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BIG STORY

Court Orders Sale Of Obat Oil’s Febson Hotel To Offset N5bn Debt

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The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Jabi, Abuja, yesterday ordered the sale of an Abuja hotel owned by Obat Oil and Petroleum Limited to offset the N5 billion debt it owes Ecobank Plc.

The judge, Hassan Babangida, gave the other in a suit filed by Ecobank.

The hotel in question, Febson Hotels & Malls, is located at Plot 2425, Herbert Macaulay Way, Abuja.

Obat Oil, the firm which owns the property, was founded by an oil mogul and popular monarch, the Olugbo of Ugbo Kingdom in Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State, Oba Fedrick Akinruntan, who was in 2014 ranked by Forbes magazine as the second richest king in Africa and the richest in Nigeria.

Ecobank through the application filed on October 18, 2019, sought the court’s authority to sell the hotel to recover the N5billion owed it by Obat Oil.

It claimed that it had reached an agreement with Obat Oil to sell the hotel to offset the company’s N5 billion debt, adding that the agreement was adopted by the High Court of Lagos State as a consent judgment delivered on March 15, 2017.

The bank, through its lawyer, Mr Kunle Ogunba (SAN), added that Obat Oil, in a November 16, 2019 letter, informed the bank that it had found a buyer for the hotel and would offset the debt with the proceeds of the sale.

It added that the company reneged on its promise to have the hotel sold and pay the N5bn debt on or before December 31, 2019.

Obat Oil’s lawyer, Mr. Olalekan Ojo (SAN), did not deny his client’s N5billion indebtedness but maintained that Ecobank was no longer the creditor because the bank had in a letter dated April 5, 2017, allegedly assigned its rights and interests in the case to a third party, ETI Specialised Finance Company Limited.

He said this implied that only ETI Specialised Finance Company Limited could assert any right over the N5bn judgment.

Delivering judgment yesterday, the judge held that Ecobank had the locus standi (legal right) to enforce the Lagos State High Court judgment.

Justice Babangida ruled that there was nothing placed before the court to show that the alleged transfer of the bank’s right in the N5billion to ETI was complete.

He noted that although the bank in its April 5, 2017 letter stated that ETI would act on its behalf, there was no evidence showing that ETI complied with the condition in the letter requiring it to give the debtor the bank account into which the N5billion should be paid.

“The judgment sum has not been paid till today and it was agreed by the parties that the property in question, Febson Hotels & Malls, should be sold in satisfaction of the judgment sum,” the judge added.

Granting the bank’s application, Mr Babangida ordered, “The court hereby orders the issuance of a writ for the attachment and for sale of the property known as Febson Hotels & Malls and the sum of N5 billion to be realized from the sale should be paid to the applicant.”

Meanwhile, Obat Oil immediately appealed against the judgment and filed an application for a stay of execution of the judgment yesterday.

Mr Ojo, the company’s lawyer, filed two grounds notice of appeal at the Court of Appeal in Abuja, contending that the trial judge “erred in law” by not declining jurisdiction to entertain and grant Ecoban’s motion on notice dated October 18, 2019.

The lawyer argued that the court ought to decline jurisdiction because the judgment debt sought to be enforced by Ecobank had been assigned to ETI Specialised Finance Company.

In another grounds of appeal, Obat Oil argued that the trial judge erred in law because he relied on the reply affidavit filed by the judgment creditor on November 5, 2019 “after the judgment creditor had started its address in respect of the motion on notice filed on October 1, 2019, without obtaining the leave of the trial court to file the said reply affidavit”.

The firm argued that the judge arrived at a decision that occasioned “grave miscarriage of justice” by relying on such reply affidavit.

In its motion for stay of execution of the judgment which it filed before the same trial judge at the FCT High Court, Jabi, on Thursday, Obat Oil sought an order of injunction and stay of execution restraining Ecobank from enforcing it pending the determination of its appeal against the said judgment.

BIG STORY

Only God Can Give Victory Over Insecurity —– Femi Adesina

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The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, says Nigerians who fail to commit the security situation into the hands of God could be guilty of indirectly prolonging the war against insurgency.

Adesina said this in an article on Thursday titled, ‘The Decent for the Indecent, the Just for the Unjust’.

