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Intels Nigeria Limited (INL), a company co-owned by former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, has vowed to sue the Buhari government over termination of its Pilotage Agency Agreement by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).

Intels on Wednesday, disclosed that following a letter from the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to the Managing Director of NPA, Ms. Hadiza Bala-Usman, directing termination of the pilotage agreement, NPA ended the contract on Tuesday, October 10, 2017, without inviting it as the other party to the agreement for negotiation or due recourse to the terms of the agreement that specify conditions precedent before a party can exit the contract.

Intels stated that that the termination of the agreement which was conveyed to the firm in a letter signed by the NPA boss on Tuesday, was “clearly preposterous and the consequences highly injurious” to the interests of Nigeria.

Intels said the action by NPA would force it to reconsider its multibillion dollar investment at the Badagry deep seaport in Lagos, adding that the investment would have created thousands of direct and indirect jobs for Nigerians.

It noted it had invested too much in the country and if the Nigerian government was not prepared to respect the sanctity of its contract, it was ready to head to the courts to challenge NPA’s action.

Intels gave NPA seven days from Wednesday to reconsider the residual critical areas of their relationship and to agree, to the possible extent, on a common solution, failing which it shall head to arbitration.

It further divulged that the NPA was indebted to it to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Intel in a letter signed by a Director of Intels, Mr. Silvano Bellinato, to Bala-Usman, the company said: “With reference to your letter received on October 10th 2017, allegedly terminating the Agency Agreement between Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and INTELS Nigeria Ltd (INL), we formally contest the contents of the same for the reasons stated below:

“On March 15th 2017, we received your letter ref: HQ/F&A/ED/AD/INTELS/034 in which, in addition to other contents, the following points were stated:

“Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) acknowledged a debt towards Intels Nigeria Limited (INL) in the sum of 674,767,415.00 US$ (in addition to the interests accrued in the meantime);

“NPA communicated the need to reconcile the sum of 109,000,000.00 US$ for the additional works carried out;

“NPA informed INL about the implementation to be discussed in respect of a ‘transit account’ called NPA service boat revenue collection account domiciled at one of the banks indicated by you and the related standard operating procedures (SOP);

“NPA confirmed 28% agency commission to INL and the 72% balance to be shared between NPA and INL in the ratio 30:70.

“On March 27th 2017, we replied to every point in your letter of 15th March as stated below:
“INL took note of NPA’s acknowledgement of debt;

“INL declared availability to meet NPA in order to discuss the details for the certification of the 109,000,000.00 US$ for the additional works carried out;

“INL requested for postponement of the SOP application.

“On April 19th 2017, NPA acknowledged our acceptance of NPA’s proposal in respect of 28% agency commission (already included in the existing running Agency Agreement) and in particular to the 30% – 70% split, respectively to NPA and INL, related to the 72% balance. This would imply that the 30% is to be remitted on a monthly basis to NPA while the 70% is to be applied towards reducing the indebtedness to INL.

“Regarding the TSA application, NPA reiterated the strategic importance of such a request. However it is noted that TSA was not part of the existing agency agreement between the parties.”

The company said that on May 5th 2017, it replied NPA’s letter of April 19th 2017 proposing the opening of a jointly signed account between INL and NPA in which the boat service revenues would have been directed.

“Afterwards the account holders, with relative proxies, would remit the respective portions due to the parties, being 30% in favor of NPA and 70% in favor of INL.

“In the same letter we indicated our availability to identify the bank, from among the ones indicated by NPA; regarding the reasons of our proposal we firmly reiterated the precariousness of our financial status, mainly attributable to the credits towards NPA and heavily financed by various credit institutions.

“Such circumstances rendered alternative solutions to the ones suggested by us unviable, and also taking into consideration the inapplicability of TSA to running contracts in the manner proposed by NPA.

“Clearly, deduction of entitlements due to INL from collections under the Agreement, and payment of the balance into the designated NPA account for TSA purposes, would be in compliance with the TSA policy.”

Intels maintained that the decision by NPA to terminate the Agency Agreement, which was totally unexpected in consideration of the meetings held by the parties and exchange of letters, was clearly preposterous and the consequences highly injurious to the interests of the company.

“Hence, in compliance with the Article 12 of the Agency Agreement between the NPA and INL, we hereby request you to schedule a meeting within seven days from the date of this letter, in order to analyse the residual critical areas of our relationship and to agree, to the possible extent, on a common solution.

“Should this not happen, we hereby notify you that, in accordance with Article 13 of the Agreement, we will refer the matters to arbitration, in order to safeguard our company from the significant damages and other adverse consequences that may result from this rather unbecoming decision.

