- Court Orders Shell to Pay $3.6bn Fine to NOSDRA
Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of the Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited to pay a fine of $3.6bn to the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency acting on behalf the Federal Government.
Justice Olatoregun dismissed the suit filed by Shell before the court challenging the fine awarded against it by the agency.
Shell had sued NOSDRA, challenging its powers to impose levies or fines over oil spills.
It sought the order of the court to declare that NOSDRA could not, in the light of Sections 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6 of the 1999 Constitution, validly exercise any powers under Section 5, 6, 7 and 19 of the NOSDRA Act.
Shell, through its lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), said the sections’ provisions encroached on the judicial powers vested exclusively in the courts.
He argued that it was the Federal High Court that was vested with the responsibility of determining liability and to assess, impose and direct the payment of any sum as penalty, damages or compensation in connection with an incidence of oil spillage, particularly the Bonga oil spill of December 20, 2011.
Shell urged the court to declare that the decision leading to the imposition of $3,600,191,206 on it by NOSDRA was in breach of its right as enshrined in Sections 36, 43 and 44 of the 1999 Constitution.
It also urged the court to nullify NOSDRA’s powers to impose such levies over oil spills.
Responding, NOSDRA, through its counsel, D. A. Awosika, argued that the cause of action arose on March 25, 2015 when it served Shell with the notice of sanction over the Bonga oil spill.
Awosika argued that Shell was enjoined to exercise its right of litigation if it felt aggrieved by the letters within three months from March 25, 2015 and not beyond.
“The plaintiff waited for more than 13 months to institute this action against the defendant,” he said, adding that Shell’s action was caught by the statute of limitation.
Justice Olatoregun, in her judgment, held that NOSDRA acted in line with its powers and did not violate Shell’s rights in any manner.
The judge also found that Sections 5, 6 and 7 of the NOSDRA Act, which empower it to impose penalties, did not violates the Constitution.
“I found no conflict with the duties conferred on NOSDRA by law and the power of the court to adjudicate in this matter…I find no violation of the 1999 Constitution within these sections,” the judge held.
Justice Olatoregun further held that NOSDRA’s demand letters to Shell were not in conflict with Section 44 of the 1999 Constitution.
The judge said, “The plaintiff had notice and opportunity to fair hearing. The plaintiff ought to have had recourse to the court for the determination of its civil rights and a proper adjudication on the issues if it felt its rights were infringed or about to be infringed.
“I do not find the two letters ultra vires the duties and functions of the defendant.
“I have no reason to set both letters aside as well as the sums ordered, as parties did not make evaluation of the assessed damage an issue for consideration in the questions raised for determination. No evidence upon which an evaluation could be made was also proffered.”
Fate of Bristow Pilots, Engineers To Be Decided on Thursday
Pilots and Engineers of Bristow To Know Their Fate Next Week
Bristow pilots and engineers whose appointments were terminated would have to wait till next week to know their fate as the negotiation between the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers and the Federal Ministry Labour and Employment has been shifted to Thursday.
Capt. Yakubu Dukas, the National Vice President of National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, confirmed this on Friday.
On Tuesday, Bristow Helicopter announced it would sack 100 pilots and engineers, hinging its decision on plans to restructure the company’s finances amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
But on Wednesday, NAAPE issued two weeks ultimatum to the company, demanding for reversal of such action at a time families are struggling with COVID-19 crisis.
On Friday, the Nigeria Labour Congress also issued two weeks warning to the companies, demanding the affected staff be recalled or they will have to deal with a nationwide action from NLC.
He said, “Both parties are to return to status quo. We are to report back next week Thursday to continue the negotiation.
“If both of you are returning to the negotiation table, it would be something that is favourable. The members will be happy to move out of the picketing and continue their work.
“The meeting went well. We met with the Ministry of Labour to reverse the status quo. Whoever they made redundant is null and void and they would revert to status quo.”
Buhari Signs Bill to Make Registration of SMEs Affordable and Easier
Buhari Signs New Bill to Make SMEs Registration Affordable
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday signed a new bill to make the registration of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) easier and affordable.
Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, disclosed this in a statement made available to media on Friday.
In the statement titled “After 30 years, President Buhari signs amended Companies and Allied Matters Bill,” the Senior Special Adviser said Buhari has signed the Companies and Allied Matters Bill, 2020 into law.
It read, “President Muhammadu Buhari Friday in Abuja assented to the Companies and Allied Matters Bill, 2020 recently passed by the National Assembly.
“The President’s action on this important piece of legislation, therefore, repealed and replaced the extant Companies and Allied Matters Act, 1990, introducing after 30 years, several corporate legal innovations geared toward enhancing ease of doing business in the country.
“Such innovations include: filing fee reductions and other reforms to make it easier and cheaper for small and medium-sized enterprises to register and reform their businesses in Nigeria;
“Allowing corporate promoters of companies to establish private companies with a single member or shareholder, and creating limited liability partnerships and limited partnerships to give investors and business people alternative forms of carrying out their business in an efficient and flexible way.”
“Innovating processes and procedures to ease the operations of companies, such as introducing Statements of Compliance; replacing ‘authorised share capital’ with minimum share capital to reduce costs of incorporating companies; and providing for electronic filing, electronic share transfers, e-meetings as well as remote general meetings for private companies in response to the disruptions to close contact physical meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic;
“Requiring the disclosure of persons with significant control of companies in a register of beneficial owners to enhance corporate accountability and transparency; and
“Enhancing the minority shareholder protection and engagement; introducing enhanced business rescue reforms for insolvent companies; and permitting the merger of Incorporated Trustees for associations that share similar aims and objectives.”
Nigeria Railway Corporation Realises N3.1bn in 2019
NRC Generates N3.09 Billion in 2019
The Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) has said it realised N3.09 billion from railway services in 2019.
In a statement issued by the corporation, N1.5 billion of the total amount was generated from the Abuja-Kaduna rail service, according Fidet Okhiria, the Managing Director, NRC, who was quoted in the statement.
In the statement signed by Taiye Elebiyo-Edeni, the Media Assistant to the Minister of Transportation, the Abuja-Kaduna rail line realised N130 million per month in the year under the reveiw.
“The Abuja-Kaduna railway generated over N130m monthly as revenue,” Okhiria stated.
Okhiria explained that, that particular rail line has been able to breakeven, adding that the revenue from Abuja-Kaduna rail line was used to service other railway stations in the Northern region.
Maiduguri station, which is presently not functioning was named as one of the stations financed with the revenue realised from Abuja-Kaduna rail line.
“N90m was spent on running cost and payment of staff at the Maiduguri station, which could not operate for now due to insecurity in the state.”
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