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Court Orders Interim Forfeiture of Malabu Oil Block to FG



Offshore oil platform is seen in Huntington Beach
  • Court Orders Interim Forfeiture of Malabu Oil Block to FG

A Federal High Court in Abuja, on Thursday, ordered the interim forfeiture of Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL 245) to the Federal Government pending when “investigation and prosecution” of suspects in the $1.1bn Malabu Oil scam would be completed.

Justice John Tsoho granted the order in a bench ruling which he delivered in an ex-parte application moved by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s lawyer, Mr. Johnson Ojogbane, on Thursday.

The OPL 245, an oil field believed to be the largest in Africa with over nine billion barrels of crude, was said to have been fraudulently acquired from the Federal Government by Malabu Oil and Gas Limited in 1998 and afterwards offered to oil giants, Shell and Agip, in an alleged shady deal.

While moving the application, which was dated and filed on January 11, 2017, Ojogbane urged the court to grant the order “pending the investigation and prosecution” of the suspects named in the scandal.

Ojogbane, in his second prayer, sought “an interim order of this honourable court directing that the property known as Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL 245) be managed by the Department of Petroleum Resources on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria pending the conclusion of investigation and prosecution” of the suspects.

Ruling, after listening to Ojogbane, on Thursday, Justice Tsoho ruled, “After consideration of the entire materials furnished by the applicant in support of the application dated and filed January 11, 2017, I am satisfied with the materials.

“The application is granted as prayed.”

Though, the EFCC had, earlier on December 20, 2016, filed charges against some of the suspects, including the immediate past Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, the order obtained by the EFCC on Thursday appeared to have set the stage for the prosecution of more suspects.

The additional suspects named in the application are Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited, Shell Nigeria Exploration Limited, Malabu Oil and Gas Limited “and other individuals.”

Ojogbane had told Justice Tsoho that the suspects were being investigated “in connection with acts of conspiracy, bribery, official corruption and money laundering” in connection with the OPL 245 scam.

The EFCC had, on December 20, 2016, charged nine suspects, including Adoke, with respect to the $1.1bn oil scam.

Other accused persons named in the charges filed by the EFCC before a Federal High Court in Abuja, were a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dan Etete; Aliyu Abubakar, Malabu Oil & Gas Limited, Rocky Top Resource Limited, Imperial Union Limited, Novel Properties & Development Company Limited, Group Construction Limited and Megatech Engineering Limited.

The anti-graft agency, in the charges with suit number, FHC/ABJ/CR/268/2016, accused Adoke of illegally transferring over $800m purportedly meant for the purchase of the OPL 245 to Etete and Malabu Oil & Gas Limited from a Federal Government account.

The EFCC also accused Aliyu, an oil magnate, who is the Chairman of A. A. Group and Rocky Top Services, of receiving $336,456,906.78 of the oil well money.

Meanwhile, the EFCC, in its affidavit filed in support of the ex parte motion, seeking the interim forfeiture of the OPL 245, stated that it was in the process of “preferring a further charge” against “Shell Nigeria and Nigeria Agip Exploration.”

An operative of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Ahmed, who deposed to the affidavit, narrated the roles of various individuals, including Etete and Adoke, and other corporate organisations in the alleged fraud.

The EFCC opertive stated in part, “Investigation further revealed that the Federal Government was defrauded by SPDC (Shell) and Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd by under-paying the sum of $210m as signature bonuses on OPL 245.

“Investigation conducted revealed that Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd and SPDC secured OPL 245 through fraudulent scheme involving high-scale bribery and corruption by top management of the company.”

Ahmed, who revealed details of the outcome of investigations conducted on the scam by the EFCC and its foreign partners, stated that Italian police had conducted “extensive investigation on the fraud committed by Shell Nigeria, Agip and Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd, culminating in a criminal charge at the Ordinary Court of Milan”.

Those charged by Italian police, according to EFCC, are “Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Eni Spa, and one Scaroni, who was its Managing Director while Descalzi was also the General Manager Exploration of Eni.

Ahmed said others being prosecuted in Italy were “Casula and Armana, who were senior executives of Nigeria Agip Oil Company and one Dan Etete and other co-conspirators”.