“We wish to reach an amicable solution as soon as possible for this complicated matter so that we can avoid to request for the intervention of the court for the immediate payment of any amount due to us from NPA, also in light of the likely pressure for action from our banks, which we may be compelled to do, despite our unwillingness,” the company stated in the letter.

Intels also warned that the “unjustified decision” by NPA would hurt Nigeria’s international credit rating and scare away the much needed foreign direct investment.

“Among them we cannot avoid to mention Intels itself, which has planned to make the investment for the largest African port in Badagry, for an amount of several billions dollars,” the company stated.

According to Intels, “For information purposes only, we recall that on November 8th, 2013 (Art. 2.2) an agreement with the NPA has been signed binding it, without any doubt, to reimburse the investments made on its behalf at FOT Onne – Phase 4B (and also under separate agreement for Eko Support projects) with the 100% of the incomes generated through the pilotage activities, which means that repayment will be made out of the 72% to be reserved to yourselves under the SOP proposed by NPA.

“Given that, it is clear that the said agreement sets the substantial transfer of the receivable in favour of our company, which cannot be disregarded and that only a subsequent agreement as the one the parties are negotiating (70%-30%) may modify, in your exclusive interest.

“Our relationship has always been characterised by timely execution of projects undertaken on behalf of NPA as well as operational efficiency, which has variously been acknowledged by NPA.

“It is also easy for you to ascertain the regularity and timeliness of the payments made by us on a monthly basis for the lease of facilities and throughput fees, equal to an amount of over 170 million US$ since the award of the concession.

“On July 26th, 2017 a joint technical meeting was held with the aim of reconciling the credit/debit balances between our entities, confirming the amounts due to our company. On that occasion, the request to postpone the issuance of a credit note in our favour related to the interests matured on the said amount was raised, for budget and financial statement needs.

“We mention this point only to confirm, should it be required, the effective and constructive cooperation existing between our respective entities, which contrasts sharply with your decision as communicated in your letter of today (Tuesday) and makes it even more unexplainable.”

BIG STORY

Pay Me Before You Leave Office!!! Lawyer Demands N600 million Unpaid Legal Fee From Fayose

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A lawyer based in Ado-Ekiti, capital of Ekiti state, Owoseni Ajayi, has written to the state governor Ayodele Fayose to pay him outstanding legal fee amounting to N600 million.

Ajayi, who was Fayose’s lawyer before he was appointed attorney general and commissioner for justice, listed 13 high-profile cases he handled for the governor which have not been paid for.

In a letter to Fayose on Wednesday, he said he demanded N600 million at the rate of N50 million for each of the case listed subject to accruable interest.

He said the cases were not paid for by Fayose because he was financially handicapped at the time but now buoyant enough to make payment.

“You will recall that you never paid our chamber, Owoseni Ajayi & Associates for the services rendered throughout the time because of your financial incapacitation despite numerous demands because you were already out of office at the material time,” Ajayi said.

“It should be stressed that we never acted free because we are legal practitioners working for our legal fee nor offered you ‘pro bono’ service because you were not a pauper to be qualified for such a service,”

“We merely showed understanding up till now because of the prevalent circumstances verily known to you. And now that you have served another term as Governor of Ekiti State, you are financially strong enough to pay the said sum as demanded.”

“Sir, you will agree with us that a labourer deserves his wages. We thank you for your patronage and we also deserve commendation for having discharged our professional responsibility with diligence and without compromise.

“And, also for saving Your Excellency from several legal embarrassments.”

The cases include a defamation case: Ayo Fayose v Independent Communications Network Limited with suit number HAD/8/2004 and the appeal case emanating from the same suit marked CA/AE/58/2010; Federal Republic of Nigeria v Ayo Fayose with charge number FHC/C/179C/2006 which was a criminal case heard both in Lagos and Ado-Ekiti federal high courts until Fayose was discharged and acquitted in October 2014 and Peter Ayodele Fayose v Comptroller General of Prisons Suit Number: FHC/AK/CS/08/2008, which was about Fayose’s ‘controversial’ release from Ikoyi Prisons to face a murder charge in Ekiti.

Other cases listed include Peter Ayodele Fayose v EFCC appeal marked CA/I/144/2011, Peter Ayodele Fayose v the State marked HAD/16/2007 to stop his arraignment for murder by the Segun Oni administration, the appeal case that arose from it marked CA/14C14/2007 and the Supreme Court that emanated from it still pending marked SC449/2011; Peter Ayodele Fayose v EFCC and Inspector General of Police with Suit No: FHC/A14CS/85/2006 following his illegal removal from office and the appeal case that followed it IGP & AG Federation v Peter Ayodele Fayose marked CA/B/44/2007.

