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$9.6bn Judgment Debt: UK Court Orders Stay of Execution Against Nigeria

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Reprieve came the way of Nigeria on Thursday as a UK Commercial Court granted a stay of execution of the 9.6 billion dollar judgment debt made against the country over a botched gas contract.

A statement on the court’s decision in London was made available to newsmen in Abuja by the office of the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

“Earlier today, the UK Commercial Court granted the Federal Government of Nigeria’s request for leave to appeal, enabling the Government to appeal the Court’s recognition of the UK Arbitration Tribunal in the UK Court of Appeal.

“The UK Commercial Court also approved the Government’s application for a “stay of execution” which will prevent the plaintiff, P&ID, from enforcing the UK Arbitration Tribunal’s earlier judgment while this case is heard on appeal before the Court of Appeal,” the statement read in part.

In the statement, the Ministet of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) said he was happy with the court’s decision.

“I am pleased with today’s development in the court and see this as a positive resolution that constitutes an important step in the Government’s efforts to defend itself in a fair and just process.

“We look forward to challenging the UK Commercial Court’s recognition of the Tribunal’s decision in the UK Court of Appeal, uncovering P&ID’s outrageous approach for what it is: a sham based on fraudulent and criminal activity developed to profit from a developing country,” he said.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports Mohammed, Malami, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, the Inspector-Gewneral of Police, Mohammed Adamu and the Acting boss of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu had been in the UK since the beginning of the week over the case.

The court had in a ruling on Aug. 16 authorised , a little known Irish engineering and project management company, Process and Industrial Developments Ltd. (P&ID) to seize the 9.6 billion dollars, about N3.5 trillion in Nigerian assets over the failed contract.

The court ruling was a fallout of a botched 20-year Gas and Supply Processing Agreement (GSPA) and the subsequent award made in July 2015 in favour of P&ID, by an arbitration panel sitting in London.

The GSPA was purportedly entered into in 2010 between the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and P&ID.

In the failed contract, P&ID was to build a gas processing facility to refine associated natural gas into non-associated gas to power the national electric grid.

For its part, the Ministry was to build pipeline to supply gas to P&ID facility to be located in Adiabo, Odukpani LGA, Cross River state.

The agreement went sour because the company which did not build any facility at the agreed site, blamed the Ministry for not constructing the pipeline for gas supply alleging that it had committed 40 million dollars into the contract. (NAN)

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CGC Raises Concerns, as Customs Intercepts Cannabis, Codeine Worth N4.1b

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From Anthony Nwachukwu, Lagos

The Comptroller-General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi, has warned of the severe and devastating effects of the growing misuse and abuse of drugs on the youth and the society at large, as the agency intercepted cannabis indica and codeine worth N4.

1 billion.

Adeniyi spoke in Lagos over the weekend while showcasing the unwholesome imports comprising 1x40ft container of regulated, unregistered pharmaceuticals and another 1x40ft container of illicit psychotropic substances intercepted by the Tin Can Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).

He disclosed that one of the 1x40ft containers No. GAOU 669921/5 imported from Canada, with approximate street value of N3.

216 billion, concealed three plastic drums with several packets of cannabis indica and 46bags of 2,144 packets of cannabis indica – all weighing 1,072kg.

The other contained 877 cartons of Barcadin cough syrup with codeine (200 bottles of 100ml per carton), and 82 cartons of Really Extra Diclofenac Sodium 50mg tablets (600 packs per carton) from India. The approximate street value of the cough syrup is N964.340 million.

According to him, the agency has made concerted efforts to prevent illegal entry and exit through diverse routes and means of conveyances, leading to a number of successfully executed interceptions and seizures of illicit drugs, arms and ammunition, illegal wildlife and petroleum products at various locations in recent months.

However, “these interceptions have brought to light a concerning trend wherein criminal networks engage in collaborative attempts to subvert the competency of the agencies tasked with mitigating the trafficking of such illicit substances,” he noted.

 “The misuse and abuse of drugs, particularly cannabis indica and codeine, pose severe dangers to our society. Codeine, a restricted drug in Nigeria, has been widely abused, leading to devastating effects on our youth.