Giving indication that Shell and Agip would also be charged in Nigeria, the anti-graft agency stated, “The Federal Government of Nigeria has filed a criminal charge with number FHC/ABJ/CR/268/2016 against Dan Etete and two others five Nigerian companies.

“In furtherance of paragraph 10 above, the Federal Government of Nigeria is in the process of preferring a further charge bordering on conspiracy, bribery, official corruption and money laundering against Shell Nigeria and Nigeria Agip Exploration.”

The EFCC’s operative said investigation by the commission revealed that Malabu Oil and Gas Limited was incorporated in Nigeria in April 1998, with shareholders, namely Mohammed Sani, allegedly fronting for his father, the then Head of State, the late Gen. Sani Abacha; one Kweku Amafegha, said to be representing Dan Etete, who was then the Minister of Petroleum Resources; and Hassan Hindu “on behalf of Ambassador Adamu.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Nigeria Immigration Service Reopens Portal With New Passport Application and Payment Process



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The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has announced the reopening of its passport application and payment portal.

The assistant comptroller of immigration, Mr Amos Okpu announced in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.

In the statement, Mr Muhammad Babandede, the Comptroller-General of the service, said the portal became effective for new applications from 12 midnight on Tuesday.

Babandede further said that the portal would allow eligible applicants to apply and make payments for the various categories of passports of their choice.

Mr Muhammad Babandede explained that with the reopening of the portal, a new passport application and payment regime had begun.

The statement in full:

“The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (CGI), Muhammad Babandede MFR, has announced the reopening of the Passport application and payment portal effective 8th June 2021 by 12 midnight to allow eligible Passport applicants to apply and make payments for the various categories of Passports of their choice.

The Passport portal was closed following the directives of the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on the 17th of May, 2021to afford the Service the opportunity to clear all backlogs of applications that have piled up across Issuing Centres in the past few months.

With the reopening of the portal, a new Passport application and payment regime have commenced. Under the new Passport regime;

Applications and payments for Passport services shall be made through the Service website;

  • applicants are expected to visit the portal to apply and upload their support documents for vetting and processing;
  • a chat room facility to guide applicants through the application and payment process has been provided on the portal;
  • upon successful applications, applicants shall make their online booking interview/enrollment appointment on any day, time and location they consider convenient;
  • that the new timeline for Passport production and issuance after a successful enrollment at the selected Issuing Centre shall be six weeks for Fresh applications and three weeks for Re-issue (Renewal applications);
  • that no applicant who is yet to make an online application and payment shall be allowed into any of the Passport Issuing Centres for Passport processing;
  • applicants will be contacted through email and phone number they provided during application when their Passports are ready;
  • a helpline with the number 08021819988 has been provided for feedback mechanism on any challenges.

The Comptroller General, Muhammad Babandede MFR wishes to use this medium to call on Nigerians and indeed Passport applicants to avoid patronizing touts as the entire process has been made seamless for effective and efficient service delivery. He warned Passport racketeers to desist from acts capable of undermining the reform efforts to avoid very strict sanctions.


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INEC To Publish The List Of New Polling Units Next Week



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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has pledged to publish a comprehensive list of its new polling units across the nation next week.

The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja.

Yakubu was speaking at the formal handing over of a new state of the art fire truck, deployed to the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja by the Federal Fire Service (FFS).

He said that details of the locations of its registration centers and the procedure for the commencement of online registration for resumption of nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) would be made available in the second week of May.

He expressed appreciation of the commission to the FFS and all security agencies for the demonstration of their support to protecting INEC facilities

He said that the support was coming on the eve of the resumption of the CVR nationwide in the next three weeks.

“We earlier assured Nigerians that we shall conclude work on the expansion of voter access to polling units and make the new polling units available to citizens ahead of the CVR exercise.

“I am glad to report that we have accomplished this task for the first time in 25 years.

“A comprehensive list of the new polling units will be published next week.

“Similarly, details of the locations of the registration centers and the procedure for the commencement of online registration will also be made available after a series of regular consultative meetings with stakeholders next week,” Yakubu said.

