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2023: If Elected, I’ll Confiscate Undeveloped Oil Blocs, Privatise Refineries — Atiku

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Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), says he will not hesitate to prosecute and publish the names oil thieves, if he becomes president next year.

 

Abubakar said this on Saturday while interacting with Nigeria’s private sector at the business dialogue stakeholders forum held in Lagos.

 

He said if he becomes president, there will no longer be a hiding place for oil thieves and their accomplices, no matter how highly placed they are in the country.

 

The PDP presidential candidate also said he would, in the interest of national development, confiscate all oil blocs allocated to some Nigerians who have failed to make them operational.

 

“If you are not going to develop oil blocs given to you, we will take it away and give it to those who will develop it. We will also assemble the names of those involved in oil theft, publish the same and prosecute them,” the former vice-president said.

 

Speaking further on his plans to boost the oil and gas sector, Abubakar said under the administration of ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo the quota of oil production was earmarked for an increase to four million barrels per day.

 

“When we were in government, we started this process. However, there were hiccups. We were unable to pass the legislation to encourage IOCs to partake in the sector. We will go back to where we started,” he said.

 

Abubakar also said the Brass and Olokola LNG projects (started under the Obasanjo administration) will be given more attention under him.

 

“We will continue if we have the opportunity. As you know, joint ventures are good because they are investor-driven,” he said.

 

He reiterated his commitment to privatising the refineries in Kaduna, Port Harcourt and Warri.

 

“I swear to God, I’ll privatise them,” he said.

 

On challenges of foreign exchange (FX), monetary policy, Abubakar said Nigeria should have a forex policy that allows for convergence, adding that loopholes in oil output will be blocked to stabilise the FX market.

 

“I don’t believe in a multiple forex policy that currently applies,” he said.

 

“Regime loopholes in oil production would be blocked, [and] I would encourage local production and not control public expenditure.

 

“Dollarisation or otherwise of the Nigerian economy depends on the strength or weakness of our economy. If we strengthen our economy, you don’t need the dollar. The naira can be strengthened by the number of jobs created and exports.”

 

Abubakar further said the monetary policy would be such that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) would be independent, adding that the “monetary policy and other related items would be liberalised”.

 

“Without price stability, the economy does not work for anyone; and job creation and poverty eradication cannot be attained,” he added.

 

“CBN will take responsibility to deliver price stability despite the fact that inflation is a global phenomenon and a product of strong demand and limited supply.

 

“But none of these stops the CBN from carrying out its duty of price stability and single window fiscal regime.

 

“We were responsible for enacting the fiscal responsibility act (FRA). We tried to schedule repayment of debts and we succeeded. If we did that, you can trust us again to address the cure problems.

 

“With this experience, you should trust that we can bring the monetary policy back on track.

 

“This has grave consequences for job creation and long term growth. The key sectors are not growing or growing slowly. There are acute fiscal challenges. The manufacturing sector is declining. 133 million Nigerians are multidimensionally poor, meaning they have restricted access to education, healthcare, housing and rural facilities. These are the reasons we are engaging you today.”

 

On his part, Ifeanyi Okowa, PDP’s vice-presidential candidate, listed some problems facing the Niger Delta region.

 

“Community agitations, high powered illegal bunkering and breaching of oil pipelines by vandals are problems faced, but Atiku’s administration would embark on technology-driven surveillance and other solutions to tackle the problems,” Okowa said.

 

Meanwhile, stakeholders present at the meeting include: Aliko Dangote, chairman and chief executive officer, Dangote Group; Jim Ovia, founder of Zenith Bank; Femi Otedola, billionaire entrepreneur, Tony Elumelu, chairman, United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), Herbert Wigwe, CEO of Access Holdings Plc, and others.

BIG STORY

Court Restrains CBN From Extending Deadline On Use Of Old Naira Notes

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A federal capital territory (FCT) high court has compelled the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to go ahead with the full implementation of the naira redesign policy.

