Further to his recent announcement engaging international law firms to lead the global effort to address legal and political-based issues, the Aiteo Group (www.AiteoGroup.com) and Benedict Peters, its Executive Vice Chairman have appointed top Nigerian lawyers to complement their international representation efforts within the country.
The team, led by Chief Wole Olanipekun, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (“SAN”), a former leader of the Nigeria Bar, comprises senior lawyers Kanu Agabi SAN and Chief Akin Olujinmi, SAN, both former Attorneys General and Ministers of Justice of the Federation, reknown Constitutional and Human Rights Lawyer Chief Mike Ozekhome SAN, Messrs Paul Usoro, SAN, Rotimi Ogunesi SAN and A U Mustapha, SAN. All Senior Advocates (the equivalents of Queen’s Counsel in the United Kingdom) are distinguished practitioners at the apex of legal practice in Nigeria. Others lawyers include Ebenezer Obeya, Chief Andrew Oru, Mrs Boma Alabi, Messrs Chidi Nobis-Elendu, Emeka Ozoani and Joseph Nwatu.
Olanipekun, who is described as Nigeria’s Avant-Garde lawyer, is referred to as of Nigeria’s leading trial lawyer. Kanu Agabi, an accomplished litigator, served Nigeria twice as Attorney General as did Akin Olujinmi whose core practice is also litigation. Mike Ozekhome’s reputation as one of Nigeria’s foremost Constitutional Law and Human Rights advocates draws from a lifelong career of fighting oppression and injustice through courts and social advocacy. Paul Usoro is a nationally acclaimed litigation and transaction expert whose core areas span the gamut of commercial law practice. Excellent all-rounders Ogunesi (of the stable of Abdullahi Ibrahim, SAN, also a former Attorney General of the Federation) and Mustapha make up the team of Senior Advocates. Others in the team include Security law expert Ebenezer Obeya, dual qualified and former President of the Commonwealth Lawyers Association Boma Alabi as well as the combative Andrew Oru.
Announcing these appointments, Andrew Onyearu, Aiteo Group Executive Director and General Counsel said
“The Group’s belief in the Rule of Law and the legal processes in Nigeria require engagement with both commitment and premium resources. Recently, our conviction in the infallibility of our judicial processes continues to be vindicated by judicial pronouncements deprecating the unjustified calumnious attacks on our business and personal outlook. Our respect for this process mandates that those who advocate positions on our behalf possess and demonstrate the type of world-class credentials that our lawyers clearly possess.” He further observed that “…at the fulcrum of this stance is that desire to ensure that the course of justice is charted with the utmost sense of application, responsibility and expertise”. Quite significantly, he states that “…the Group has been adversely affected by a lithany of unsustainable unlawful developments affecting both reputational and commercial integrity in a manner that has negatively impacted its operations. The Group can no longer allow this situation to continue and as such, has resolved to take steps to protect all its legal interests. Recent positive – and ground breaking – outcomes from judicial interventions that we have achieved serve as clear pointers about the direction that we are now pursuing. Increasing the successful utilization of the judicial process in areas where we have been wronged will be the main objective of the team we have now put together.”
The scope of the work to be undertaken by the team will span the breadth of contentious legal work. It is understood, specifically, that one of its early mandates is to review defamatory publications commonly referred to as “open source” materials in which Aiteo and Peters have been featured in the last few years and to redress these fabricated insinuations by all available means including court actions, a process which appears to have already started.
NSITF board to investigate suspended MD and others over financial misconduct
The board of directors of the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) has revealed that it will investigate the activities of the suspended Managing Director, 3 Executive Directors, and 8 other senior management staff over financial breaches and gross misconduct.
This was disclosed by the Chairman of the board of NSITF, Mr. Austin Enajemo-Isire, in a statement in Enugu on Sunday July 5, 2020.
Enajemo-Isire said that the Managing Director and other top management staff of the organization would have the opportunity to clear themselves of any wrongdoing with the probe panel which was being set up.
While reacting to claims that the suspension did not follow due process as President Muhammadu Buhari did not approve it, Enajemo-Isire said that the approval for the suspension of the affected staff had been conveyed to the Labour Minister in a correspondence referenced SGF. 47/511/T/99 of June 30, 2020.
According to the Chairman, “The minister has conveyed this approval and directives to me for necessary action in terms of setting up a board-driven investigative panel.
