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Oando Plc has described as false, the report that it had been ordered by the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) to pay Ansbury Investment Inc. $680 million, saying the calculated misinformation arose from a statement issued by the lawyer and legal counsel of Ansbury Investment Inc., Mr. Adrea Moja, following the LCIA’s ruling in London.

According to a statement by Oando, the LCIA ruling follows months of arbitration on a loan repayment dispute between Oando PLC’s Group Chief Executive, Adewale Tinubu; the Deputy Group Chief Executive Omamofe Boyo, beneficial owners of Whitmore Asset Management Limited and Gabriel Volpi the beneficial owner of Ansbury Inc.

The statement added that the dispute dates back to 2017 when Gabriel Volpi allegedly attempted to breach a loan repayment agreement between him and Whitmore Limited in the British Virgin Island.

Ansbury and Whitmore Limited incorporated a joint venture investment vehicle in the British Virgin Islands called Ocean and Oil Development Partners (OODP BVI). OODP BVI owns a 99.99 per cent stake in Ocean and Oil Development Partners (OODP Nigeria) who in turn owns 57.37 per cent stake in Oando PLC.

Contrary to media speculations, the LCIA had infact ruled that OODP BVI which Gabriel Volpi owns a 60 per cent stake in should pay Ansbury (his own company) a total sum of $600 million while Whitmore pay Ansbury $80million. Going by the ownership structure this implies that Gabriel Volpi would infact be paying himself $360 million.

The payment terms is yet to be released by the LCIA and is expected to be made known to the parities in the due course.

The dispute between Ansbury and the Whitmore principals arose when Gabriel Volpi called in his loan repayment before its due date, January 1, 2018. Volpi had allegedly invested $750 million used for Oando’s purchase of ConocoPhillips Nigeria assets.

He further breached the jurisdiction of the law governing OODP BVI by petitioning the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission accusing Oando PLC of ‘financial mismanagement and cooked books, a company his counsel claims he has a majority shareholding in, all a bid to recoup his loan from the principals.

Oando’s public documents has proven that the claim of Volpi’s shareholding is false. OODP Nigeria, as at the time of this report, remains the majority shareholder in Oando with a 57.37% stake in the company.

Gabriel Volpi has in the past few years been linked to several scandals in the country including the disagreement between his maritime company, Integrated Logistics Services Limited (INTELS) and the Nigerian Ports authority (NPA).

The NPA had instructed INTELS to comply with the Treasury Savings Account (TSA) in a project, which the logistics firm was handling for the agency. This instruction did not go down well with the INTELS as it argued that the TSA would affect the payment of its loan to the banks.

In a letter to the Managing Director of NPA, Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman, the Chief Executive Officer of INTELS, Andrews Dawes, at the time, made it clear that the TSA would cause a run on the finances of the company.

The altercation between the two heavyweights led to the cancellation of the project by NPA and brought to the forefront other underlying issues leading to the Federal Government’s (through NPA) decision to break INTELS’ monopoly, which was detrimental to indigenous companies in the oil and gas logistics sector.

Despite attempts to bring Oando and its principals to its knees, the company has successfully navigated through this difficult time and the reputational damage caused by the SEC saga. In 2017, the company recorded profits in all four quarters and more recently Oando recorded a N4.2 billion PAT in Q1 2018 and 19.8 billion PAT in its FYE 2017 financial results. Oando has recorded six consecutive profits since posting its FYE 2016 results.

Following the reputational and financial losses suffered by the company as a result of Volpi’s petition to the SEC, Oando kicked off 2018 by reaching a peace accord with one of its petitioners, Alhaji Dahiru Mangal in the bid to restore shareholder confidence in the brand.

In April, a two party consortium consisting of Oando PLC (“Oando”), in conjunction with its midstream affiliate, Axxela Limited (formerly known as Oando Gas & Power) and Oilserv Limited, were awarded the Engineering, Procurement, Construction (EPC) mandate for the Ajaokuta – Abuja portion (Lot 1) of the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano Pipeline system by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (“NNPC”).

The contract award follows an extensive due diligence process conducted by the NNPC following a submission by Oando and Oilserv in 2013 in response to an Expression of Interest for a contractor-financed EPC development of the AKK Pipeline Project. The US$727million Ajaokuta-Abuja Pipeline development is a 215km gas infrastructure with associated facilities such as Metering/Terminal Gas Station, Pigging Station, Block Valve Stations etc.