Delivering a ruling on Monday in a suit marked FCT/HC/CV/2234/2023, the court restrained the CBN from extending the deadline on the use of old naira notes.

The CBN, President Muhammadu Buhari, and several banks were included as defendants in the suit.

Eleojo Enenche, the judge of the FCT high court, ordered the CBN not to extend the deadline pending the determination of the suit.

“An order of interim injunction is hereby made restraining the defendants whether by themselves, staff, agents, officers, interfacing banks or whosoever not to suspend, stop, extend, vary or interfere with the extant termination date of use of the old N200, N500, and N1000 bank note being 10th day of February 2023, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice,” the court held.

The judge also made an order of interim injunction “directing and mandating the defendants whether by themselves, staff, agents, officers, interfacing banks or whosoever described to comply with, implement and give effect to the currency redesign and restructuring of the old N200, N500, and N1000 bank note on or before the last day of 10th of February, 2023, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice”.

The court further directed the bank heads, chief executive officers, managing directors, and/or alter egos “to forthwith show cause as to why they shall not be arrested and prosecuted for the economic and financial sabotage of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by their illegal act of hoarding, withholding, nor paying or disbursing the new N200, N500, and N1000 bank note, being the legal tender of the federal republic of Nigeria to their respective customers, despite supplies of each such currency note by the 2nd and 3rd defendants, thereby leading to the present scarcity of currency notes in circulation”.

The order will be for an initial period of seven days until the motion of notice is heard on February 14.

The plaintiffs are Action Alliance (AA), Action Peoples Party (APP), Allied Peoples Movement (APM), and National Rescue Movement (NRM).

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JUST IN: Court Jails Fidelity Bank MD, Onyeali-Ikpe, Bank’s Secretary

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A Chief Magistrate Court at Ogba, Lagos on Monday morning sentenced the Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, Nneka Chinwe Onyeali-Ikpe to six weeks imprisonment over disobedience of a garnishee order of court restraining the bank from allowing a judgment debtor access to his account.

Joined with the Managing Director to serve the imprisonment is the Company Secretary of the bank, Ezinwa Unuigboje.

Magistrate Lateef Owolabi gave the sentence sequel to a garnishee order he gave on December 6, 2022 asking 16 banks not to allow a judgment debtor, Prince Enabulele Ozaze access to his bank accounts pending the payment of N2.8 million judgment debt in suit involving the sale of a Toyota Corolla car.

In the main suit, Magistrate Owolabi had given judgment on October 13, 2022 in favour of the plaintiff, Jibrin Ahmed who sued the defendant over the payment of N2.8 million he made to the defendant for the purchase of a Toyota Corolla car. Magistrate Owolabi in the judgment said that the claim before the court is summons used in action for debt or liquidated money demand with or without interest. Liquidated demand, according to him, is one ascertainable as a matter of arithmetic precision without further investigation.

He then said: “I have examined the whole process filed by the claimant and hold that the claimant is entitled to judgment not necessarily because the defendant is absent, but because the claimant has made a case worthy of being entitled to judgment. The totalities of evidence presented are relevant and reliable”.

There magistrate thereafter entered judgment against the defendant in the sum of N2.8 million which is due to the claimant over the transaction that took place in July 2022.

In order to reap the fruit of the judgment, the claimant’s lawyer, Alayo Akanbi filed a garnishe proceeding before the court and attached 17 banks, and asked the court to stop the banks from allowing the defendant to draw money from his accounts with them pending the liquidation of the debt. The garnishe order was granted on December 6, 2022.

However, on January 25, 2023, the claimant, now judgment creditor deposed to an affidavit before the court where he showed that the garnishe order have been flouted by Fidelity bank. He showed instances of how the judgment debtor had been withdrawing funds from his account to the extent that he had depleted the funds in his account with Fidelity bank. He claimed that the judgment debtor has N3, 165, 759.05k in his account with Fidelity bank as at January 12, 2023 when the garnishe order was served on the bank.

