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Business News

Shebah, Orjiakor ordered to pay three banks $144.2 million

African Export-Import Bank, Diamond Bank Plc and Skye Bank Plc to recover $144.2 million debts.

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Shebah Exploration & Production Company Ltd, Allenne Ltd and its president, Dr Ambrosie Orjiako have been ordered to pay African Export-Import Bank, Diamond Bank Plc and Skye Bank Plc a sum of $144.2 million.

The order was given by a Federal High Court sitting Ikoyi, Lagos. The court backed the judgment delivered by the High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division and upheld by the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.

Certifying the court judgments on March 28, the court ordered the defendants to comply with the judgment and denied the defendants permission to appeal it.

The payment of $144.2 million, according to the court, is the outstanding and accrued interest of a credit facility granted to the defendants in 2011.

How it all started

The first defendant, Shebah Exploration & Production Company Ltd is a Nigerian company engaged in oil exploration and production while the second defendant, Allenne Ltd is the guarantor of the borrowed loan.

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The third defendant, Dr. Ambrosie Orjiako, is the President of Shebah and a personal guarantor of the liabilities of Shebah and Allenne pursuant to a Deed of Guarantee and Indemnity dated July 1, 2011.

The claimants had dragged the defendants before the High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division in order to be able to recover an outstanding of the facility loan granted to them.

The claimants had applied for a summary judgment against the defendants for sums outstanding under a syndicated loan facility agreement totalling over $144.2 million, together with interest on those sums.

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They had prayed the court to determine whether it is arguable that, in entering the Facility Agreement, the parties were contracting on the claimants’ written standard terms of business so as to engage section 3 of the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1997 (‘UCTA’).

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In a judgment delivered by Justice Phillips of the High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division on February 19, 2016, the court said Shebah had taken the loan for purpose of discharging certain of its existing borrowing and to provide working capital for its operations, including funding for a work-over programme to stimulate production at oil wells in the Ukpokiti oil field.

According to the court, the defendants never denied that the claimants advanced $150 million to Shebah pursuant to the Facility Agreement, nor dispute that apart from paying one instalment of $6,111,111.11 in June 2012 but Shebah has failed to meet any further repayment instalment, despite the claimants agreeing to the deferral of several instalments.

The judge said in a previous proceeding, which commenced on March 11, 2014, the defendants agreed that, in exchange for the claimants’ discontinuing the proceedings, Shebah would repay all sums outstanding under the Facility Agreement in two tranches: $49.999,999.86 (with accrued interest) by April 30, 2014 and the balance of the loans and interest by July 1, 2014.

Justice Phillips added that Shebah failed to pay any part of the sum due on April 30, 2014.

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“The claimants were therefore entitled, under the terms of the Discontinuance Agreement, to commence fresh proceedings in respect of their claims.

These proceedings were commenced on June 2014, repeating the claims previously made and adding a claim against Shebah in respect of the $49.999,999.86 due under the Discontinuance Agreement”, the Judge said.

Phillips stated that notwithstanding their previous stance, the defendants now contended that no sums whatsoever are due to the claimants, adding that they (the defendants) have arguable defence to the claim.

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The judge, however, ruled that there is no merit in the defendants’ contention on the issues on the ground that there is simply no basis for inferring that the claimants, or any of them, habitually put forward the LMA form (or a tailored version of it) as a basis for their syndicated loan transactions.

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Famuyiwa Damilare is a trained journalist. He holds a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Mass Communication at the prestigious Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ).Damilare is an innovative and transformational leader with broad-based expertise in journalism and media practice at large. He has explored his proven ability in the areas of reporting, curating and generating contents, creatively establishing social media engagements, and mobile editing of videos. It is safe to say he’s a multimedia journalist.

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Coronavirus

Covid-19: Sanwo-Olu discloses how Lagos intends to fund vaccination programme

Lagos government has disclosed that it is in talks with the organised private sector to raise funds required to purchase vaccines.

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#EndSARS: Anyone found culpable in Lekki Toll Plaza shooting would be held accountable - Sanwo-Olu, Covid-19: Sanwo-Olu discloses how Lagos intends to fund vaccination programme

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has revealed how the state government intends to fund the vaccination programme as they fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Governor said that although the Lagos State Government had earmarked billions in fighting the scourge of the Covid-19, his administration was engaging with the private sector as the amount they had would not be enough.

This disclosure was made by the governor while appearing on a Channels Television programme, Sunday politics, on Sunday, January 24, 2021.