Much to the relief of its over 270,000 shareholders who suffered untold hardship as a result of the SEC crisis, the Commission gave the directive to lift the technical suspension on the shares of Oando. On its first full day of trading, Oando’s shares were already highly sought after. According to the Chief Compliance Officer and Company Secretary, Ms. Ayotola Jagun; “On day one, 178 million Oando shares were on bid with only 5.5 million available for sale. The Company’s share price hit the NSE daily price ceiling of 10% by 10.45am; further evidence that there is a lot of interest in Oando shares and that the general mood around the market and our shares is positive.”

Most recently, Oando Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC), Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), other indigenous and international oil companies in partnership with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) achieved a commendable feat with the signing of an agreement to implement Gas Projects worth $3.7 billion. The gas projects tagged ‘Seven Critical Gas Development Projects (7CGDP)’ is set to bridge the gas supply shortfall in the country. The 7CGDP is an integral part of the gas development strategy designed by the NNPC to leverage the full potential of gas to meet the target of generating at least 15 gigawatts (GW) of electricity by 2020. The agreement includes the development of the 4.3 trillion cubic feet (TCF) Assa North/Ohaji South field, the development of the 6.4 TCF Unitized Gas fields (Samabri-Biseni, Akri-Oguta, Ubie-Oshi and Afuo-Ogbainbri) and the development of 7 TCF Nigerian Petroleum Development Corporation’s (NPDC) OMLs 26, 30 and 42.

Like many other global brands, Oando took the risk of seeking an equity investment from Gabriel Volpi, one which hasn’t turned out in its favour. The company has been questioned for getting into bed with the devil. The answer to this question could lie in a desperate bid of two young Nigerian entrepreneurs striving to add value to the country by providing gainful employment both directly and indirectly to Nigerians as well as add its quota to the country’s GDP. A company that has successfully evolved from a downstream company to an active player in the full oil and gas value chain.

Volpi is presumed a cowboy investor and one who is not particularly interested in adding value to the Nigerian economy, community or impacting lives. Rather than creating a lasting positive impact, his actions have proven he is hell-bent on destroying value at all cost, even if it’s to the detriment of over 270,000 shareholders and over 25,000 lives impacted as a result of direct and indirect employment by Oando. In this instance, we must ask ourselves the following question, do we want one of Nigeria’s most prestigious oil and gas companies who has positively impacted the nation since inception to be destroyed?

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JUST IN: Orji Uzor Kalu Regains Freedom, Leaves Kuje Prison[PHOTO]

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Barely 24 hours after the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos ordered his release, Senate Chief Whip, and former Abia State governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, has regained freedom after six months of incarceration.

He stepped out of Kuje Correctional Centre this evening after the completion of his release formalities.

The court had transmitted the judgment as well as Warrant of Release duly signed by Justice Liman to the authorities of Kuje Correctional Centre, Abuja this morning to facilitate the senator’s freedom.

Justice Liman of the Federal High Court, Lagos had on Tuesday ordered the immediate release of Kalu. He also set aside the trial, conviction, and sentence of the former governor to 12 years imprisonment on December 5, 2019, in accordance with the earlier ruling of the Supreme Court.

In his ruling, Justice Liman ordered Kalu’s immediate release from prison as well as set aside the earlier trial and order given by Justice MB Idris that Slok Nigeria Limited be wound up and its assets forfeited to Federal Government.

Kalu had gone to court asking for his release in line with the Supreme Court’s judgment last month nullifying his trial and conviction.

The Supreme Court had ruled that since Justice Idris was elevated to the Court of Appeal, he had no jurisdiction to have concluded Kalu’s trial.

The apex court therefore nullified the conviction and ordered a retrial.

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#JusticeForBarakat: 18-Year-Old Undergraduate ‘Gang-Raped’, Murdered In Ibadan

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An 18-year-old girl, identified as Bello Barakat, was reportedly gang-raped and murdered by unknown men in Ibadan, Oyo state capital.

The incident was said to have occurred on Tuesday in the Akinyele area of Ibadan, Oyo state.

It was gathered that her dad found her dead body around their home after her body was examined, they discovered that she was raped, then she got murdered.

Bello Barakat, aged 18, was a year one student of the Federal College of Animal Health and Production in Ibadan.

It was gathered that she has been buried according to Islamic rites.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) Southwest, zone D has demanded justice for the deceased who was assaulted and murdered.