By January 15, three days after service, the judgment debtor had withdrawn N725,547.80k from the account. The following day, January 16, 2023, another N251,305.90 was transferred out of the bank. On January 17, the legal officer of the bank Obianuju Nwosu confirmed service on the bank as at December 22, 2022 and further apologized for the transactions on the account.

On January 18, 2023, the court ordered that ordered that the Managing Director, and Company Secretary to appear in person before the court to explain why they should not be committed to prison for allowing the judgment debtor to dissipate the funds in his account after the service of the garnishe order nisi.

At proceeding on Monday February 6, the Managing Director and Company were not in court as ordered. Lawyer to the judgment creditor told the court how the two had disobeyed the garnishe order of the court.

Magistrate Owolabi in his ruling sentenced the Managing Director and Company Secretary to six weeks imprisonment each. He further ordered Lagos State Commissioner of Police and any officer under his command to arrest the duo, bring them to court for onward transfer to the appropriate correctional center.

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JUST IN: EFCC Chairman, Bawa Sent To Prison For Disobeying Court Order

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The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, has been committed to prison for disobeying court order.

The court also directed the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Baba Usman Alkali, to effect Bawa’s arrest and remand him in Kuje prison for the next 14 days until he purges himself of the contempt.

Justice R.O. Ayoola of the Kogi State High Court, in his judgement on Monday, granted the application for committal to prison of the EFCC chairman for disobeying a court ruling delivered on November 30, 2022, wherein the EFCC chairman was directed to produce the applicant in the case, Ali Bello.

Ali Bello had dragged Bawa to court for arresting and detaining him illegally, with the court ruling in his favour, only for the EFCC to arraign him for alleged money laundering three days after the ruling.

The EFCC’s applications for setting aside and stay of execution of the ruling were refused for want of merit.

The Court had, in Form 49, Order IX, Rule 13, marked: “HCL/697M/2022” and titled: “Notice to Show Cause Why Order of Committal Should not be Made,” asked the EFCC Chairman to appear before it on January 18, 2022 to explain why he should not be jailed for flouting the order given on December 12, 2022 in a case filed by Ali Bello against EFCC and Bawa, as the 1st and 2nd respondents, respectively.

The court ordered that EFCC and Bawa be served the motion of notice together with Form 49 by substituted means.

The court had declared the arrest and detention of the applicant in the face of a subsisting court order made by a court of competent jurisdiction and without a warrant of arrest “or being informed of the offence for which he was arrested” as unlawful, unconstitutional, and in contravention of the personal liberty and dignity of human person guaranteed under Chapter IV of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).

The court had also ordered the respondents to tender an apology to the applicant in a national newspaper and awarded N10 million compensation for him.

The Form 49, issued on December 15, 2022, and addressed to Bawa read, “Take notice that the Applicant will on the 18th day of January, 2023 at the hour of 9 o clock in the forenoon or so soon thereafter, apply to this Court for an order for your committal to prison for having disobeyed the order of this Court made on 12th day of December, 2022 that:

“That arrest and detention of the Applicant on the 29th November, 2022 by the 1st and 2nd Respondents in the face of a subsisting Court Order made by a Court of competent jurisdiction and without a warrant of arrest or being informed of the offence for which he was arrested is unlawful, unconstitutional and contravenes the Applicant’s right to personal liberty and dignity of human person guaranteed under Chapter IV of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Articles 5 and 6 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

“Perpetual injunction restraining the Respondents, their agents, servants, privies, or however called from further arrest, detention, harassment and intimidation of the Applicant.

“An order directing the Respondents to tender an apology to the Applicant in any of the National Daily having nationwide coverage for the illegal detention and harassment of the Applicant.

“An Award of the sum of Ten Million Naira as general damages jointly and severally against the Respondents for the unlawful detention and harassment of the Applicant.”

This followed an application by Counsel to Ali Bello, S. A. Abass.

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