What the Lagos State Governor is saying

Sanwo-Olu said, “The conversations are still at various levels. We are speaking with the organised private sector so they can help us raise some of the finance that is required.

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“We have our friends in the private sector who are saying to us that they understand this is a public health issue but we also can work with you. The citizens are your citizens but they also are our staff.’

The governor also said that his administration did not need to vaccinate over 20 million residents of the state against the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

He said, “It is important for me to make this. We don’t have to vaccinate the 20 or 22 million population that we have. The plan is to ensure that there is herd immunity and that typically speaks about 50 to 60 percent of your population, that is the kind of target that you really meet.

“We have started a conversation with some of the vaccine manufacturers. Pfizer for example. I have made contact with them. Johnson and Johnson are not out yet; the Moderna has written to us and we have written back to them.”

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What this means

  • The Lagos State Government is looking for private sector participation to help raise funds to fund the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines due to budgetary shortfalls.
  • The state, which has become the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the country through the vaccination programme, is trying to get most of its population immune from the Covid-19 disease.

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Coronavirus

Cost of Ivermectin soars after research suggest 75% chance of cutting Covid-19 deaths

Ivermectin prices have risen after Research published by the International Ivermectin Project Team shows drug can reduce Covid-19 deaths

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As Azuka laid down in bed feverish, he had resigned to his fate believing he was not going to make it to the next day.

Just 3 days into the new year and all the fun he had, attending weddings and burial ceremonies in the east all seemed like a big mistake. He must have caught covid-19 at one of those events, he thought.

Since attending the last event, he fell sick and has been exhibiting the symptoms of Covid-19 and just waiting to die until someone recommended Ivermectin, a little known drug as a potential medicine that could help save his life.

READ: Only 68.8% of Nigerians believe Covid-19 is real – SBM Intel

A few days later he recovered and spread the news to friends and family – he believes Ivermectin cured him.

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The rush to purchase Ivermectin in Lagos has increased of late after stories similar to that of Azuka (not his real name) spread. As Nigeria’s caseloads rise past 120k cases, some Nigerians are increasingly worried about contracting Covid-19, rushing to pharmacies to purchase a drug that they all believe is the most portent to fight Covid-19.

READ: Hepatitis C drugs may be effective against COVID-19, virus may spread through high-rise buildings

What is Ivermectin?

According to the World Health Organisation, Ivermectin was originally produced in the 1980s as a veterinary drug used largely for nematode control in cattle, horses, pigs, and dogs and became the standard for control of the ectoparasitic disease, scabies. It soon became the world’s most profitable veterinary drug.

Since then, Ivermectin has been used on humans for controlling strongyloidiasis, a human pathogenic parasitic roundworm causing the disease strongyloidiasis. According to medical sources, it is also known in the US as threadworm, UK, and Australia as pinworms.

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In Nigeria, it has been used to treat worms, according to a pharmacist who spoke to Nairametrics.

READ: Nigeria, others to receive first-ever HIV generic drug for babies in the first half of 2021

“Originally it’s a worm expeller (Antihelminthic) used in the elimination of parasitic worms from the body. They use it in combination with doxycycline. They also use Vitamin C in combination with Axrthromycin.”

However, more recently, the drug is now being used for the treatment of Covid-19 pushing demands for the drug high across pharmacies in Lagos. A Nairametrics survey suggests the drug cost as high as N100,000.

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Another pharmacist who craved anonymity explains.

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“It was one of the available free drugs dispensed to patients at clinics in Nigeria – for eliminating different types of worms from the body. People usually don’t buy it from pharmacies because of the low price, thinking it’s not good quality tabled for expelling worms. It was not expensive and almost cost next to nothing, but now it sells for as high as N200 per tablet”

At N200 per tablet, a pack of 500 tablets could go for as high as N100,000. From all indications, the prices are unstable and could be purchased from as little as N20,000 per pack of 500 tablets to as high as N100,000. It all depends on demand and supply and who is under pressure to get a “cure”.

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READ: COVID-19: WHO warns against Gilead’s remdesivir drug approved by US FDA

Is the drug credible?

Several social media posts and videos allude to the efficacy of the drug in “preventing and curing” Covid-19 but this is yet to be certified by the WHO.

The drug however came into the limelight after a Financial Times article claimed the drug had a chance of cutting covid-19 deaths by up to 75%.

The article was based on research published by the International Ivermectin Project Team led by the University of Liverpool lecturer Andrew Hill. A Nigerian Olufemi Emmanual Babalola, from Bingham University/Lagos University, Nigeria is also part of the group.

