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Controversy trails Buhari’s approval of ExxonMobil, Seplat assets acquisition deal

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… As Upstream Regulator’s CEO rejects assent

…Ministerial assent completes transfer deal — Official

By Uthman Salami

The Chief Executive of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) Engr Gbenga Komolafe has disagreed with President, Muhammadu Buhari over the approval of acquisition of ExxonMobil shares by Seplat Energy Offshore limited.

The regulatory Agency’s boss insisted, contrary to the president’s earlier pronouncement, that the decision to decline assent to the transfer of ExxonMobil shares to Seplat Energy Offshore Limited remained.

Recall that the President, Muhammadu Buhari had earlier consented to the acquisition of the shares of Exxon Mobil Nigerian unit by Seplat Energy Limited.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, in a statement, said the President gave his approval in his capacity as Minister of Petroleum Resources, and in consonance with the country’s drive for Foreign Direct Investment in the energy sector.

Exxon Mobil had entered into a landmark Sale and Purchase Agreement with Seplat Energy to acquire the entire share capital of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited from Exxon Mobil Corporation, Mobil Development Nigeria Inc, and Mobil Exploration Nigeria Inc, both registered in Delaware, USA.

“Considering the extensive benefits of the transaction to the Nigerian Energy sector and the larger economy, President Buhari has given Ministerial consent to the deal.

“The President, in commitment to investment drive in light of the Petroleum Industry Act, granted consent to the Share Sales Agreement, as requested by the parties to the transaction, and directed that the approval be conveyed to all the parties involved.

“Exxon Mobil/Seplat are expected to carry out operatorship of all the oil mining licenses in the related shallow water assets towards production optimisation to support Nigeria’s OPEC quota in the short term as well as ensure accelerated development and monetization of the gas resources in the assets for the Nigerian economy.

“President Buhari also directed that all environmental and abandonment liabilities be adequately mitigated by Exxon Mobil and Seplat.”

While speaking exclusively with a national Newspaper (not this paper), Komolafe said: “The Commission as the Upstream Regulator under the Petroleum Industry Act is fully vested with the powers to deal with such issues and the Commission has communicated its position to ExxonMobil months ago.

“It’s purely a regulatory issue. There hasn’t been a change and the status quo remains and the Commission operates purely in line with the provisions of the PIA,” he added.

A leading official  in Seplat Petroleum expressed joy and thanked all stakeholders for their support. He added that what Seplat needed has been achieved with the Ministerial consent.

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Hardship: FG kicks off N100bn consumer credit scheme

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…Civil servants to benefit in first phase

By Grace Olatundun

The Federal Government of  Nigeria has kicked  off the N100 billion Consumer Credit Scheme for Nigerians as a tool to alleviate the escalating economic hardship in the country.

In a press statement on Wednesday by the President’s spokesperson, Ajuri Ngelale, he disclosed that interested Nigerians are expected to visit the portal of Nigerian Consumer Credit Corporation before May 15, 2024.

The President noted that the “consumer credit serves as the lifeblood of modern economies, enabling citizens to enhance their quality of life by accessing goods and services upfront, paying responsibly over time. It facilitates crucial purchases, such as homes, vehicles, education, and healthcare, which are essential for ongoing stability and the pursuit of their aspirations.

“Individuals build credit histories through responsible repayment, unlocking more opportunities for a better life. The increased demand for goods and services also stimulates local industry and job creation.”

The President stated further that every hardworking Nigerian should have access to social mobility, with consumer credit playing a pivotal role in achieving this vision.

“The Nigerian Consumer Credit Corporation (CREDICORP) achieves its mandate through the following: Strengthening Nigeria’s credit reporting systems and ensuring every economically active citizen has a dependable credit score. This score becomes personal equity they build, facilitating access to consumer credit, Offering credit guarantees and wholesale lending to financial institutions dedicated to broadening consumer credit access today and Promoting responsible consumer credit as a pathway to an improved quality of life, fostering a cultural shift towards growth and financial responsibility.