Her death has continued to attract outrage nationwide as Nigerians have taken to social media to express their displeasure over the rising cases of Rape in Nigeria with the hashtag #JusticeforBarakat.

Recall that Ms Omozuwa, a 100 level Microbiology student of the University of Benin, was assaulted inside a hall in the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Ikpoba Hill, Benin City on May 13, where she went to study.

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COVID-19: If You’re 55 And Above, Avoid Mosques, Churches For Now —- FG

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The Federal Government on Tuesday gave an advisory to Nigerians saying “If you are 55 years old and above, avoid churches and mosques’.

Those with health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, HIV, among others, are also enjoined to stay at home to worship, the government added.

It noted that the advice was necessary because places of worship have been recognised as a major avenue of the potential spread of Coronavirus.

The government stated this through the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 Control. It released the guidelines for states to follow in discussions with religious leaders before the reopening of churches and mosques for worshippers.

The government said the protocols made available would be the baseline which the states are not expected to go below while firming up an agreement with religious leaders.

Nigerians have been pressuring the government to reopen worship centres in spite of the spike in COVID-19 positive cases, leading to easing of restrictions on religious centres.

The PTF National Coordinator, Dr. Aliyu Sani, who announced the guidelines said religious centres should keep a record of attendees.

Dr. Sani said this would allow for contact tracing in the case of virus spread.

He urged worshippers experiencing common symptoms of COVID-19 to stay away from churches and mosques.

He said: “We are strongly advising vulnerable individuals such as those with underlying conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, HIV, cancer and those above the age of 55 years to please stay at home and consider remote participation or non-contact attendance.

“When we look at the death rate for persons who have died from COVID-19 in Nigeria, the case fatality rate; more than half of those that died were above the age of 50.

“Secondly, the case fatality rate if you are above the age of 50, is 17 per cent. If you are above the age of 55, it is 18 per cent. It is almost a one in five chances of dying if you catch COVID-19 and you fall within that group.

“Worshippers should be reminded not to attend in person if experiencing common symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough and shortness of breath or have had close contact with an infected person in the last 14 days.

“All worshippers noted to have a temperature or are symptomatic should be turned back and not allowed admission.

“Places of worship should ideally keep up to date record of their staff including contact details and if possible, a record of attendees of church services for instance or an even small mosque to enable contact tracing in the event that somebody comes up positive.

“Considering the dangers posed by the pandemic, we strongly recommend that religious visits to homes by religious clerics should be discouraged.”

The national coordinator said: “It is important to note that due to the nature of religious congregations, places of worship are particularly recognised to have a major potential for spreading COVID -19 infection among worshippers and this has been clearly demonstrated in several outbreaks globally linked to religious gatherings.

“Places of worship that are unable to comply with these measures should not be allowed to operate by state governments.

“Churches are to open from 5 am and close by 8 pm. Each service should be for a maximum of one hour with an interval of 20 minutes in-between services to allow time for disinfection.”

He said the task force will not hesitate to shut down religious centres if they fail to comply with the protocols developed for their reopening.

“These guidelines provide a baseline for the states to then develop their own policies specific to their areas depending on the prevalence of COVID-19, depending on whether or not people are likely to follow and comply fully.

“But we will be reviewing these guidelines from time to time and we will definitely review them if it looks like we are having issues with regards to this relaxation and I plead with the public to understand with us but more importantly, continue to stay safe.

“It is better to stay at home and worship than to go into a place of worship,” he emphasised.

Sani reminded Nigerians of the dangers posed by the virus, noting that now is not the time to relax measures against the pandemic.

“Let me make some clarifications because I understand there has been a lot of concern nationwide about the opening of places of worship.

“There is no doubt that COVID-19 is still around, there is no doubt that it is safer for you to stay at home and there is also no doubt that it is safer for you to worship at home.

“The PTF is providing safety advisory or guidance in the event that you need to upgrade your spiritual needs and you cannot do it at home but we are not making recommendations that people should go to places of worship but if they chose to, we are providing advisory to enable them to do so safely.

“COVID-19 has not gone away. You only need to look at the numbers. We are in the exponential stage of the illness. We have moved as a country right up to the third position in Africa and because of our population, we could also move to the second position or even the first.

“So now is the time to continue to take precautionary measures. Now is not the time to relax. I hope I have made that clear.

“In view of the widespread community transmission of COVID -19, it is important that places of worship operate in a safe manner to ensure the protection of public health, avoid outbreaks and safeguard the health of vulnerable members of the population.”

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