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$12 billion Recovery Suit: Court rules against Chevron

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A Lagos Division of the Federal High Court on Thursday awarded a N100,000 cost against Chevron Petroleum Nigeria Ltd in a $12 billion debt recovery suit by the Federal Government over oil shipment.

Mojisola Olatoregun, the judge, awarded the cost after striking out the company’s preliminary objection by the second defendant, Chevron Petroleum Nigeria Ltd, challenging the court’s jurisdiction over service of court processes.

According to the judge, the cost should be paid within seven days of the award.

The Federal Government filed the suit against Chevron Nigeria Ltd, and Chevron Petroleum Nigeria Ltd, as first and second defendants respectively.

This suit is one among several suits seeking to recover almost $12 billion in missing crude oil revenue from some international oil companies.

The Federal Government was represented by Ituah Imhanze and Chineme Onuoma, while the first and second defendants were represented by Miannaya Essen, a senior advocate of Nigeria.

The defence counsel had challenged the court’s jurisdiction, urging it to set aside purported service of an amended writ of summons and amended statement of claim on the second defendant, for being incompetent.

The counsel had argued that the second defendant was not served with the amended processes in accordance with the provisions of the law.

Delivering its ruling on the objection, the court held that service of originating processes was fundamental to the jurisdiction of the court, adding that such service must be personal except where personal service is not possible.

She held that by the provisions of order 6 rule 3, of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules, no such service of court processes shall be neccessary, where the defendant by his legal practitioner, undertakes in writing to take service.

The court further held that where a party by this means, accepts service, he cannot deny same, adding that from records, it could be recalled that the processes were served.

The court consequently held: “This application is totally and absolutely a waste of time and it is unbelievable”

After the court’s ruling, Mr. Imahnze asked for a cost of N100,000 against the second defendant which the judge granted.

The judge expressed displeasure at the delays experienced in the suit since 2016 when the case was brought to court, saying there had been so many applications which had stalled progress of the suit.

Going forward, the judge sought to know how many witnesses parties were to call, and in response, both the plaintiff and defendant informed the court that they had two witnesses each to call in the trial.

The court consequently, adjourned the case until May 16 and 17 for trial.

The suit was filed by the Federal Government through its Counsel, Fabian Ajogwu, (SAN) in 2016, against some International Oil Companies (IOCs) to recover lost revenues arising from undeclared and under-declared crude oil shipments from Nigeria to different parts of the world.

The government had also sued Total E&P Nig. Plc, alleging that the oil company under-declared the volume of crude oil it shipped out of the country between January 2011 and December 2014.

The oil companies were accused of short-changing the country to the tune of $245 million, by allegedly shipping several barrels of crude oil out of Nigeria, without making due remittance to the government.

The FG also filed similar suits against Agip Oil Company Ltd, Shell Western Supply & Trading Ltd among others.

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‘I don’t believe foreigners are involved in Nigeria killings’ – French envoy contradicts Buhari

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Denys Gauer, outgoing French ambassador to Nigeria, says he does not believe that foreigners are involved in the killings across the country.

The French’s envoy position contradicts that of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Buhari had said that the killings are as a result of the influx of mercenaries from the Sahel region.

“It has always been there, but now made worse by the influx of armed gunmen from the Sahel region into different parts of the West African sub-region,” the president had said when Justin Welby, archbishop of Canterbury, visited him in London back in April.

But speaking with journalists on Friday in Abuja, Gauer said impunity is encouraging the killings in the country and those responsible must be punished.

The envoy spoke to journalists in commemoration of the 2018 French National Day.

“The reason for the killings is demography; some people are fighting for land, so there must be direct policy to develop agriculture and animal husbandry,” he said.

“I think impunity is encouraging the killings and those responsible must be punished. I don’t believe foreigners are involved in the killings.

“The second is justice. When there is that kind of killing, there must be proper prosecution and perpetrators must be properly sentenced. If that does not happen then, it cannot end.”

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INEC: Smartphones can be used at polling units but not inside voting cubicle

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has not banned the use of smartphones around polling unit areas.

The electoral body says the rule only comes into effect once a prospective voter enters the voting cubicle to cast his or her vote.

Rotimi Oyekanmi, chief press secretary to INEC chairman, made the clarification in an interview with NAN on Wednesday in Abuja.

He said this while reacting to a statement issued by Uche Secondus, national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), condemning the decision of INEC to ban the use of smartphones at polling booths.

Secondus had alleged that the decision was to perfect a rigging formula for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

But Oyekanmi said the challenge of vote-buying and selling had prompted many stakeholders to call on INEC to devise innovative ways to tackle the problem.

He said: “In consultation with other stakeholders, the Commission came up with new measures to solve the problem, one of which is to disallow the use of smartphones and other electronic devices in the voting cubicles on election day.

“In other words, INEC is not banning phones around the polling unit area, but the ban takes effect from the moment a prospective voter collects his or her ballot paper and enters into voting cubicle to thumbprint and thereafter drop the folded ballot paper into the ballot box.

“After that, the voter can have access to his or her phone.”

Oyekanmi urged Nigerians to disregard any attempt by any individual or group to politicise what was purely a preventive measure.

NAN

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Report: Over 40% of world’s poorest will live in Nigeria, Congo by 2050

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More than 40 percent of “extremely poor people” in the world will be living in Nigeria and DR Congo by 2050, a report by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has revealed.

In the 2018 goalkeepers report released Tuesday, the foundation said by 2050, Nigeria will have 152 million people in extreme poverty out of a projected population of 429 million.

It blamed this on the lack of investment in human capital to correspond with the increasing population growth.

Nigeria is currently the seventh most populous country in the world with an estimated population of 198 million.

The annual report, produced in partnership with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, tracks progress being made on the United Nations sustainable development goals (SDGs).

In June, Brookings Institution reported that Nigeria had overtaken India as the nation with the highest number of poor people , with 87 million of its citizens in extreme poverty.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) had also said in March that Nigerians are getting poorer due to the lack of coherent and comprehensive economic reforms.

The goalkeepers report said while more than a billion in the world have lifted themselves out of extreme poverty since 2000, “extreme poverty is becoming heavily concentrated in sub-Saharan African countries”.

“By 2050, that’s where 86 percent of the extremely poor people in the world are projected to live. The challenge is that within Africa, poverty is concentrating in just a handful of very fast-growing countries,” the report said.

“By 2050, for example, more than 40 percent of the extremely poor people in the world will live in just two countries: Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria. Even within these countries, poverty is still concentrating in certain areas.”

It warned that decades of stunning progress in the fight against poverty and disease may be on the verge of stalling.

This, the report said, is because the poorest parts of the world are growing faster than everywhere else. “If current trend continues, the number of poor people in the world will stop falling – and could even start rising,” it said.

THE WAY OUT

The foundation said to address the poverty crisis, adequate investment would need to be made in young people, especially in areas of education, health and human capital development.

The education and health sectors in Nigeria have suffered neglect over the years. In 2018, N542 billion was earmarked for the education sector while health got N356 billion – out of the N9.1 trillion budget.

“Investing in young people’s health and education is the best way for a country to unlock productivity and innovation; cut poverty, create opportunities and generate prosperity,” the report added.

“The next step is making sure children don’t merely survive but also thrive.”

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