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Ecobank Nigeria to appeal Honeywell’s N72bn court judgement

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Ecobank Nigeria Limited says it will appeal a judgement by the Federal High Court in Lagos, presided over by Hon. Justice Liman, which  delivered a judgment in favour of Honeywell Flour against the bank and ordered it to pay the sum of N72 billion. The bank said it believe that the judgment is perverse and cannot stand the test of time. It also noted that it would vigorously challenge same, and remain confident that it can reverse this judgment at the higher courts.

Sources from the bank stated that the instant suit was an action filed in 2018 for the enforcement of the Bank’s Undertaking as to Damages which was filed in pursuance of its Winding Up Petition and the Ex-Parte Orders which were granted in favour of the Bank.

“We challenged the action through a Notice of Preliminary Objection dated 16th October, 2018 whereby we challenged the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, as (among other reasons), the action did not fall within the provisions of Section 251 (d) of the Constitution, being that the subject matter of the suit was for the Claim of Damages arising out of an Ex-Parte Order, as opposed to a Banker-Customer relationship. Trial was concluded in this matter since 9th March, 2021 and the parties adopted their final written addresses alongside our Notice of Preliminary objection on the 16th March, 2022, the Court then adjourned the matter to 27th May, 2022 for judgment. While the court failed to deliver judgment on the said date, the registrar of the court promised to inform counsel whenever the judgement was ready.

“In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Bank’s favour, in Suit No. SC/CV/210/2021 which was delivered on 27th January 2023, the bank further filed a Motion on notice dated 9th March, 2023 to dismiss the Suit on the grounds that same has become academic as a result of the judgment entered in favour of Ecobank wherein the Supreme Court held that Honeywell remained indebted to the Bank. The Court heard motion dated 9th March, 2023 and adjourned to 23th June, 2023 for ruling on our two applications and also for delivery of judgment.  The Court consequently delivered the said ruling/judgment today July 18 via a virtual proceeding at about 4pm.  In its Judgment, the Court dismissed the two applications we filed, holding that it has jurisdiction to entertain the suit and also that the suit had not become academic.

According to the bank, In reaching its judgment, the Court ignored/refused (among others): Submissions showing that the Ex-Parte Orders were discharged on points of law and not that it was frivolously obtained by the Bank; that the Ex-Parte Order lasted for less than 2 weeks, contrary to the Claim of Honeywell which was said to have covered the period of three years; that the documents presented by Honeywell particularly the annual returns did not show the alleged damage, hence same was indeed non-existent; that documents from various other Banks who were served with the ex-parte order showed that the Honeywell companies were indeed highly indebted to them, hence there was no way the Ex-Parte Orders would have frozen funds in the said Banks; and more importantly, the Court refused all the objections regarding the documents maliciously prepared by Honeywell for the sole purpose of instituting the Suit and claiming unjustifiable sums from the Bank.

The bank reiterated that it is a member of the Ecobank Group, the Pan-African Bank which is proudly and fully committed to transparency in all the countries where it operates, and  abide by laws and regulations. It  believes that this matter should be conclusively determined in line with the applicable judicial process.

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Ondo 2024: Aiyedatiwa coasts to victory

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..As supporters of aggrieved aspirants storm Party secretariat

…Aspirants call for cancellation of election, allege irregularities

By Akintunde Jacobs, Akure

Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa of Ondo state, has emerged as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the forthcoming November 16th, 2024 governorship election in the state.

Aiyedatiwa was declared winner of the governorship primary election which took place on Sunday by the Chairman of the APC Primary Election Committee and Governor of Kogi State, Ahmed Usman Ododo at the International Culture and Event Centre, The Dome, in Akure, the Ondo state capital.

Ododo, while announcing Aiyedatiwa as winner, said he scored 48,569 votes to beat other 15 aspirants.

He said the other aspirants score is as follows: Wale Akinterinwa; 1,952, Olusola Oke; 14,915, Mayowa Akinfolarin; 15,343, Jimoh Ibrahim; 9,456, Isaac Kekemeke; 1,045, Gbenga Edema; 395, Olamide Ohunyeye; 424, Jimi Odimayo; 490, Olusoji Ehinlanwo; 492, Morayo Lebi; 290, Diran Iyantan; 348, Francis Faduyile; 353, Ifeoluwa Oyedele; 462, Funmilayo Waheed-Adekojo; 529 and Funke Omogoroye; 115.

While Ododo said that the total numbers of voters; 171, 922, accredited voters; 95178, total vote cast; 95178, valid votes; 95178, invalid vote; nil.