He said that as a member of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) FFS had been as concerned as other security agencies about the recent attacks on our offices across the country.

“This is particularly so because out of the 42 attacks on our facilities nationwide, 18 incidents resulted from arson and three more by a combination of arson and vandalisation.”

Yakubu recalled that concerned by those incidents, the commission convened an emergency meeting of ICCES last week of April, where the security agencies renewed their determination to collaborate more with the commission.

According to him, they pledged to assist the commission address the challenge beyond the routine protection of INEC assets and the security of its officials, voters, observers, the media, candidates and their agents during elections.

“On its part, the Federal Fire Service offered to deploy an additional state-of-the-art fire engine to the INEC headquarters to complement the two existing trucks.

“At the same time, it directed its state offices to take additional protective measures around other INEC facilities nationwide.

“Today’s inauguration of the new fire engine is another affirmation of the support to the commission from the FFS whose personnel, already deployed permanently to the commission

“The personnel will continue to operate and maintain the fire engines and other firefighting equipment installed by INEC,” Yakubu said.

Speaking earlier, the Controller-General (CG) of FFS, Alhaji Liman Ibrahim said the deployment of the firefighting truck was premised on recent fire attacks on INEC offices in different parts of the country.

Ibrahim, represented by the Assistant Controller-General of the service, Mr Samson Karebo, said the deployed truck would serve as fire cover for the premises of INEC headquarters and the entire Maitama vicinity of Abuja.

“The FFS is taking this step as a proactive measure to protect our critical infrastructure and help to protect our economy by forming synergy with all stakeholders in protecting our environments.

“Our center is focused on bringing firefighting operations to every part of the country as part of our statutory duties by having a presence in virtually every state in Nigeria

“The FFS will very soon be moving into all senatorial headquarters in the country. That is how we want to operate for now so that we can touch every corner of this country,” Ibrahim said.

He called for the cooperation of all for the service to better serve the nation by not molesting FFS staff in the line of duty.

In his remarks, the National Security Adviser (NSA) retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, who is also Co-Chair of ICCES, described the deployment of the truck as a demonstration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to sustain Nigeria’s democracy and address insecurity.

Monguno said that the gesture also symbolised commitment to a clear affirmation of Buhari toward protecting institutions of government, toward securing their property, toward fighting acts of irresponsibility, vandalisation and outright criminality.

“The President is determined as much as he can within the confines of legality to suppress any kind of criminality and destruction of public property.

“This is something that he is determined to do regardless of whatever the challenges are.

“He will apply all the resources in his disposal in his capacity as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces to ensure the wider Nigerian society is safe, stable and is allowed to carry out its legitimate undertaking, free from any act of insecurity,” he said

Monguno urged all other security agencies not to relent in ensuring that they continued to protect lives and property.

The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Usman Baba pledged commitment to security agencies to work with INEC and protect INEC’s facilities, citizens’ life and property.

Also at the occasion was the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, represented by Director of Joint Services, Mr Peter Obodo; as well as the representative of Director-General, Directorate of State Services, Tony Adikweruka.

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Recovered Assets: Ad-hoch Committee Gives Emefiele, Others 72 Hours Ultimatum



House of representatives

The House of Representatives ad-hoc committee, investigating recovered assets, has given the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, 72 hours to appear before it.

The committee also issued same ultimatum to the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali, and the Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Bashir Jamoh.

The summon was issued on Monday, after Mr Emefiele and the others failed to appear before the committee.

The government officials had sent representatives, but the committee chairman, Adejoro Adeogun (APC, Ondo), said they failed to forward letters to that effect.

He said allowing representatives without a proper letter of introduction would be akin to allowing “impersonators.”

You are indirectly insulting the House of Representatives. You are undermining the House of Representatives,” an angry Mr Adeogun said.

Moving a motion to give the agencies 72hours to appear before the committee, Ibrahim Isiaka (APC, Ogun), said the agencies created by Acts of the parliament “should not be undermining the parliament”.

The motion was unanimously adopted by the committee.

Mr Isiaka suggested that the House should shut down its activities if the agencies fail to appear before them.

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