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‘Stolen’ Jets: We’ll Meet TopBrass in Court, Says NCAA



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  • ‘Stolen’ Jets: We’ll Meet TopBrass in Court, Says NCAA

Aviation industry regulator, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, on Monday said it would meet the owner of the allegedly stolen two bombardier Dash 8 Q300 aircraft from the Lagos airport in court over the matter.

TopBrass Aviation, a charter airline operator and owner of the two Canada-made planes, had dragged the NCAA along with other governmental and non-governmental organisations to court for the disappearance of the jets.

The General Manager, NCAA, Mr Sam Adurogboye, said the agency would not comment on the matter, because it was already in court, adding that the regulator would meet TopBrass in court.

“We will not comment on this matter, because it is already in court. We will meet in court. Any comment now will be sub judice,” he said.

The airplanes, with registration numbers 5N-TBB and 5N-TBC, have been the focus of a legal tussle between the lessor, Seagold Investment Limited, and TopBrass Aviation Services.

Some interested parties in the Presidency allegedly acquired the aircraft contrary to the orders of the Federal High Court in Lagos.

The two planes had reportedly the General Aviation Terminal of the Murtala Muhammed Airport.

They are now stationed at the Aero Contractors’ maintenance and overhaul hanger, but with registration numbers already wiped off.

The jets are said to be set for maintenance to enable them to fly out of Lagos to an undisclosed location.

The row is over a $12m aircraft purchase deal with Seagold, which the aviation regulator allegedly got involved in by clandestinely planning to forcefully allow the two planes to be flown to the owners despite a court injunction restraining the agency.

The Managing Director, TopBrass, Mr Roland Iyayi, sued the accused for flouting a ruling concerning the two aircraft.

Aviation agencies sued by the company included the NCAA and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria.

Iyayi told our correspondent on Monday that he stood by his legal dispute and would be ready to meet the NCAA and other interested parties in court.

The TopBrass boss said he had invested over $12m in the finance purchase agreement it entered into with Seagold for the acquisition of the assets and was being allegedly frustrated by those served with the contempt charge.

He added, “When TopBrass engaged with Seagold International, we entered into a finance purchase agreement with Seagold, separate and distinct from an operate lease agreement. In this particular context, rather than pay a standard operating lease fee of $80,000 per aircraft per month at the time, TopBrass was paying $210,000 per aircraft per month and the tenure of the lease was for 24 months.

“During the period of the lease, TopBrass provided Seagold with a letter of credit to the tune of $1.3m. At the same time, TopBrass signed an Irrevocable Deregistration Authority in favour of Seagold such that should we default in the 24-month period, Seagold would have had an unfettered access to the aircraft for repossession. Fortunately, over the 24-month period, there was no default.”

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Goya Foods Takes Legal Action to Assert ‘Goya Olive Oil’ Trademark Ownership



Goya Foods

“Goya Olive Oil” trademark in Nigeria, Goya Foods Incorporated has initiated legal proceedings against the Registrar of Trademarks under the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment.

The case, numbered FHC/ABJ/CS/883/2023, was brought before the Federal High Court in Abuja.

Goya Foods, a prominent producer and distributor of foods and beverages across the United States, Spanish-speaking countries, and Nigeria, seeks to enforce a longstanding consent judgment issued by the court in December 2006.

The judgment directed the Registrar to rectify the Trademarks Register to reflect Goya Foods Incorporated as the rightful owner of the “Goya Olive Oil” trademark, without any further formalities.

The lawsuit, exclusively revealed to sources, underscores Goya Foods’ determination to safeguard its intellectual property against alleged infringements.

According to court documents, Goya Foods obtained the consent judgment against Chikason Industries Limited, which was accused of marketing “Goya Olive Oil” in Nigeria, thus infringing on Goya Foods’ registered trademark.

Legal counsel for Goya Foods, Ade Adedeji, SAN, emphasized the necessity of rectifying the Trademarks Register to protect their trademark interests effectively.