The last case mentioned was E-Eleven v Peter Ayodele Fayose and 2 Ors filed to frustrate his swearing-in to the office after winning the 2014 governorship election.

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BIG STORY

Why We Paid Constables, Others ‘Huge Amounts’ For Osun Poll – Police

Peter Okunoren

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The Nigeria Police on Wednesday offered explanations on why it paid policemen deployed for Saturday’s governorship election in Osun State what was considered to be a huge amount of money.

The explanation was offered by the Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood.

Moshood in a statement said the amount paid to the policemen were their Duty Tour Allowance for 10 days.

Reacting to a story on the payment, which some have termed as inducement, Moshood said: “It is imperative and incumbent on the Force to set the record straight and educate the writers of the story that the payment of allowance to Officers and Men of the Force and that of other Security and Safety Agencies complementing the Nigeria Police Force in election security is statutory and transparent in line with the Financial Regulations and Public Service Rules as it has to do with Duty Tour Allowance.

“To further disabuse the minds of members of the public who must have read the report and correct the mischief by the writers of the story, the following is the breakdown of the Duty Tour Allowance (DTA) entitlements paid to Police Officers and Men deployed for election duty in Osun State and other previous Gubernatorial elections held in Edo, Ondo, Anambra and Ekiti States.

“Ranks and File (Constable to Sergeant) – N5,000 DTA per Day X 10 Days = N50,000

“Inspector to Chief Superintendent of Police – N12,000 DTA per Day X 10 Days = N120,000

“Assistant Commissioner of Police – Assistant Inspector General of Police – N16,000 DTA per Day X 10 Days = N160,000

“Deputy Inspector General of Police – N20,000 DTA per Day X 10 Days = N200,000

“Consequently, either due to outright ignorance or deliberate mischief, the writers rushed to the press for purposes best known to them without a thorough check of what the Public Service Rules and Financial Regulations provide for every police personnel deployed for special duty, Election Duty and other ad-hoc duties as Duty Tour Allowance (DTA).

“The Force will continue to hold the media in a very high regard and as veritable partner in ensuring the protection of lives and property of all Nigerians, however, the Nigeria Police Force implores them not to allow the pages of their esteemed Newspapers to be used to publish unverified, misleading, mischievous and beer palour gossip.

“Members of the public are hereby enjoined to disregard, discountenance the story as untrue, misleading and misinformation.”

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BIG STORY

Ex-Kebbi Governor Writes Tinubu, Seeks Forgiveness For Ambode

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Former Governor of Kebbi State, Senator Adamu Aliero, has called on the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to allow Akinwunmi Ambode continue in office as the governor of Lagos despite the perceived political crisis between them.

Aliero, in a letter he personally signed and addressed to Tinubu, pleaded with the APC chieftain to allow Ambode retain the party’s ticket ahead of next year’s governorship election.

Aliero, a former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, while commending Tinubu for his immense contributions to the nation, the South West region and APC, also pleaded with him to give Ambode a second chance, adding that Lagos State and indeed the entire South West is crucial to the fortunes of the APC in the forthcoming general elections

According to Aliero: “I am writing this letter out of concern for the odious, concerning news in the media about your relationship with your protégée, Governor Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos State.

“I have known you for ages – long before you assumed the leadership of our great party, the All Progressives Congress, APC. You and I have, over the years, had cause to discuss Nigeria on many occasions; never have you, at any time, left any iota of doubt about your love – indeed, passion – for this great country and your desire to make optimal contribution to its growth and development…

“Lagos is growing faster than Nigeria because of your commanding and purposeful leadership. It would therefore not be too much for me to ask you to allow Ambode to retain the ticket of the party. No reward should be bigger for you than the victory of the APC at the forthcoming general elections.”

Continuing, Aliero, who hailed Tinubu’s leadership qualities and ability to spot, groom and nurture brilliant leaders, urged him not to pick a quarrel with Ambode, but rather use his image and status to secure victory for the party at the forthcoming general elections:

He said: “Our dear Asiwaju, knowing who you are – a visionary leader with a distinctively outstanding ability to identify and work with brilliant, focused and hardworking young men and women, I know of no endeavour that would have denied you your standing and image in the Nigeria of today. In view of your giant status as the undisputable leader of our great party and considering the times in which we are, I am certain that you will not, without good reason, pick a quarrel with Governor Ambode.

Lagos State, indeed the entire southwest, is crucial to the fortunes of the APC in the forthcoming general elections. It is in the same spirit that I want to plead with you not to spare any sacrifice that is necessary for the stabilization of the ship of our dear party in Lagos State.”

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