Benin Republic Withdraws Globacom’s Operating Licence; Italian court orders trial of Shell, Eni over Malabu oil deal; Auditor-general reveals source of $43m Ikoyi cash: Report; PDP speaks on emergence of splinter faction: Fresh PDP; FG Approves Kaduna-Kano Road & Nnamdi Azikiwe Mausoleum; EFCC lied about Innocent Chukwuma – Innoson Motors; PENGASSAN suspends nationwide strike; Navy decorates first female nurse to one star general; Be ready to serve in theatre of operations – FOC Navy . . .
Benin Republic’s telecommunications regulator has withdrawn the operating licence of Nigerian mobile telecoms company, Globacom’s local unit in a dispute over new terms, according to a document seen by Reuters. The regulator, ARCEP-Benin, said it took the decision after negotiations with Glo Mobile Benin to renew its licence broke down earlier this month after the company refused new conditions imposed by the government.
Officials with the parent company, which is owned by Nigerian billionaire, Mike Adenuga, were not immediately available for comment. The ARCEP document did not say what the government’s new conditions were, but a source close to the regulator, who asked not to be named, said they included an increase in the cost of the licence. Glo Mobile Benin said it had over 1.6 million subscribers in 2015, according to the most recent statistics available on ARCEP’s website.
An Italian court has approved the prosecution of Royal Dutch Shell and Eni in the controversial sale of OPL 245 oil block. OPL 245 is located in an extremely rich oilfield in the Niger Delta, estimated to worth half a trillion dollars. The sale of the block has been replete with allegations of graft amid lawsuits. A judge in Milan ordered that Claudio Descalzi, an Eni executive, and his predecessor, Paolo Scaroni, should be tried on allegations of impropriety in the deal. The trial is expected to commence on March 5.
But Eni has distanced its directors from any misdeed in the purchase of the lucrative oilfield. “Eni’s Board of Directors has reaffirmed its confidence that the company was not involved in alleged corrupt activities in relation to the transaction,” the Italian firm said in reaction to the court ruling. “Eni expresses its full confidence in the judicial process and that the trial will ascertain and confirm the correctness and integrity of its conduct.
OPL 245 was awarded to Malabu in 1998 at a time the beneficial owners were Dan Etete, then minister of petroleum resources who approved the licence, and Mohammed Abacha, son of the head of state at the time. Their identities as the beneficial owners were later publicly revealed after the death of Sani Abacha, which effectively terminated his military regime. It was revoked in 2001 by President Olusegun Obasanjo and awarded to Shell same year, but was revoked again in 2006 and returned to Malabu following an out-of-court settlement.
President Goodluck Jonathan finally restored the block to Malabu in 2010 in a $1.3 billion deal. But the deal has become a subject of litigation as Shell and ENI paid $1.1 billion to acquire the field from Malabu and $210 million to the federal government as signature bonus. Both payments were made to a federal government account, leading to suspicion that Shell and ENI did not want to be directly involved with Malabu because of corporate governance issues. Italian prosecutors believe Shell and ENI executives knew government officials were going to be bribed from the payments for their roles in getting the deal approved.
The huge cash found at a residence in Ikoyi Lagos was taken from Nigeria’s joint venture (JV) cash call account at the American bank, JP Morgan Chase, according to the report of the auditor-general of the federation seen by TheCable. NNPC currently runs six JVs — with Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL), Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPNU), Nigerian Agip Oil Company Limited (NAOC), Elf Petroleum Nigeria Limited (EPNL) and Texaco Overseas Petroleum Company of Nigeria Unlimited (TOPCON).
Also, there was no documentation for the official release of $289,202,382 to the the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) — which claimed the $43 million found at the residence was the balance from the money it received for “covert projects”. Beyond a request sent to President Goodluck Jonathan by Ayodele Oke — who was the NIA director-general at the time — the normal processes of approval and authorisation for the release of government funds were not followed. The CBN normally credits NIA’s account at the apex bank, but it was instead directed to release the money in cash to Oke, according to the audit report. In April 2017, the EFCC said it had discovered $43 million, £27,000 and N23 million stashed away at a flat in Ikoyi after a tip-off from a whistle blower.
The Peoples Democratic Party on Wednesday said it remained united, unfazed and focused, hours after some party members floated a new ‘faction’ within the party. About five individuals were reported to have announced the birth of ‘Fresh PDP’ in Abuja Wednesday afternoon, marking the latest in a series of riveting disputes that trailed the party’s national convention penultimate Saturday.
