15 Feb

Daily Watch – NPA ejects NAFDAC from ports, Shell trumps Delta communities in London courts

  • Annual inflation in Nigeria slowed for the 12th month in a row in January to 15.13 percent, compared with 15.37 percent in December, the NBS said on Wednesday. A separate food price index showed inflation at 18.92 percent in January, compared with 19.42 percent in December. “The rise in the food index was caused by increases in prices of imported food in general as well as bread and cereals, milk, cheese … meat, potatoes and other tubers,” the NBS said in a report. Yemi Kale, head of the NBS, last month said he expected the rate of inflation to fall faster this year compared with 2017, but activities leading up to presidential elections next year could stoke prices.
  • An ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives on Tuesday summoned CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, over ₦17 billion non-performing loans recorded by the National Economic Reconstruction Fund. Aso appearing before the committee, chaired by Hon. Ayodele Oladimeji from Ekiti are the Managing Director of the NDIC, Umaru Ibrahim and the MD of the Bank of Industry, Olukayode Pitan. The committee is investigating reports that NERFUND went bust as a result of the loans, following which the FG hurriedly merged it with the BoI. Among the allegations were that “acolytes of the management” and some NERFUND staff were among the beneficiaries, including one in which some members took a ₦500 million facility with a repayment period of up to 20 years at a one percent interest rate.
  • The Court of Appeal in London ruled on Wednesday that two Nigerian communities cannot pursue Royal Dutch Shell in English courts over oil spills in the Niger Delta. The split decision upheld a High Court ruling last year that was a setback to attempts to hold British multinationals liable at home for their subsidiaries’ actions abroad. The court rejected the appeal from law firm Leigh Day on behalf of Bille and Ogale communities and upheld a ruling that English courts do not have jurisdiction over claims against Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC). Shell said the court “rightly upheld” the earlier ruling, and said Nigeria’s “well-developed justice system” was the correct place for the claims. Its subsidiary SPDC has also denied responsibility for the spills, which it says were due to sabotage and illegal refining. King Okpabi, the ruler of the Ogale community, said the English courts were the only hope, and that they “cannot get justice” in Nigeria. Leigh Day said the two Nigerian communities intended to bring the case to Britain’s Supreme Court.
  • The NPA has given some MDAs a 24-hour ultimatum to vacate Nigeria’s seaports. Among the affected agencies are NAFDAC and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria. According to a statement signed by NPA spokesman, Abdullahi Goje, the directive is in line with a new order issued to the NPA by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council. The NPA says only eight federal agencies are allowed to operate and have physical representation at all ports. Goje said the agencies allowed representation at the ports were the NPA; the Customs Service; NIMASA; the Nigeria Police; the DSS; the Nigerian Immigration Service, Port Health and the NDLEA.
  • AMCON has taken over the assets of the Daily Times of Nigeria. According to a statement signed by AMCON spokesman Jude Nwauzor, Gbenga Fakoya took over the assets on behalf of AMCON on Monday. The FG owned 96.05 percent of Daily Times before it was sold to Folio Communications in 2004 during the Olusegun Obasanjo-led administration. The statement said Folio Communications Limited, owned by Fidelis and Noel Anosike tendered a bid confirmed by the BPE. The BPE sold to Folio for ₦1.25 billion. “A year after the sale, 2005 to be precise, Hallmark Bank Plc (now defunct), Folio Communications Limited, promoted by the Anosike brothers/Daily Times of Nigeria Plc and DSV Limited, promoted by Senator Ikechukwu Obiorah commenced several legal battles over the real ownership of the newspaper,” it read in part. The Federal High Court issued a takeover order on 1 February, 2018. AMCON has taken over a number of companies including airlines Arik and Aero Contractors.