‘’CVFFF: NIMASA Idle Funds, Zero Piracy Attacks In GoG In Five Months

By Stephen Ubanna

 Gebemisola Saraki, mister of State, ministry of Transportation, appears to have taken over effective control of the ministry with the resignation of Rotimi Amaechi, a former governor of Rivers state to pursue his Presidential ambition on the ticket of the All Progressive Congress, APC, for the 2023, general elections , which he and other aspirants lost to Asiwaju  Ahmed Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state.

 Senator Saraki, who has a mandate to Coordinate the activities of the  agencies under the ministry: Nigerian Maritime Admnistration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Nigeria Shippers Council, NSC and Nigerian Inland Waterways, NIWA, leaving Amaechi, to oversee the Nigerian Railway Corporation and construction  of the dual gauge  rail rack across the country  may have used her knowledge of the management  of the Cabotage  Vessel Financing Fund, CFFF,  which was set up by the Olusegun Obasanjo Administraton in 2003 in line with the  Coastal and Inland Shipping Act to speak out, describing ‘’it as a shame of the nation’’.

The CVFF, according to informed NIMASA , sources is a pool of  Funds derived  from  the two percent levy collection  of every contract  awarded under the Cabotage regime, which the source further disclosed ‘’covers the  shipping activities within the Land and coastal areas of the country’’. There is no gain saying the fact that the Fund was  designed to help the indigenous shipping Companies to procure ocean going vessels to compete with the foreign  shipping lines  which had dominated the nation’s shipping sector over the years.

Until he resigned his ministerial position to pursue his political ambition, Amaechi , had repeatedly assured the Leadership of Nigerian Ship Owners Association NSOA, that President Muhammadu Buhari , had given approval for the disbursement of the Funds through some selected banks operating in the country. He had said that’’ the guidelines for the  disbursement  of the Funds  have been formulated and would be presented to the National Assembly for approval , for immediate implementation but that was how far he could go.

 Indeed, She  may have followed the foot-steps of Amaechi, the immediate past minister of Transportation by feeding the   indigenous ship Owners with the information they may want to hear to show that the Buhari’s Administration is interested in seeing to the disbursement of the fund before the Administration elapses  in the next 10 months.

The Kwara state born politician,  and younger sister of  Bukola Saraki, a former Senate President and one-time governor of the state ,  has given as the main reason why the government may expedite action for the disbursement of the funds without further delay  to’’ the take- off  of the African  Continental Free  Area, AfCTA’’.


Recall that as at  July , 2021, Bashir Jamoh, the NIMASA,  Director General , had Said a total sum of  N132 billion in the local currency Accounts and  $209 million in the dollar Account.  A source told The Value News that the  amount would have been much more that that within that period not for the fact that the former President Goodluck Jonathan’s had dipped its hands into the Funds to spend out of it.

Senator Saraki had  revealed that the dollar account of the Funds has grown to $350, equivalent of N210 billion but failed to give the total sum in the local currency account as  at  Friday, June 24, 2023, fueling speculations making the rounds  that the government may be encouraged to tamper with the idle Funds to solve other impressing national issues when the need arises. An insider told the Magazine that ‘’the CVFF, grows in lips and bounds on a daily basis’’.

Nigerians are watching to see what Senator Saraki, who has given her words to work closely with the National Assembly would do between now and May29, 2023, to facilitate the disbursement of the funds since Amechi, the immediate past minister was occupied with the NRC matters that he gave little or no time to ensure that the National Assembly give approvals for the disbursement of the funds.

Many expect the minister to take up from where Jamoh, the NIMASA , Director General, who is currently holding talks with the officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN,  to make funds available  to the  indigenous ship operators who are eligible to access the funds has stopped to make the disbursement  a reality.

The initial fear in both official and unofficial quarters was that the CVFF, would be a failed project when Jamoh, the NIMASA, Chief Executive Officer, CEO, ventured into the murky waters of Nigerian politics to contest for the governorship election of Kaduna, a state which has been under Bandits-Group siege over the last seven years.  His return to agency in June 2023, may have given hope for the disbursement of the CVFF.

Senator Saraki, minister Of State, Transportation,Jomoh And Others At Naval Dockyard, VI

In a related development,  the minister of State, ministry of Transportation, may have taken advantage of her facilities visits  of  the agencies under her supervision while in Lagos, the nation’s commercial nerve centre, to also  visit the NIMASA  Command, Control and Computer Centre, C4i,  Floating Dockyard and the  vessels belonging  to the agency undergoing  dry docking  at the Naval dockyard in Victoria Island.  

Impressed with what she may have seen on ground,  may have informed why  she gave  kudos to Jamoh and his management team  for their  anti-piracy equipment and assets,  stressing that ‘’it underscores the importance the government attaches to combating  maritime crimes and ensuring  zero tolerance for illegal activities  on the nation’s maritime waters and the Gulf of Guinea’’. She had alluded to the fact that ‘’for over 28 years, the country have been receiving negative Media reports for the wrong reasons, over piracy issues at the Gulf of Guinea’’.

 The NIMASA Director General may have gladdened the heart of the minister when he disclosed that ‘’the synergy and collaboration amongst government agencies in the nation’s maritime sector since the commissioning of the multi-million dollar, Deep Blue Project in June 2022’’ had ‘’ broken he jinx’’, stressing that in the last five months there have been zero attacks of ocean going vessels in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea’’.  Vintage Jamoh.

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