By Seun Ibiyemi
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has granted an interim injunction stopping the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) from terminating the role of INTELS Nigeria Limited as manning agent in the Pilotage Districts of Lagos, Warri, Bonny/Port Harcourt and Calabar.
The judge, Hon. Justice R.M. Aikawa, granted the interim injunction in the suit number FHC/L/CS/1058/2020 based on an application filed by INTELS Nigeria Limited and Deep Offshore Service Nigeria Limited against the NPA.
INTELS and Deep Offhore had requested the court to restrain NPA from preventing them from performing their duties as managing agent, pending the determination of ongoing arbitration proceedings.
The court order, which was issued on Friday 28th August 2020, reads: “That an order is granted restraining the respondent, its servants, agents, and/or privies from giving effect for the purported notice of expiration issued it on 5th August 2020 or taking any other step to prevent the parties from performing their duties and obligations under the agreements between the 1st applicant and respondent dated 11th February 2011 and 24th August 2018, pending the determination of the originating motion dated 12th August 2020 seeking for interim measures of protection in support of the pending arbitration between the parties therein.”
The court adjourned the matter to 15th September 2020 for the originating motion on notice.
Consequent upon the court order, the management of INTELS, in a statement issued on Thursday, asked the shipping community to disregard a Marine Information issued by NPA purportedly terminating its operation, as it was issued in contempt of the court.
INTELS’ statement reads: “We read with surprise, NPA’s Notice 11 of 2020, dated 1st September 2020 circulated on different public fora today 3rd September 2020; titled “MARINE INFORMATION” wherein the NPA purported to give notice to all its stakeholders in Nigeria and abroad that the boat service operation ‘hitherto (Previously) handled by a Third-Party Company, the Integrated Logistics Services (Intels) Nigeria has been terminated.”
“The NPA went on to further give notice that all Service Boats Owners and Operators are ‘to do transactions directly in each of the Port Complex of the Nigerian Ports Authority.’
“NPA’s publication is highly selective, inaccurate and should be disregarded, as it seeks to circumvent legal due process. Indeed, a dispute has arisen over NPA’s right to terminate our role as managing agent in the Pilotage Districts of Lagos, Warri, Bonny/Port-Harcourt and Calabar. This dispute has been submitted to arbitration, and the arbitral proceedings have already commenced.
“Notwithstanding the pendency of arbitral proceedings, NPA issued a letter dated 5th August 2020, wherein it asserted that our appointment will expire by 8th August 2020, and that it will thereafter regard ‘all obligations arising’ therefrom ‘as closed.’
“To preserve the status-quo pending the outcome of the arbitration, we instituted legal proceedings before the Federal High Court, Lagos; to restrain the NPA from placing reliance on this letter or from taking any other step to prevent Intels from performing its duties as managing agent, pending the determination of the arbitration proceedings.
“On Friday 28th August 2020; Honourable Justice R. M. Aikawa of the Federal High Court, Lagos granted an interim injunction against the NPA in the following terms:
“AN ORDER of interim injunction restraining the Respondent, its servants, agents, and/or privies from giving effect to the purported notice of expiration issued by it on 5th August 2020, or taking any other step to prevent the parties from performing their duties and obligations under the agreements between the 1st Applicant and Respondent dated 11th February 2011 and 24th August 2018, pending the determination of the Originating Motion dated 12th August 2020 seeking for interim measures of protection in support of the pending arbitration between the parties herein.
“On the same date, our solicitors dispatched a letter to the NPA to inform it of the existence of the suit and the orders granted by the court. Indeed, a certified true copy of the order has, today, been served on NPA by the bailiff of the court, and the suit will come up for further hearing by the Federal High Court on Tuesday 15th September 2020.
“Given its knowledge of the restraining orders of the Federal High Court, it is very unfortunate that the NPA would proceed to issue Notice 11 of NPA as well as any other communications of this kind to stakeholders. This publication clearly has no basis as it was issued in contempt of the court; and the general public is advised to entirely disregard it.”
NewsDirect at 13: Our commitment to press freedom, accurate news relentless — ED
The Executive Director and Manager for Business Development and Strategic Partnerships for Nigerian NewsDirect, Mr Mathew Ibiyemi has reiterated the commitment of the media house to advocating for increased press freedom and promotion of accurate news.
In a press statement issued on behalf of the company on the occasion of its 13th Anniversary, Mr Mathew acknowledged that the newspaper industry in Nigeria and globally is going through very challenging times.
He noted that the challenges may be enormous but they are not insurmountable.
The NewsDirect ED explained that the challenges will not make the company compromise on the truth but will instead further its resolve to continuously provide accurate and insightful news from source.
Mr Mathew also seized the occasion to thank readers and partners of the brand who have ceaselessly contributed to the newspaper’s continuous publication on news-stand.
Nigerian NewsDirect is slated to host an anniversary dinner in Lagos today to celebrate the milestone age and also interact with its partners.
Tinubu seeks N’Assembly approval for fresh $8.7bn, 100m loans
…To defend 2024 budget, borrowing plan at joint plenary session
Nigeria’s President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has again sought the approval of the National Assembly for fresh loans to the tune of $8.7billion and €100 million.