The President’s aide noted that a short viral video showed a soldier and four others singing that victory is from God alone.

Adesina, however, said many Nigerians had failed to understand that only God gives victory.

He wrote, “But victory is from God alone. That is what we must realize as Nigerians. Do we ever pray for our troops in the frontlines? Do we remember those youths, our pride, and strength, faced by death daily, as we sleep in the comfort of our homes, ensconced in the tender bosom of our wives?

“As we pray; God give me money. Give me a car. Give me a promotion. Kill my enemies. Do it now. Do we ever remember our soldiers? Ere you left your room this morning, did you think to pray…did you pray for our soldiers? Victory comes from God alone. If you don’t pray, you may be guilty of prolonging the war in North-East, North-west, North-central, and all over Nigeria.”

The President’s spokesman said rather than understand the fact that only God can give victory, some Nigerians had become wailers.

“Yes, victory is from God alone. But do some people know? Does it ever enter into their consciousness? They only wail: ‘this insurgency war has lasted too long. The banditry has demystified our military. They are cowards. The top guns don’t even want the battle to end.

“They are making money in billions.’ Okay. Making money in billions and wasting our soldiers, our youths, our future, and hope, in their hundreds and thousands because of blood money. That is all some people see; permanent cynics and sceptics, who know nothing of altruism, and whose God is their belly. They think only of pecuniary gain, nothing else,” Adesina said.

He said as the nation marks this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day, Nigerians should seize the opportunity to pray for the military and encourage them and not run them down.

 

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JUST IN: Lagos Okays School Reopening January 18

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The Lagos State Government has affirmed its earlier pronouncement that all public and private schools in Lagos State below tertiary level should resume on Monday, January 18, 2021, for the second term 2020/2021 academic session.

This affirmation was made today by the Honourable Commissioner for Education, Mrs Folasade Adefisayo while noting that this is in line with the Federal Government’s resolution after reaching a consensus with relevant stakeholders.

Details later…

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Drama As Pigeons Released By Buhari Refuse To Fly At Armed Forces Remembrance [VIDEO]

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The doves, otherwise known as white pigeons, released by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), at the Armed Forces Remembrance Day ceremony, refused to fly despite multiple attempts by the President thereby sparking a debate on social media on Friday.

The President had opened the birdcage at the National Arcade, picked up one of the doves, and thrown it into the air but the bird landed atop the cage and refused to fly.

Buhari, who was eager to let the white pigeons fly, opened the roof of the cage in a bid to send them all out but the birds remained adamant and decided to sit on top of the cage’s roof.

The President, who appeared tired of trying, soon left the birds and returned to his seat. Moments after the President had left, however, some of the birds flew.

The ritual of releasing doves is to commemorate the life of a departed loved one and is common at significant events like funerals or memorials. It also signifies peace.

Studies show that domesticated doves that are used to living in cages are not always keen on flying.

The Vatican stopped the ritual in 2014 when Pope Francis released two birds that would not fly out of the window of the papal apartment and required several attempts to get the birds to fly out over a crowd of spectators.

A similar incident occurred just the year prior at an event where Pope Benedict XVI released doves during a Holocaust remembrance event. The doves were attacked by a gull, with one dove being singled out and injured, according to Wikipedia.

In 2014, the doves refused to fly when former President Goodluck Jonathan freed them. The Spiritual Director of the Adoration Ministry Enugu, Rev Fr. Ejike Mbaka, described the incident at the time as a sign that God had abandoned Jonathan.

The refusal of the birds to fly on Friday, however, sparked thousands of comments on social media.

A former presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress, Adamu Garba, said the birds should be eaten if they cannot do what they were trained to do.

“The pigeons are tired and overtime became lazy, they don’t want to fly the spirit of The Nigerian Flag. We should roast them at Suya joint and deploy Crowwe for action,” he said.

Social media personality, Morris Monye, said the Department of State Services would have arrested the pigeons for embarrassing the President if they could.

“I guarantee you… If it was possible, the DSS would arrest the pigeons for such an affront on the President. But really, is there peace, harmony, and security in the land?” he asked.

A former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, who is a known critique of the President, also tweeted, “Hmmm. Even the pigeons in Nigeria.”

 

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