“In line with the President’s directive to expand consumer credit access to Nigerians, the Nigerian Consumer Credit Corporation (CREDICORP) has launched a portal for Nigerians to express interest in receiving consumer credit.

“This initiative, in collaboration with financial institutions and cooperatives nationwide, aims to broaden consumer credit availability.

“Working Nigerians interested in receiving consumer credit can visit www.credicorp.ng to express interest. The deadline is May 15, 2024.

“The scheme will be rolled out in phases, starting with members of the civil service and cascading to members of the public,” the statement read.

Recall that two months ago, a presidential spokesman, Bayo Onanuga, announced that the Federal Executive Council had given the nod for the establishment of the Consumer Credit Scheme.

He said the President’s Chief of Staff, Femi Gbajabiamila, will lead a committee that includes the Budget Minister, Attorney-General, and Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Finance to make the scheme a reality.

In March, the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service Chairman, Zacch Adedeji, said the Nigerian government would unveil its proposed N100 billion consumer credit loan in a few days.

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EFCC goes after PtoP operators, hands over 14 forfeited properties to Enugu Govt

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The Economic and Financial Crimes  Commission (EFCC) has commenced a clampdown on users of Peer to Peer platforms for foreign exchange transactions.

Speaking at a meeting with media executives in Abuja on Tuesday, Chairman of the EFCC, Mr Ola Olukoyede disclosed that the EFCC,  in its bid to ensure the safety and stability of the foreign exchange market, has uncovered a new fraudulent scheme called P to P (peer to peer) trading scheme.

The platform, according to him, is operating outside  the official banking and financial corridors with more than 300 (three hundred) accounts linked to it already frozen by the EFCC.

He reaffirmed the commitment of the Commission to the economic growth and development of the country,  promising that the EFCC would not relent in the exercise of its mandate.

He also revealed that the Commission has recovered more than N120 billion from fraudsters within six months and secured more than 1300 convictions.

Meanwhile, the EFCC has also handed over 14 properties initially forfeited to the Federal government to the government of Enugu State.

The transfer of the properties to Enugu State governor, Dr Peter Mba was performed by the EFCC Chairman at the corporate headquarters of the Commission.

Speaking before the brief handover ceremony, Olukoyede who disclosed that the road to the forfeiture dated back to 2007, stated that event spoke of the mutually beneficial relationship  existing  between the federal government and states.

“What we are witnessing today testifies to a symbiotic relationship that should exist between the federal government and the state governments. The essence of our meeting here today is for us to handover properties that were forfeited to the federal government, which of course belong to Enugu State people back to the people. It shows that governance can work in Nigeria. Our people deserve the benefits of good governance and that is what is being evidenced here today.”

Speaking further, he said, “If you look at the history of this particular matter, it takes us back to 2007 when we started the prosecution. So we are looking at about 17 years since the matter has been on.

“Eventually some of the properties were forfeited and since then, the EFCC has been managing those properties even though the titles of quite a number of the properties have been revoked by the Enugu State government. What we are witnessing here today is the official handing over of the properties to the people of Enugu State through His Excellency, Dr Peter Mba,” Olukoyede said.

Earlier in his remarks, Governor Ubah expressed gratitude for the  handover and thanked the EFCC chair and the Commission for ensuring that the people of his state reclaimed their common patrimony.

“I would like to express my profound gratitude for the event we are witnessing today. The importance and significance of this event can never be lost on us and we do not also take it for granted.

“So I want to take this opportunity to convey my profound gratitude and deep appreciation to the chairman and members of the EFCC team that have brought us to where we are today.

“This is a journey that began several years ago and we are marking a formal closure to that journey here today.  A journey that saw the successful prosecution of certain companies in possession of assets belonging to the people of Enugu State.”