“This is to give the affected officers the opportunity to clear themselves of the financial and procurement breaches and acts of gross misconduct and other infractions that gave rise to their prima facie indictment.
“It is in this light that I have decided to call a virtual meeting of the management board on Tuesday, July 7, 2020, to consider the modalities for our action.”
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He, therefore, appealed to staffers of NSITF and their social partners to keep calm and exercise restraint.
A few days ago, Nairametrics reported the suspension of the Managing Director and some senior management staff over corruption allegations. However, the management in its reaction debunked that claim and said that the President did not approve their suspension but that rather, it was the sole decision of the Labour Minister, Chris Ngige, who they said was overreaching himself.
Nigerian Content Intervention Fund increased to US$350 million
The fund expansion was one of the decisions taken at the board’s recent meeting.
The governing council of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCMB) announced on Sunday that it has approved a $150 million expansion of the Nigerian Content Intervention Fund, raising it from $200 million to $350 million.
Nigerian Content Intervention Fund Increased to US$350M
The Governing Council of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has approved the expansion of the Nigerian Content Intervention Fund from US$200 million to US$350 million.@NigeriaGov pic.twitter.com/Y0TtDzwALq
— NCDMB (@OfficialNCDMB) July 5, 2020
The fund expansion was one of the decisions taken at the board’s recent meeting on June 16, 2020, chaired by Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, H.E. Chief Timipre Sylva, who is also the Chairman of the Council.
The board said that $100 million from the additional fund would be used to boost five existing loan products, which include manufacturing in the oil and gas industry, asset acquisition of rigs, marine vessels, contract financing for Nigerian oil service providers, contract financing for oil and gas community contractors, and loan refinancing with Nigerian banks.
The council also announced that $20 million and $30 million would be used for 2 newly developed loan product types (the Intervention Fund for Women in Oil & Gas and PETAN Products) which include Working Capital loans and Capacity Building loans for PETAN member companies.
Started in 2017, the Nigerian content Intervention fund was developed as a $200 Million fund managed by the Bank of Industry, to facilitate on-lending to qualified stakeholders in the Nigerian oil and gas industry on five loan product types.
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The NCI Fund is a portion of the Nigerian Content Development Fund (NCDF), aggregated from the one percent deduction from the value of contracts executed in the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry.
According to the NCMB, “About 94 percent of the NCI Funds has been disbursed to 27 beneficiaries as at May 2020.”
Seplat gives notice of board meeting, to consider Q2 financial result
The notification is in conformity with the rules of the Nigerian bourse on the obligations of the issuer.
The indigenous oil and gas firm, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc has given notice of its board of director meeting which has been scheduled for Tuesday, July 28, 2020 through a teleconference in Lagos between 10 am and 3 pm.
This was disclosed in a notification that was sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on July 3, 2020 and signed by the oil firm’s Company Secretary, Edith Onwuchekwa.
The notification is in conformity with the rules of the Nigerian bourse on the obligations of the issuer, in this case, Seplat, to notify the Exchange at least 14 days ahead of the due date and time when the board of directors hopes to meet to discuss its financial results.
The notification from Seplat states, ‘’In line with the rules of the NSE on the obligation of the Issuer to notify the Exchange at least 14 days in advance, in respect of the date and time when the board of directors will meet to discuss its Q2 2020 Financial Results, we wish to state the meeting details as follows,’’
‘’Date: Tuesday 28th July 2020, Venue: Via Teleconference, Lagos, Time: 10.00am – 3.00pm’’
Seplat, in its statement, also said they were going to notify the Exchange of the details of the Board’s decision on the 2020 second-quarter financial results immediately after the meeting as required by the rules.
Nairametrics had earlier reported that following the global oil crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, the oil and gas firm, in its released financial statement, announced that revenue declined from $159.5 million in Q1 2019 to $130.5 million in Q1 2020. That represented an 18.2% drop.
The gross profit dropped from $81.4 million in Q1 2019 to $33.1 million in Q1 2020. This shows a drop of 59.3%. The profit before deferred tax showed a loss of $105.8 million in Q1 2020 as against the profit before deferred tax of $35.8 million that was achieved in Q1 2019. This represented a huge drop of 395.5%.
The company’s CEO, Austin Avuru, said that as part of its strategy, Seplat was shifting focus to its gas business which is less exposed to the oil price drop which is currently ravaging the upstream sector.
The current share price of Seplat on the Nigerian Stock Exchange is N386 per share as at July 3, 2020.