According to Ododo, who was flanked by the secretary of the committee, Ovie Omo-Agege and other members of the committee said; “reports from the field revealed that the primary election went on peacefully, and the end of the exercise, votes were counted and recorded.

“By the power conferred on the committee, and in line with APC guide lines for the nomination of the candidate, of the party in the general election, I Ahmed Usman Ododo, Governor of Kogi State and the Chairman of the Committee and the Returning Officer of the Ondo State APC governorship primary election, held on the 20th, 2024, hereby declared that Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa having satisfied the requirements of the law and scored the highest numbers of votes cast in the direct primary election, is hereby return elected and declare winner.”

Some aggrieved members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Ondo state, on Sunday stormed the Secretariat of the party, in Akure, to express displeasure over alleged irregularities in the conduct of Saturday’s governorship primary election across the 18 local government areas in the state.

The protesters who were supporters of Olusola Oke, Wale Akinterinwa and Jimi Odimayo, alleged that the primary was fraught with irregularities and illegalities.

The demonstrators, who stormed the Secretariat, however, demanded for the suspension of Kogi state Governor, Ahmed Usman Ododo from the party, who led other seven-man committee to conduct the primary.

While flaunting different protest banners and placards such as “No election in Ondo.,” “APC primary electoral officers failed to show up in all wards in Ondo State,” “We demand fairness and justice in APC primary election in Ondo,” they alleged that; “Ododo is a criminal and a thief. In a saner clime, Ododo by now will be in jail. Election crime is a serious crime. You cannot come to the wards of our people and start terrorising them against their will.”

The placards also include inscriptions like, “No mandate for Aiyedatiwa, We’re calling for fresh primary election,” “NWC of APC, No Mandate for Aiyedatiwa,” “Saturday ‘s APC primary in Ondo was a sham,” “APC Must Not Collapse In Ondo State,” “Primary Election materials were not distributed in all wards across Eighteen LGAs in Ondo State,” among others.

They, however, called for fresh primary elections for the interest of peace and tranquility.

Addressing journalists, the Director General for Olusola Oke Campaign Organisation, Ondo Central Senatorial District, Adeniran Oyebade who spoke on behalf of the protesters said the election was a broad-day robbery.

His words: “We are protesting against our mandate that was stolen. It was  broad-daylight robbery, a monumental disaster. APC delegated some people to Ondo State to conduct the primary; apparently, that was never done. They remained in Akure and started writing results. They wrote the results of 203 wards all across Ondo State, taking the mandate of the people into their own hands.”

He alleged that, “at the end of the day, we started seeing different results flying around stating one particular candidate won the election, but that never happened.”

“APC as a party is about to set Ondo State on fire, and we will never take this lightly. We want the most popular candidate, a candidate that knows the people; we want the candidate whose name is a household brand in every part of Ondo State. We do not want an unpopular or controversial candidate; we don’t want a wife beater. We want someone with a sound mind,” Oyebade claimed.

He also claimed that “Ododo should be suspended from the party. Ododo is a criminal and a thief. In a saner clime, Ododo by now will be in jail. Election crime is a serious crime. You cannot come to the wards of our people and start terrorising them against their will. What we want is the cancellation of the election because any election did not take place. There is no need to say that the election was inconclusive.”

Ade Adeniyi and Bola Fisayo who also spoke said APC members, who are eligible to vote for their preferred aspirants, waited for the conduct of the poll but all to no avail.

As at the time of filing this report, the Ododo’s seven-man committee that came to conduct the primary is yet to announce the winner of the governorship primary.

Similarly another aspirant, Engr. Folakemi Omogoroye, vehemently denounced the process, alleging widespread absence of election and calling for its immediate cancellation.

The primary, scheduled for April 20th, 2024, failed to take place as anticipated, leaving Engr. Omogoroye and her supporters frustrated. “There was no election anywhere,” she asserted, decrying what she described as a “complete rape on democracy.”

Expressing her dismay, Engr. Omogoroye lamented the absence of election officials and voting materials at voting centres, rendering her and her supporters unable to exercise their right to vote. Despite her meticulous preparation and financial commitment to the party, she found herself circumvented  to participate in the democratic process.

In a bold move, Engr. Omogoroye called upon the party’s leader, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to intervene and annul the purported election.

Her words: “President Bola Ahmed Tinubu gave us women a renewed hope agenda that prompted me to go into the race with assurance that the election is going to be free and fair and that was why I went into this contest.