Despite appeals to the Registrar, the requested rectification has not been implemented, prompting Goya Foods to escalate the matter through legal channels.

The case has been adjourned to September 27, 2024, for further proceedings, highlighting the complexity and significance of trademark disputes in the global marketplace.

Goya Foods remains committed to upholding its brand integrity and securing its proprietary interests amidst the evolving landscape of international trademark law.

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IOCs Accused of Blocking Direct Crude Sales to Dangote Refinery



Dangote Refinery

Dangote Industries Limited (DIL) has accused International Oil Companies (IOCs) of obstructing direct crude oil sales to its refinery and forcing the company to use costly middlemen.

This development comes after a statement by the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) suggested a “willing buyer-willing seller” dynamic was in place as mandated by the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).

Devakumar Edwin, Vice President of DIL, countered NUPRC CEO Gbenga Komolafe’s claims, stating that IOCs consistently make it difficult for local refiners by pushing sales through international trading arms, which inflate prices and bypass Nigerian laws.

“These middlemen earn unjustified margins on crude produced and consumed within Nigeria,” Edwin stated.

He noted that only one local producer, Sapetro, has sold directly to DIL, while others insist on using trading arms abroad.

Edwin detailed the financial impact, citing instances where DIL was charged a $2-$4 premium per barrel above the official price.

In April, DIL paid $96.23 per barrel for Bonga crude, which included significant premiums, compared to a much lower premium for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude.

While acknowledging NUPRC’s support in resolving some supply issues, Edwin urged the regulatory body to revisit pricing policies to ensure fair market practices.

“Market liquidity is essential for fair pricing. We hope NUPRC addresses these issues to prevent price gouging,” he stated.

This dispute highlights ongoing challenges in Nigeria’s oil sector, where domestic refiners struggle to secure local crude amidst complex market dynamics.

The outcome of these negotiations could significantly impact the refinery’s operations and broader industry practices.

The situation underscores the need for transparent and efficient crude supply systems to bolster Nigeria’s refining capacity and economic growth.

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Dangote’s $20 Billion Refinery to Begin Petrol Sales Next Month



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Aliko Dangote announced on Monday that his long-awaited $20 billion refinery complex will commence petrol sales starting next month.

The announcement came during a press briefing held at the refinery site in Lagos, where Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, detailed the project’s progress and future plans.

“We are proud to announce that the Dangote Refinery will begin selling petrol from August,” Dangote stated confidently.

“This milestone marks the culmination of years of meticulous planning, construction, and overcoming numerous challenges.”

Dangote’s refinery, touted as the largest single-train refinery in the world, is designed to process 650,000 barrels of crude oil per day once fully operational.

The facility aims to not only meet Nigeria’s domestic demand for refined petroleum products but also contribute significantly to export markets across West Africa.

“We have entered the steady-state production phase earlier this year, and now we are ready to begin commercial sales,” Dangote explained. “Initially, we will focus on petrol production, with plans to expand our product range as we ramp up to full capacity.”

The refinery’s launch is expected to alleviate Nigeria’s longstanding dependence on imported refined products, thereby boosting the country’s energy security and reducing foreign exchange outflows associated with fuel imports.

Beyond petrol sales, Dangote revealed ambitious plans to list both the refinery and its associated fertilizer plant on the Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX) by the first quarter of 2025.

This move aims to attract broader investor participation and unlock additional value for shareholders.

“We are committed to transparency and accountability in our operations,” Dangote emphasized. “Listing these subsidiaries on the NGX will not only strengthen our corporate governance framework but also enhance the refinery’s financial sustainability.”

Challenges and Future Prospects

Despite celebrating the imminent commencement of petrol sales, Dangote acknowledged challenges encountered during the project’s execution, including delays in securing land for a petrochemical facility in Ogun State, which incurred substantial costs.

“We faced bureaucratic hurdles that resulted in significant delays and financial losses,” Dangote lamented. “Nevertheless, we remain steadfast in our commitment to advancing Nigeria’s industrial capabilities and contributing to economic growth.”

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