupted on several lines due to the accident, the national rail service Renfe said.

One passenger told RAC1, a local radio station, that “train was full and my carriage, which was the last one, was completely full” at the time of the collision.

BBC News
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ICPC Arraigns Rector, others over N6m fraud

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The Rector, Samuel Timi Johnson and the Acting Bursar, Werepere Martins Degbegha of the International Institute of Tourism and Hospitality, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, as well as one Yerikema Tony Tombra have been arraigned for their complicity in a Six Million Naira (N6,000,000) fraud.

The defendants were brought before Honorable Justice M.A Ayemieye of High Court 2, sitting in Yenagoa, by ICPC, on allegations bordering on ‘using office to confer corrupt advantage, conspiracy & making false statement.’

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ICPC, in a 7-count charge, is accusing the Rector and the Acting Bursar of conspiring and using their offices to confer corrupt advantage on themselves when they withdrew the above sum from the confers of the institute under the guise of spending the money on renovations of a viewing centre in Tropani Community while investigation revealed otherwise.

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