Messrs Franklyn Edede, Hassan Adamu, Obi Nwosu, Olusola Akindele and Godwin Duru reportedly unveiled their ‘factional’ headquarters in Asokoro, in a move reminiscent of the 2013 ‘New PDP’ revolt that saw the party lose its prominent members to the All Progressives Congress (APC).Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP spokesperson, dismissed the individuals and their threat in a statement Wednesday evening.“The PDP is completely unperturbed by the comical act of some individuals who make outlandish claims in the media regarding our party.”
The federal government has approved road projects which include Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria to Kano roads at the cost of N155.7 billion. This was disclosed by the minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola after a marathon federal executive council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential Villa on Wednesday.
Fashola also said council approved the completion of Police Service Commission headquarters in Abuja. According to him, the project was approved for variation to enable its completion over the next six months. He noted that the initial cost was N3.486 billion and it has been increased to 3.925 billion, a variation of N439.113 million. He said council also approved Nnamdi Azikiwe Mausoleum in Anambra State. The project was started but not completed by previous administration. “Council approved the additional funding to complete it from N1.496 billion to N1.953 billion”.
Innoson Motors has rejected claims that its founder and CEO, Innocent Chukwuma, was arrested because he ignored an invitation from the EFCC. It said the businessman was never invited prior to his arrest and dared the anti-graft agency to present evidence of invitation to Nigerians. Cornel Osigwe, a spokesperson for Innoson Group, debunked the account of the EFCC and challenged the EFCC to bring out any evidence to support its claim that Mr. Chukwuma was invited or earlier granted administrative bail by the commission.
Mr. Osigwe blamed the GTBank for orchestrating the arrest of his principal, a claim the bank denied. Mr. Chukwuma and GTBank have been locked in a prolonged legal battle over claims by the industrialist that the bank made arbitrary deductions in his bank accounts. The bank countered the allegations, saying it was Mr. Chukwuma who allegedly falsified bank and shipping documents to obtain tax waivers from the Nigerian government. Mr. Chukwuma was arrested Tuesday.
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has suspended its nationwide strike. Fortune Obi, national public relations officer of the association, said the industrial action was suspended following the intervention of Ibe Kachikwu, minister of state for petroleum resources, and Chris Ngige, minister of labour. The union embarked on the strike to protest the sacking of some employees of NECONDE Oil Limited.
The PENGASSAN spokesman said the management of NECONDE oil Limited and its legal consultants have offered a letter of recall to the sacked employees of the company. Obi said that the company’s management also agreed to allow the union to exist in the company. According to him, the union also agreed to resolve anti-union posture by other indigenous companies and marginal field operators. Obi said both parties would meet in the second week of January 2018 to look at the issues.
The Nigerian Navy on Monday in Lagos, decorated the first female nurse in Nigeria to rise to the rank of a one star general with the rank of Navy Commodore. The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Naval Training Command, Rear Admiral Obi Ofodile while decorating the newly-promoted Commodore Christie Amara Opara (photo: below), urged not to relent and strive harder in the discharge of her duties. Commodore Opara was decorated to the enviable rank of one star general alongside, Commodore Ezete, Commodore A.A Adesanya and Commodore T.A Amoo.
The FOC said that, promotions come with greater expectations and responsibilities and as such, the newly promoted Commodores should put in her best as Nigerians are expecting much from them. Admiral Ofodile said that promotion in the Nigeria Navy is not easy, especially in consideration that some other people who may have done well were not considered because of the available vacancies. He urged the officers to prepared to tackle the most difficult task, especially as the country confronts various security challenges in most state of the federation.
The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Naval Training Command, Rear Admiral Obi Ofodile said after decorating the first female nurse in Nigeria, Commodore Christie Amara Opara, and others, that the officers must also be ready to serve in theatre of operations urging them to put in their best wherever they find themselves. The FOC also decorated Lieutenant Monisola Ademoluti to the rank of Lieutenant Commander (Major equivalent) and Lieutenant Commanders Abdullahi Sajoe and Abubakar Ezra to the rank of Commanders (Lieutenant Colonel equivalent in the Nigerian Army). The FOC said the officers deserved the promotion , as they have worked hard to meet the requirement for their promotions and that they should prove to the force that it was not a mistake promoting them.
Commodore Opara was enlisted in the Nigerian Navy in 1991 as a member of Direct Regular Course 91 and was commissioned the same year. Since joining the force, the officer had scored many first, being the first female officer in the Nigerian Navy to go Peacekeeping operation and the first set of nurse to earn the rank of one star general. She is presently the only female general in both Imo and Abia States.