READ: WHO study reveals new discovery about remdesivir drug’s effect on Covid-19 patients

Here is an excerpt of the result of the research conducted by the group

“Ivermectin was associated with reduced inflammatory markers (C-Reactive Protein, d-dimer, and ferritin) and faster viral clearance by PCR. Viral clearance was treatment dose- and duration-dependent. Ivermectin showed significantly shorter duration of hospitalization compared to control. In six RCTs of moderate or severe infection, there was a 75% reduction in mortality (Relative Risk=0.25 [95%CI 0.12- 0.52]; p=0.0002); 14/650 (2.1%) deaths on ivermectin; 57/597 (9.5%) deaths in controls) with favorable clinical recovery and reduced hospitalization. “

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Currently, the only other drug with the same level of worldwide unofficial approval for treatment of Covid-19 is Remdesivir, after it also showed an effect on improving recovery rate for Covid-19 patients.

READ: US Mission recognises Nigerian doctor who helped develop COVID-19 vaccine

The choice between waiting for a vaccine or self-medication

More recently, the search for cures for Covid-19 has been overshadowed by vaccine breakthroughs across the world. For most governments, preventing covid-19 is better than curing it which is why more effort is geared towards vaccine distributions and other preventive measures such as insisting on facemasks and introducing new lockdowns.

But for developing economies like Nigeria, where self-medication is prevalent, drugs like Ivermectin are easier to purchase over the counter as well as administer. Just like the demand for chloroquine, zinc, and vitamin C soared in the first wave of Covid-19, demand for Ivermectin is rising along with its price.

Fortunately, Ivermectin is backed by research even though the researchers expressed caution as more trials need to be conducted.

READ: Nigeria records 1,964 new cases of Covid-19, highest daily surge

“Despite the encouraging trend this existing data base demonstrates, it is not yet a sufficiently robust evidence base to justify the use or regulatory approval of ivermectin. However, the current paucity of high-quality evidence only highlights the clear need for additional, higher-quality and larger-scale clinical trials, warranted to investigate the use of ivermectin further.

“The maximum effective dose of ivermectin needs to be clarified and new clinical trials should use a consistent multi-day dosing regime, with at least 0.4mg/kg/day. The appropriate dose and schedule of ivermectin still requires evaluation and the current randomized clinical trials of ivermectin need to be continued until ready for rigorous review by regulatory agencies.” International Ivermectin Project Team 

Asides Ivermectin, Nigerians have also resorted to traditional medicine such as a beverage of lemongrass, dogonyaro leaves, garlic, ginger, and bitter kola to prevent and cure Covid-19, despite orthodox vaccines proven to be effective.

Perhaps it is because no one is sure when the vaccine will get to Nigeria after it was initially meant to arrive in January and since pushed to February 2021. And even if it does arrive in Nigeria, most people do not believe it will get to ordinary Nigerians on time especially when they cite the way the Covid-19 palliatives was handled.

For now, the need for self-reliance is driving people towards any drug they believe can cure covid-19.

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Obituaries

Veteran talk-show host, Larry King dies at 87

Legendary longtime CNN talk show host, Larry King is dead.

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Larry King, the multiple award-winning TV and radio host has died at the age of 87.

King who had a long-running show on CNN, Larry King Live was a household name for his many interviews with political leaders, celebrities and newsmakers.

King’s death was announced on his official Twitter handle stating that he passed on Saturday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, USA.

The statement read in part:

“With profound sadness, Ora Media announces the death of our co-founder, host and friend Larry King, who passed away this morning at age 87 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

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“For 63 years and across the platforms of radio, television and digital media, Larry’s many thousands of interviews, awards, and global acclaim stand as a testament to his unique and lasting talent as a broadcaster.”

The statement did not however, reveal the cause of death, but sources say King was hospitalised for COVID-19 in early January.

Since the news broke, friends, colleagues and admirers have taken to different social networks to express their sadness and condole with the family of the celebrated broadcaster.

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What you should know about Larry King

  • King rose to fame in the 1970s with his radio programme The Larry King Show, on the commercial network Mutual Broadcasting System.
  • He hosted the Larry King Live on CNN for 25 years, between 1985 and 2010, carrying out more than 30,000 interviews, including every sitting president from Gerald Ford to Barack Obama.
  • King also wrote a column for the USA Today newspaper for over 20 years.
  • After leaving CNN, King hosted another programme, Larry King Now, broadcast on Hulu and RT, Russia’s state-controlled international broadcaster.

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