In a letter to the House of Representatives, the President said the loans were intended to fund projects which cut across sectors, particularly infrastructure, agriculture, health, education, water supply, roads, security, and employment generation as well as financial management. among others.
The letter read, “I write with reference to above subject matter and to submit the attached Federal Government 2022-2024 external borrowing rolling plan for consideration and approval of the National Assembly to ensure optimum implementation of the budget.
“The Honourable members may wish to know that the past administration approved the 2022-2024 borrowing plan at the Federal Executive Council held on 15 May, 2023.
“Following the removal of the fuel subsidy and its attendant impact on our economy, African Development Bank and the World bank group have indicated interest in assisting the country to mitigate the impact with the sum of one billion USD and 1.5 billion USD respectively; in addition to the FEC approved 2022-2024 external abridged borrowing plan.
“Consequently, the required approval is in the sum of 8,699,168,559 USD, and 100 million Euros.
“I would like to underscore the fact that the projects and programmes in the borrowing plan were selected based on positive technical economic evaluation as well as the expected contribution to the socio-economic development of the country including employment generation, skills acquisition, support towards the emergence of young entrepreneurs, poverty reduction and food security to improve the livelihood in all 36 states and the FCT.
“Considering the huge infrastructure deficit in the country and the enormous financial resources required to bridge the gap in funding infrastructure in the face of dwindling financial resources, it has become imperative that we resort to prudent external borrowing to bridge the financial gap which will be largely be applied to key infrastructure projects including power, railway, health among others.
“Given the nature of these facilities and the need to return the country to normalcy, it has become necessary to request the House of Representatives to consider and approve the 2022-2024 external abridged borrowing plan to enable the government deliver its responsibilities to Nigerians through expedient disbursement and efficient project implementation.
“I hereby forward the proposed 2022-2024 external borrowing plan and trust that it would receive judicious consideration and passage of the House of Representatives,” the letter read.
The President also wrote to the Senate. The letter by the President was read by the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, at the plenary on Tuesday.
The letter read, “I write in respect of the above subject and to submit the attached Federal Government 2022-2024 external borrowing plan for consideration and early approval of the National Assembly to ensure prompt implementation of the projects.
“The Senate may wish to note that the past administration approved a 2022-2024 borrowing plan by the Federal Executive Council held on May 15, 2023.
“The project cuts across all sectors, with specific emphasis on infrastructure, agriculture, health, water supply, roads, security, and employment generation as well as financial management reforms.”
It added, “Consequently, the required approval is in the sum of $8,699,168,559 and €100 million.I would like to underscore the fact that the projects and programmes in the borrowing plan were selected based on economic evaluations as well as the expected contribution to the social economic development of the country, including employment generation, and skills acquisition.
“Given the nature of these facilities, and the need to return the country to normalcy it has become necessary for the senate to consider and approve the 2022-2024 external abridged borrowing plan to enable the government deliver its responsibility to Nigerians.”
The President is expected to defend the borrowing plan and the 2024 budget in a joint plenary session today which the National Assembly granted.
Rivers Guber poll: Fubara emerges victorious at Appeal court
Governor of Rivers State, Siminalayi Fubara has emerged victorious in an appeal challenging his electoral victory in the 2023 General elections.
Fubara’s victory was further ascertained by a judgement of the Appeal court sitting in Lagos yesterday.
The Court, in a unanimous decision, affirmed the judgment of the election tribunal, dismissing four separate appeals filed by Tonye Cole of All Progressives Congress (APC), Beatrice Itubo of the Labour Party (LP), Innocent Ekwu of the Allied People’s Movement (APM), and Lulu Briggs Dumo of the Accord Party.
The court held that all the appellants failed to prove the allegation of non-compliance with the Electoral Act.
Recall that the Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal had in October dismissed the petition of the APC Candidate challenging the election of Fubara as the governor of the state.
The APC candidate, who was present in the courtroom on Tuesday urged the court to direct the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to declare him the winner of the March governorship election in Rivers.
The election tribunal in Rivers state had dismissed the petition saying that the APC that sponsored Cole had withdrawn the petition against Fubara’s victory.
Not satisfied with the Tribunal’s victory, the APC candidate approached the appellate court. However, the court on Tuesday affirmed the Tribunal ruling which earlier upheld Fubara’s electoral victory in October.
Justice Ridwan Maiwada Abdullahi (absent), Justice Olabode Adegbehingbe and Justice Bature Isa Gafa, held that the fact that APC ceased to be a party to the case did not make Cole’s petition invalid. The judges concluded that the Tribunal was in error to have struck out that item of the petition.
“A political party cannot compel a candidate to withdraw a petition neither can a candidate compel the party to withdraw,” Justice Adegbehingbe ruled.
However, on the other grounds, the court held that the appellants’ evidence were inadequate in proving the allegations of over-voting, disenfranchisement and other alleged irregularities.
The grounds bordering on fraud and whether Fubara was qualified to have contested the election were struck out based on unconvincing evidence. Cole cited allegations of irregularities and Fubara’s continued signing of documents as the State’s Accountant-General after his PDP nomination.
In his immediate reaction, Cole said the appellate court’s judgment has given him and his legal team a greenlight, and that will determine their next line of action.
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