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  Controversy  dogs NNPC road intervention scheme


—as stakeholders criticize awards of 66% of roads to North, 33% to South

Eyewitness reporter

Stakeholders in the oil and gas industry have criticized the road intervention scheme of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC) in which the national oil will spend the sum of N621.23billion to rehabilitate 21 federal roads across the six geo-political zones of the country.

The criticism was on the spread of the roads which gives 66 per cent of the awards of the roads to the North and 33 percent to the South.

It would be recalled that the NNPC, through its ”Federal Government Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme“, has offered to embark on road reconstruction exercise in fulfilment of its promise to the  Tankers Drivers who have recently threatened to go on strike as a result of the deplorable condition of the roads in the country.
The Federal Executive Council last week Wednesday approved the proposal of the NNPC to rehabilitate these roads.

However, according to the document titled  “Cost/spread of roads by NNPC under Federal Government Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme” released by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and signed by the NNPC Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Garba Deen Muhammad,  roughly sixty-six per cent of the roads to be constructed were awarded to Northern parts of Nigeria, while roughly thirty-three per cent of the roads were awarded to the south.

The document showed that 1349.95 km of roads will be constructed across the three geo-political zones that make up the northern part of the country on one hand while on the other hand, only 456.6 km of roads will be constructed across the three geo-political zones that make up the Southern part of the country.

A breakdown of the roads shows as follows:

North Central  ~ 791.1o km
North East       ~ 273.35 km
North West      ~ 284.5 km
South West      ~ 252.7 km
South East       ~ 122.0 km
South South    ~ 81.9 km


A source at the national oil company who spoke on condition of anonymity, however, claimed that NNPC is being economical with the truth and went ahead to produce a handwritten breakdown of the proposed project, indicating it is far worse than the official figure.

According to the document, North Central got a total of 1,480.2 km and not 791.1o km as contained in the official statement.

He noted that North East got 273.36 km, while North West got 284.5 km, bringing the total to 2037.06 km of roads.

According to him, South West got 114 km, South East got 122.0 km, while South-South got 52.22 km, and not 81.9 km as officially stated.

If the allegation is adjudged correct, then that brings the total spread of roads in the south to 288.22 km, making it about eighty-five percent for the north, and a paltry fifteen percent for the south.

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Court reverses self over contempt charge against Fidelity Bank chief

Managing Director of Fidelity Bank,Nneka Chinwe Onyeali-Ikpe
The Eyewitness reporter

A Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos has vacated its ruling that convicted and sentenced the Managing Director of Fidelity Bank,Nneka Chinwe Onyeali-Ikpe and Company Secretary of Fidelity Bank, Mrs. Unuigboje Ezinwa to six weeks in prison or a fine of Four Hundred Thousand Naira respectively for contempt.

The Chief Magistrate, Mr. Lateef Owolabi vacated the order in a Suit No: MIK/4726/22 between Justin Ahmed, (judgement creditor),  Prince Enabulele Osazee, (judgement debtor) and Fidelity Bank Plc, (1st Garnishee/Applicant).
The court, in an earlier ruling delivered on February 6, 2023,  held that the Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, Nneka Chinwe Onyeali-Ikpe and the Company Secretary, Mrs. Unuigboje Ezinwa should be committed to six weeks’ imprisonment over alleged disobedience of a garnishee order of the court restraining the bank from allowing a judgement debtor access to his account.
However, at the resumed proceedings on the matter on Feb 15, 2023, the court vacated the committal order on the premise of facts presented before the court that the alleged acts of contempt were not deliberate but arose out of a communication gap between the said parties and the erstwhile counsel.
The court in its ruling also stated that the error or sin of the counsel should not be visited on a party or litigants. The court also noted that the monies that were the subject matter and fulcrum of the contempt proceedings have since been paid to the judgment creditor.
“From the materials presented before this court by the applicant, this application falls within the classic rule where the error or sin of the counsel should not be visited on a party or litigants. Moreover, the applicant has averred that the monies subject matter, the fulcrum of the contempt proceedings had since been paid to the judgment creditor.
”Having fully discharged this payment to the satisfaction of the judgment creditor, this court should not be seen to cry more than the bereaved”, Mr Lateef Owolabi held.
”The solicitor to the bank explained that Fidelity Bank, being a law-abiding institution that will never or under any circumstance, directly or indirectly denigrate the integrity of the nation’s judiciary, had upon receipt of the garnishee order nisi on December 22, 2022, conducted a search immediately, and the result showed several accounts bearing similar names to the Judgment Debtor’s (Prince Enabulele Osazee).”
”To prevent the bank from erroneously restricting the wrong account, the bank filed an affidavit requesting additional account details to enable it to ascertain the correct account(s) to restrict.”
He further stated that, on January 16, 2023, the bank received the Judgment Creditor’s affidavit showing the account number of the Judgment Debtor. Armed with the correct account number, the bank immediately identified and placed a lien on the Judgment Debtor’s account. Unfortunately, during the intervening period, the judgement debtor had carried on depositing and withdrawing from his account.
In vacating the order on February 15, 2023, the Chief Magistrate held that based on the materials before the court, the applicant has been able to tether the law to the facts to warrant the grant of the relief sought on their own strength and not based on lack of opposition.

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Supreme court restrains FG from enforcing naira swap deadline

The Eyewitness reporter
There was a temporary relief for Nigerians over the scarcity of naira notes as the Supreme Court has issued an order of interim injunction restraining the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from enforcing the  February 10 deadline for the phasing out of the old naira notes.
A five-member panel of the court, led by Justice John Okoro said that it was a matter of urgent national importance that the court intervenes and grant the order.
The ruling was on an ex-parte motion filed by the governments of Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara states
The order, according to Justice Okoro, who read the lead ruling, is to subsist pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed by the state for interlocutory injunctions.
The court adjourned till February 15 for the hearing of the motion on notice and the preliminary objection filed by the defendant – the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), challenging the court’s jurisdiction over the case.
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CBN succumbs  to pressure, extends use of old naira notes to February 10

The Eyewitness reporter
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has finally caved in to Public outcry over the February 1st deadline for the use of old naira notes when on Sunday, the apex bank announced February 10 as the new date.
Announcing the new deadline in a statement, Governor Central Bank Of Nigeria(CBN), Godwin Emefiele, said the decision to add extra 10 days was “to allow for the collection of more old notes”

Up till Saturday, CBN had insisted on the 31st January deadline for the validity of the old N200, N500 and N1,000 despite overwhelming complaints that the notes are either not available or in short supply in the banks or their Automated Teller Machines.

Last October, Emefiele announced the Naira redesign policy which entails the issuance of new notes to replace the existing N200, N500 and N1,000 series.

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