The Governor who noted that the properties were forfeited not to his state but to the federal government expressed gratitude to President Bola Tinubu for making it possible for them to be returned to the government and people of Enugu State.

“Those assets were forfeited to the federal government. And this brings me to another gratitude that I want to convey here today. I want to acknowledge and recognise the important role played by the President, His Excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

“Without the proactiveness and speed at which he acted on our request to cede these assets back to the people and government of Enugu State, we wouldn’t have been here today. So I want to thank him most sincerely for granting our request for these assets that were forfeited to the federal government to be ceded back to Enugu State.”

He lauded Olukoyede’s initiatives at making the EFCC a strong institution and cautioned against attempts by some individuals to distract the Commission.

“I will not end this remark without acknowledging the work the EFCC chairman is doing in strengthening this very important institution. It is important that we do not weaken our institutions.

“Whatever we do in governance is transient. So I want to commend him for the efforts he is making in ensuring that this very important institution, the EFCC is strengthened. Thank you very much for all the great work you and your team are doing and particularly for the effort that you have put in to make today a reality,” the Governor stated.

The properties comprise houses, transmission equipment for radio and television stations, a building for medical operations, among others.

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MRS considers voluntary delisting from NGX, to hold EGM

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The management of MRS Oil Nigeria Plc is considering voluntary delisting from the Nigerian Exchange.

The company has called for an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) to make the decisions on the share buyback and voluntary delisting.

The EGM is scheduled to hold at the Civic Centre, Ozumba Mbadiwe Avenue, Victoria Island, Lagos, on May 21, 2024, at 11:00 am according to a corporate disclosure made by the company.

The corporate disclosure reads that the company will meet to transact the following special business:

“To consider, and if thought fit, pass, with or without modification, the following sub-joined resolutions as special resolutions:

“That the voluntary delisting of all the Company’s issued shares from the daily official list of Nigerian Exchange Limited (the ‘Voluntary Delisting’) be and is hereby approved on such terms and conditions (including but not limited to the timing of implementation, arrangements for dissenting shareholders (if any) and the fulfilment of specific conditions precedent to effectiveness (if any), that the Board of Directors of the Company deems appropriate in connection with the Voluntary Delisting; and subject to obtaining all requisite regulatory approvals.

 ”That the Memorandum and Articles of Association (“MemArts”) of the Company be and are hereby amended to authorize the Company to undertake a share buyback and share capital reduction.

“That the Company be and is hereby authorised to undertake a share buyback and share capital reduction in connection with any of its issued shares that may be purchased from dissenting shareholders where necessary as a consequence of the Voluntary Delisting; on such terms and conditions, in such volumes and at such times as the Board deems fit; subject to, and in accordance with, applicable laws and regulations.

“That the company’s MemArts be amended upon completion of the share buyback and share capital reduction to reflect the updated share capital.

“That upon conclusion of the Voluntary Delisting, and whilst the Company remains a public limited liability company, the Board be and is hereby authorised to take all such action as may be required to admit the Company’s shares on the NASD OTC Securities Exchange to ensure that dealings in the Company’s shares are implemented in accordance with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Rules on Trading in Unlisted Securities.

“That the Board be and is hereby authorised to take all such lawful actions and steps (including but not limited to entering into/executing such agreements and documents, appointing professional advisers and other parties, and complying with directives of any regulatory authority) deemed necessary to give full effect to the above-referenced resolutions.

“That the Company Secretary be and is hereby authorised to make all such filings, take all necessary lawful actions and/or steps to give effect to the above-referenced resolutions and comply with all relevant regulatory requirements.

“A member of the Company entitled to attend and vote at the EGM is entitled to appoint a proxy in his/her/its stead. A proxy need not be a member of the Company. It is important to ensure that all proxy documents are properly stamped by the Commissioner of Stamp Duties and deposited at the Registrar’s Office, First Registrars and Investor Services before the EGM commences.”

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