“But to my greatest surprise,  the reverse is the case. I was on the field from 7am, no election materials were seen, not to talk of seeing any party officials or INEC officials and a voice came up that Aiyedatiwa has won, Aiyedatiwa has won.

“I don’t know how that happened and I don’t know how the party is going to take that, because I, Engr. Folakemi Omogoroye will not accept that; because I believe in the party, I have been in the party for years, and this is the time we have to make the party better that other parties will emulate, but this is not the case.

“Other parties are now making a mockery of our party, all my political followers from all the books and crannies of Ondo state have been calling me that the same thing happened all over.”

She emphasised the urgency the situation is required to be redressed, warning of dire consequences for the party’s future in Ondo State if swift action is not taken.

Furthermore, she threatened legal action if her demand for a fresh and transparent election was not met promptly.

“I am not going to accept it, and now, I am calling for cancellation and if this is not done, maybe we’ll meet in court,” she added.

Also, the Governor of Kogi state and Chairman of the Ondo state governorship primary election committee, Ahmed Ododo, has explained reasons for declaring the Saturday election inconclusive.

Ododo, in a statement on Sunday said that the late arrival of materials and personnel to 13 wards in Okitipupa council area of state, the All Progressive Congress Governorship Primary Election Committee, necessitated the rescheduling of the exercise on Sunday.

According to him, “The rerun election would take place in all the 13 wards of Okitipupa Local Government with the total number of 9,515 validated registered party members.”

According to him, this is because of validated reports that the exercise did not hold in the Local government due to late arrival of materials and personnel as a result of logistics challenges.

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Cardoso clarifies CBN’s stance on Naira defence, market intervention

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…Reflects on lessons learned in first six months as CBN boss

…As CBN, Ministry of Finance forge strong alliance to combat inflation

By Sodiq Adelakun

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Yemi Cardoso has clarified the stance of the apex bank on Naira defense and market intervention.

He made this known in an exclusive interview with the International Monetary Fund African Department Director, Abebe Selassie, at the IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington DC, United States of America, held between April 11 and 20, 2024.

The Governor unveiled his strategic vision for Nigeria’s monetary policy, shedding light on the bold decisions that transformed the Naira from its worst state to the best-performing within a span of six months.

Cardoso addressed concerns regarding the defense of the naira, emphasising that it is not the bank’s intention to intervene in currency markets to prop up the naira’s value.

He outlined the CBN’s overarching policy and philosophy, which prioritizes a market-driven approach to currency valuation. ”Basically, what we are encouraging is for the market to be a willing buyer, willing seller, and price-discover-led one,” the Governor explained.

According to him, “I know that the issue of defending the naira has become an elephant in some room. I want to try to make this as clear as possible. It is not our intention to defend the naira. It is not.

“Much as I have read in the recent few days, some opinions with respect to what is happening with our reserves. If you think back to what our overall policy and philosophy has been here, you can see that it is counter-intuitive. Basically, what we are encouraging is for the market to be a willing buyer, willing seller, and price-discover-led one.

“Ultimately, I perceive a future where the CBN may really not need to intervene except in very unusual circumstances.

“As long as we have a vibrant currency market, why do we need to intervene? I can understand that, especially at the outset, we have experienced that we needed to get the Bureau de Change segment going.

“We had to release tiny amounts of money to catalyse those happenings. Individuals must have funds to send their kids abroad and do things that are important. It is important not to keep them out of the mainstay.

“What we have seen with the shifts in our reserves are the shifts that you would find in any country’s reserve situation. When debts are due and payments need to be made, they are to be made, because that is also part of keeping your credibility intact.

Recall that when the Naira has one time been regarded as the worst-performing currency of any country.

He stated: “When I started, we had a situation where within a month or two, we were regarded as the worst-performing currency of any country.

“Six months later, we are judged to have the best-performing currency of any country. So, I think those things speak for themselves. A situation where in the recent past, the greatest amount of liquidity on a daily basis was in the region of $200m to $300m; in six months, we have traded over $1bn.

“FX liquidity has taken a centre stage in the activity of the monetary side, and I think people see that; they also see the exchange rate coming down and they understand that there is a lag. Ultimately, the objective is that we can moderate inflation.”

…Cardoso reflects on lessons learned in first six months as CBN boss

Cardoso emphasised on the daunting challenges he faced upon assuming office, including high inflation rates and a severely stressed exchange rate, which had eroded trust and confidence in the system.

He reiterated the critical importance of rebuilding trust, acknowledging the significant backlog of unmet forward transactions and committing to address them as a means to regain confidence.

