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Court dismisses $55m debt recovery suit against AGIP Oil

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A Federal High Court in Lagos, on Wednesday, dismissed  a 55million dollars debt recovery suit filed by the Federal Government of Nigeria  against Agip Oil Company Ltd, over insufficient evidence.

This suit, filed since 2016 by FG counsel, Prof.Fabian Ajogwu (SAN), is one among other suits by the FG, seeking to recover almost 12 billion dollars in missing crude oil revenue from some international oil companies.

The plaintiff is claiming the sum of 55 million dollars against Agip, representing a shortfall in the amount of excess crude oil lifted out of Nigeria, onboard the vessel MT Cosmos.

Parties had closed their cases in November 2018, and had adopted final addresses on Feb.21, 2019, while the court reserved judgment until May 8 (today)

Delivering judgment on Wednesday, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun first gave a highlight of the facts of the case as stated in the plaintiff’s claim, and also the various arguments as canvassed by parties in support of their respective cases.

Reiterating  to the reliefs sought by parties, the court posed a pertinent question “Has the plaintiff succeeded in proving its case to entitle it to a grant of the reliefs sought,”?

In answer, the court held that it is trite and settled law, that he who asserts must prove, adding that although allegations were made, the plaintiff failed to establish same on a preponderance of evidence.

“The burden of proof starts with the plaintf and keeps shifting until all the required evidence is placed before the court.

“Exhibit DA 10 shows that MT Cosmos was nominated to ship 949,096 barrels of crude oil and exhibit DC 10 from the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, shows the barrel of crude oil as 949,096 barrels from MT Cosmos.

“The plaintiff cited the same bill of lading number, but i have no reason to suggest that the bill of lading covers the excess 500,000 barrels of crude oil.

“While I do not have any evidence to ssuggest that it is  impossible for the defendant to carry undeclared crude oil from Nigeria, i have no evidence to show that MT Cosmos carried the excess 500,000 barrels of crude oil with same bill of lading,” she held

The court held that the plaintiff failed to prove its case by supplying the requisite evidences, adding that the main purpose of final addresses is to assist the court .

“It is trite law that whoever asserts, must prove that the facts exists; no amount of brilliant address can make up for a lack of evidence.

“The plaintiff failed to make out a case that 500,000 barrels of crude oil was offloaded in Pennsylvania; the case of  the plaintiff fails on the lack of proof on the preponderance of evidence.

“At this stage, i do not find it neccessary to proceed with the evaluation of the other reliefs .

” I, therefore, proceed to make an order dismissing this suit; it is hereby dismissed,” the court held.

Meanwhile, the plaintiff has indicated its intention to take the case through the due process of the law.

Speaking to Journalists, afterwards, plaintiff counsel had said “The Federal Government shall be taking the case through the due process of the law,”

During trial, the plaintif called one witness and tendered three exhibits before the court, while the defendant also called one witness and tendered 12 exhibits.

FG accused Agip of under-declaring the volume of crude oil it shipped out of the country between January 2011 and December 2014.

Government claims that Agip short-changed it to the tune of 55million dollars.

It had filed the suit, to recover the lost revenues arising from undeclared and under-declared crude oil shipments from Nigeria to different parts of the world. 

The plaintiff had therefore, prayed the court to compel the oil firm to pay the said sum, with an annual interest rate of 21 per cent

Meanwhile, the court also dismissed a similar suit against Brasoil, seeking to recover the sum of 4.8million dollars in missing oil revenue.

The Federal Government had also sued Total E&P Nig. Plc, alleging that the oil company under-declared the volume of crude oil it shipped out of the country between January 2011 and December 2014.

Government accused the oil company of short-changing it to the tune of 245 million dollars, by allegedly shipping several barrels of crude oil out of Nigeria, without making due remittance to the government.

Similar suits are also pending against Chevron Nigeria Ltd, Chevron Petroleum Nigeria Ltd, Shell Western Supply & Trading Ltd among others

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Nigerians ‘spent N3 billion in cinemas for first half of 2019’

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Nigerians spent nearly 3, 124, 026, 959 billion Naira to watch box office movies at Nigerian cinemas between January and June.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the figures are according to data provided by cinemas and gathered by the Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria (CEAN).

The year opened with ‘Aquaman’, ‘Chief Daddy’ and ‘Up North’ sitting on the top three of the chart, with estimated combined earnings of 168, 263, 512 million Naira.