 “This substance not only impairs the health and well-being of individuals but also contributes to the rise in criminal activities.  Cannabis indica, similarly, has become a significant concern, with its abuse leading to mental health issues, addiction, and social problems.

 “Unchecked activities involving restricted items serve multiple purposes for criminal elements. These drugs, for instance, are used as stimulants by criminals, further fueling societal unrest and instability.

 “Additionally, the proceeds from the illicit drug trade are often used to finance disruptions by non-state actors, posing a significant threat to our national security and economic stability.”

Nevertheless, Adeniyi noted that within its mandate of obstructing harmful and illegal substances from Nigerian communities, the NCS “will continue to work closely with relevant national and international agencies to conduct operations that lead to the interception of illegal goods and the disruption of criminal networks.

He disclosed that investigations were ongoing to bring perpetrators to book, while warning those engaging in illicit activities of the NCS’ unwavering vigilance and dedication to protecting the society and ensuring that all Nigerians benefit from a stable and prosperous economy.

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Investing in Davido, Meme Coins Highly Risky – SEC

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja

The Security and Exchange Commission has warned that investing in meme coins, including $Davido, is highly risky and should be done with a full understanding of the associated risk.

According to the Commission in a Circular, “The attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Nigeria (“SEC”) has been drawn to a meme coin known as “$Davido” allegedly linked to the popular Nigerian singer, David Adedeji Adeleke AKA Davido.

“Generally, meme coins are crypto-currencies inspired by memes and internet jokes. They are often envisaged as fun, light-hearted crypto-currencies promoted through a social media community and sometimes through celebrity endorsements”.

The SEC further stated that Meme coins are also NOT intended to serve as a medium of exchange accepted by the public as payment for goods and services, or as digital representation of capital market products such as shares, debentures, units of collective investment schemes, derivatives contracts, commodities or other kinds of financial instruments or investments.

The Commission therefore advised the general public that meme coins lack fundamental value and are purely speculative.

“The general public is further WARNED that investing in meme coins, including $Davido, is highly risky and should be done with a full understanding of the associated risk.

“Capital Market Operators are by this Notice warned not to associate with instruments that fall outside the SEC’s regulatory purview. Such instruments should not in any manner be distributed or monitored through any capital market mechanism”.

The SEC also emphasised that the Commission does not recognize $Davido as an investment product or investable asset class under its regulatory purview, as such individuals who patronize it, do so at their peril.

“The Commission will continue to monitor developments within the ecosystem and will not relent in deploying its regulatory powers as and when required” , the circular added.

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Blue Economy Targets Top Spot in PEBEC – Oyetola

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From Anthony Nwachukwu, Lagos

Mindful of the sector’s critical role in economic diversification and sustainable development, the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy aims to place Nigeria tops in the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) by achieving ease of doing business and fostering a conducive environment for trade and investment.

To this end, the Minister, Adegboyega Oyetola, said the ministry plans to elevate Nigeria’s maritime sector to global standards and has prioritised the implementation of the national single window and port community system to automate port processes, in order to enhance operational efficiency and attract investments.

Oyetola, who spoke at the BusinessDay Maritime Conference in Lagos Thursday, disclosed that the ministry has already reported significant progress in revenue generation, driven by innovative strategies to block revenue leakages and explore new sources within the marine and blue economy sector.

Others include ongoing efforts to upgrade infrastructure, such as the development of inland dry ports and modernisation projects at key ports across the country, while public-private partnerships (PPPs) in advancing port modernisation, dredging activities and deploying cutting-edge maritime technologies remain important.

He further announced plans for the development of additional deep-sea ports on a PPP basis to further bolster Nigeria’s maritime capabilities.

Acknowledging the significant contributions of participants in shaping the discourse in Nigeria’s marine and blue economy, Oyetola expressed hope that insights from the conference would drive positive transformations and propel Nigeria towards greater economic prosperity through the harnessing of its vast maritime resources.

He restated his commitment to developing a dynamic national policy framework for the sector by the end of the year, while urging all stakeholders to continue working together towards realising the sector’s full potential, ensuring sustainable growth and inclusive development across coastal communities.

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