He however highlighted the integration of senior leadership from the Ministry of Finance within the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).

…CBN, Ministry of Finance forge strong alliance to combat inflation

“In the MPC, we have the presence of very senior leadership from the fiscal side as members of the MPC in the person of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, who is here today, and we always have very good and open dialogue on issues so we are able to hear the different sides of the situation. Beyond that, we have set up different committees that work hand-in-hand with respect to ensuring that we are on the same page with respect to taming inflation.

“It is also commendable that the Ministry of Finance has begun that process of securitising the outstanding Ways and Means, and I think that is extremely commendable. I think it is less of an issue now, and we can work better together, bearing in mind that as we move towards inflation targeting, there has to be a strong partnership for it to be successful,” he reiterated.

The Governor highlighted the shift away from interventionist policies towards orthodox monetary practices, signaling a clear departure from past approaches.

He emphasised the necessity of communicating effectively with stakeholders, particularly international investors, to foster understanding and restore faith in Nigeria’s economic trajectory.

Meanwhile, Cardoso outlined bold measures such as liquidity mopping and interest rate hikes, demonstrating a commitment to tackling economic challenges head-on for the benefit of all Nigerians.

He stressed the importance of continuous dialogue and transparent communication to elucidate the rationale behind policy decisions and manage public perceptions.

Collaboration with the fiscal side was deemed essential for the success of inflation-targeting objectives, with Cardoso highlighting the need for a harmonious partnership with the Ministry of Finance to achieve sustainable economic outcomes.

Reflecting on his first six months in office, Cardoso emphasised the paramount importance of trust and credibility in driving effective policy implementation, noting the need for consistent communication and realistic expectations.

When questioned about currency risk management and the development of currency risk markets, Cardoso hinted at ongoing considerations, suggesting a phased approach to implementation aligned with broader economic objectives.

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Garlands of commendation as Energy Times bestows posthumous award on Ibiyemi 

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The Founding Publisher of Nigerian NewsDirect, Late Dr Samuel Ibiyemi has been honoured with a Posthumous award for his contributions to the Energy sector at the maiden edition of the Energy Times award ceremony in Lagos.

The late Dr Samuel Ibiyemi was bestowed with the award of most versatile journalist in the energy sector for his sterling contributions to the development of the sector.

Dr Ibiyemi before he passed on last year July was a member of the Nigerian Gas Association, Nigerian Guild of Editors, NIPR, Rotary Club, Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), Association of Energy Correspondents of Nigeria (NAEC), member Ife Development board, Board Chairman, Olode Grammar School, amongst a host of others. He was also notably a member of the technical drafting committee that drafted the Petroleum Industry Bill now Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) being the only Journalist on the committee.

Described by the former Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) as a champion of local content, Dr Ibiyemi utilised his platform to advocate for the development of Nigeria’s local content and created foras to adumbrate on policies that will change the trajectory of Nigeria’s Oil and gas industry.

Commending Dr Ibiyemi, the Chairman of International Energy Services Limited (IESL) and Chairman of the occasion, Dr Diran Fawibe, described the Late Dr Ibiyemi as one of the few journalists who were really knowledgeable about the sector and actively pursued the growth of the sector through his tabloid, Nigerian NewsDirect.

Fawibe noted that he used to buy NewsDirect everyday due to the rich quality content and reportage it supplied on a daily basis on the energy sector.

Receiving the award on behalf of the family, the Publisher/Executive Director of Nigerian NewsDirect, Mr Mathew Ibiyemi commended the management of Energy Times for recognising the impacts Dr Ibiyemi made on the energy sector in Nigeria.

Mr Mathew Ibiyemi noted that the award was emotional for him explaining that though his late dad was no longer with the family presently, his impacts continue to make him remembered globally.

Similarly, the Deputy Managing Director of Falcon Corporation, Mrs Audrey Ozigbo in an emotional moment who also bagged an award of Amazon of Gas development dedicated her award to the Late Dr Ibiyemi and two of his colleagues who stood by her company at the early stages of her company’s growth.

The hall was filled with many industry stakeholders who were also eager to share their encounters and the impact the Late Dr Samuel Ibiyemi had on their lives and businesses.

Other recipients awarded at the award ceremony include the GCEO of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Mr Mele Kolo Kyari, recognised at the award ceremony, Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, Heirs Energies, Commission Chief Executive of Nigeria Upstream Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Mr Gbenga Komolafe, United Bank for Africa, Niger Delta Power Holding Company, amongst a host of others.

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