The movies maintained their positions until the fourth week when ‘Glass’ debuted at number one with ‘Aquaman’ taking second place and ‘Chief Daddy’, third booting ‘Up North’ to fourth place.

This led to combined earnings of 91, 409, 100 million Naira which fell to N77.2 million as January closed with Kevin Hart’s ‘The Upside’ kicking ‘Chief Daddy’ to fourth place.

NAN reports that earnings remained low for February, making it the lowest grossing month with a total of N291.8 million.

Top spots were alternated between ‘Alita’, ‘Cold Pursuit’, ‘What Men Want’, ‘Escape Room’ and ‘The UpSide’.

By March, viewership picked up steadily and the earnings were almost doubled from that of February leading to a total of 434, 432, 431 million Naira.

‘What Men Want’, ‘Alita’, ‘Hire A Woman’, ‘She Is’, ‘Us’ and ‘Babymamas’ enjoyed a relatively good run in March but a chunk of the earnings and viewership went to Marvel’s flick ‘Captain Marvel’.

At the beginning of April, ‘HellBoy’, ‘Shazam’, ‘Little’ and ‘Us’ continued to share the top spot with ‘Captain Marvel’ until the release of the much anticipated ‘Avengers: Endgame’.

NAN also reports that with ‘Avengers: Endgame’, earnings from April climbed from 186, 929, 188 million Naira in its third week to 342, 382, 389 million Naira in its final week.’

The month, which is the highest grossing in 2019, closed with estimated total earnings of 734, 151, 060 million Naira due to (a) major boost from Disney’s ‘Endgame’.

In May, there was a massive dip in earnings similar to that experienced in February. With ‘Endgame’, ‘The Intruder’ and ‘Longshot’, it earned a total of 367, 498, 554 million Naira.

The fall in viewership is usual after a global holiday such as Christmas for December/January and Easter for April.

The numbers picked up in June with ‘John Wick’, ‘Godzilla’ and ‘Aladdin’ leading the numbers. They were supported by ‘Anna’, ‘Men In Black’, ‘Dark Phoenix’ and ‘Bling Lagosians’.

June opened with 161, 132, 714 million Naira but closed with 100, 663, 647 million Naira leading to a total earning of 576, 322, 779 million Naira.

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Go Cashless This Summer With FirstBank Visa Multi Currency Card

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First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial services provider, has introduced the Visa Multi Currency Card, an All-in One-Card and first of its kind to be offered by any financial institution in Nigeria. This card can be linked to all of four currencies namely: NAIRA, USD, EURO and GBP accounts.

With the Visa Multi-Currency card, FirstBank customers – within and outside Nigeria – can now enjoy the luxury of having their local and foreign denominated accounts in any currency, linked to a single Debit card. The Visa Multi-Currency Card is designed to ease the daily cashless transactional needs of customers regardless of where they are across the world. 

Amongst the many benefits of the Visa Multi-Currency card are Point of Sale and Online purchases, access to and use of ATMs worldwide. There is no cash collateral requirement prior to its issuance.

Speaking on the card launch, Mr. Chuma Ezirim, Group Executive, e-Business & Retail Product said “FirstBank takes pride in pioneering the Visa Multi Currency Card in the country, as we remain committed to providing products and services that are designed to ensure the banking convenience of our customers regardless of their location.”

“This card is designed to make traveling fun for our customers and ensure they have a seamless transaction experience during their vacation, tourism and other business-related trips around the globe”, he concluded. 

Traveling abroad for summer, walk into any FirstBank branch today for your Visa Multi Currency Card.

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NSE Suspends Airtel Africa Listing

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The planned listing of Airtel Africa Plc on the trading floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has been postponed.

The exercise was suspended as a result of the failure of the telecommunications company to meet pre-listing requirements.

Yesterday, Business Post reported that Airtel Africa failed to attract at least 300 institutional and high-net worth individual investors, one of the major requirements needed for joining the stock exchange.

The NSE, which confirmed suspension of the listing today, however, did not make it clear when the company would be admitted. It only promised to provide further communication on the issue when all the conditions for the listing in its market had been met.

“The cross border secondary listing of 3,758,151,504 ordinary shares of Airtel Africa Plc has been postponed from the scheduled date of Friday, July 5, 2019.

“This postponement was necessitated by the need to ensure that the company meets all the post NSE approval pre-requisites for listing on the NSE.

“However, the facts before the listing event will hold as planned at 11.00 a.m. on Friday, July 5, 2019,” the statement said.

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