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Obat Oil Challenges Ecobank’s Bid To Sell Abuja Hotel

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A Federal High Court in Abuja has fixed November 18, 2019 for the adoption of written addresses in a suit between Ecobank Plc and Obat Oil and Petroleum Ltd over an Abuja Hotel.

Justice H. B. Babangida fixed the date at the hearing of the suit on Tuesday, October 29, after Obat Oil, through its counsel, Olalekan Ojo SAN filed its counter-affidavit and written address to the bank’s motion on notice of October 18.

The firm is challenging the bank’s application seeking leave for an order to attach and sell the property.

Ecobank is the Judgment/Creditor/Applicant in the suit, while Obat Oil and Petroleum Ltd is the Judgment debtor /Respondent.

Ecobank is seeking to realise a consent judgment of N5 billion against the oil firm.

It filed a motion on October 18 seeking leave of court to issue a writ of attachment and sale of the immovable property of the judgment/debtor known as Febson Hotels & Malls, situated at plot 2425 Herbert Macaulay Way, Abuja in realisation of the judgment debt.

When the matter was called on Tuesday, Ojo informed the court that he had filed a counter-affidavit and written address to the Applicant’s motion on notice.

The Respondent’s counsel averred that the Applicant had divested itself of the interest in the judgment debt, having assigned same to ETI Specialised Finance Company Ltd by an April 5, 2017 letter.

The Applicant’s counsel, Kunle Ogunba, SAN, confirmed receipt of the Respondent’s counter-affidavit.

He informed the court of his readiness to take the application without the need to file any response to the said respondent’s counter-affidavit and written address.

Ojo equally indicated his readiness to argue the said Judgment/Creditor/Applicant’s motion on notice. Ogunba moved his motion, but delved into the counter-affidavit and written address of the Respondent by making oral submissions of law in reply to the Respondent’s counter-affidavit and written address.

While opposing him, Mr Ojo challenged the propriety of a counsel to make oral submissions in reply to a motion on notice, having regard to Order 43 (1)(4) of the FCT High Court Civil Procedure rules 2018 and the conscious decision of Ogunba, SAN to waive his right of reply in open court .

Justice Babangida subsequently directed Ogunba to confine himself to his motion on notice having regard to his election not to file a reply.

Following over one hour of arguments on the permissibility or otherwise of oral reply, the court requested the senior counsel to file a written address on whether or not counsel can make oral reply to the respondent’s written address in view of Order 43(1)(4).

Ogunba then informed the court that he would include his reply on points of law in the written address ordered to be filed by the court and to file a reply affidavit, if necessary.

Responding, Justice Babangida stated that he would give a consolidated ruling on all the issues raised and adjourned the matter to November 18 for adoption of written addresses and possible continuation of hearing of the motion on notice.

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El-Rufai backs border closure, says ‘some countries closed their borders for centuries, decades’

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Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has backed Federal Government’s closure of land borders.

According to him, it is unfair for smaller countries to be sabotaging a big country like Nigeria.

El-Rufai who was a special guest at the graduation of Senior Course Three of the Nigeria Customs Command and Staff College, Gwagwalada, Abuja on Friday said the step taken was commendable.

He explained that Nigeria like any other country like to trade with other countries but added that there must be fairness.

The governor noted that closure of the borders should be sustained until there were established deals that covered every country.

“The partial closure of borders is highly commendable. Nigeria is the largest country in West Africa and the continent and it is clear that our neighbours are using our openness and brotherhood to trade, to exploit us.

“I fully support and subscribe to the closure of borders and we should sustain it for as long as possible.

“We need to do this for our country to have a fair deal and for our manufacturers to be protected.

“All those talking about free trade or preaching about it today closed their borders for centuries and decades ago.

“Nigeria must grow its own internal capacity, we will not do so if we allow our neighbours to use the porosity of our borders to sabotage our economy,’’ he explained.

El-Rufai, however, commended the physical development at the Customs Command College in Gwagwalada.

He lauded the effort of the current Customs boss for his reform agenda.

“I am impressed with what I have seen on ground in terms of physical development as well as the content”.

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Boroffice, Abaribe disagree as Senate urges FG to ban importation of textiles for five years

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The Senate, on Tuesday, appealed to the Federal Government to ban importation of textiles in the country for a period of five years to allow for the production of local textile materials.

This followed the debate on a motion sponsored by Senator Kabir Barkiya (APC-Katsina Central) during plenary on “Urgent need to revamp the nation’s comatose textile industry”.

The upper chamber also appealed to the Federal Government to provide the necessary infrastructural facilities especially power supply to local textile manufacturing companies to revamp the industry.

It also called on the government to encourage local textile manufacturing companies by providing them with soft loans and easy access to credit facilities through the Bank of Industry.

Debating the motion, Barkiya noted that the textile industry in the country played a significant role in the manufacturing sector of the Nigerian economy with a record of over 140 companies in the 1960s and 1970s.
“The textile industry recorded an annual growth of 67 per cent and as at 1991, employed above 25 per cent of the workers in the manufacturing sector.

“The textile industry was then the highest employer of labour apart from the civil service.” He noted that the industry had witnessed massive decline in the last two decades with many textile companies such as Kaduna Textile, Kano Textile and Aba Textile among others closing shops and throwing their workers into the job market.

The lawmaker further said that government policies like increase in taxation, high cost of production, trade liberalisation resulting in massive importation of textile materials had negatively affected the production of local textile materials. Barkiya said that the resuscitation of the industry would provide additional revenue and assist government to diversify the nation’s economy.

Contributing, Sen. Robert Boroffice (APC-Ondo North) said that the importation of textile materials was as as a result of the comatose level of the textile industry.

“The closure of our borders is an eye opener. China closed its borders for 40 years for its industrialisation and development.
“I believe that the closure our borders should be extended to allow us put our house in order.” Boroffice, who is the Deputy Senate Leader, said that the extension of the closure of the borders would serve as an opportunity to resuscitate the textile industry among other industries that had been characterised by smuggling.

Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe (PDP-Abia South), who disagreed with Boroffice on the fact that the closure of the borders would help revamp the industry said that “closing the borders and doing nothing will not lead to increase in production of textiles.

“The real problems have been indicated; first, is the fact that we are unable to produce the cotton that we need.

“But far more important is the fact of power. Power was the key problem that made most of the textile mills closed.
” Once it became very difficult after 1982 for industries to be supplied with power and they needed to switch over to now produce their own power in order to do production, it became a lose, lose situation for most of the industrialists.”

Abaribe who is Senate Minority Leader, called on the Federal Government to do the fundamental to ensure that the smuggling of textile products was done away with.

Similarly, Sen. Gabriel Suswam (PDP-Benue North-east) said that without power, no meaningful profit would be realised in any manufacturing industry in the country.

Suswam who called on the government to address the issue in the power sector said that if this was done, the manufacturers would be able to make profit.

“If we take concrete actions on these issues, our economy will be enhanced, the welfare of the people will be enhanced, insecurity and by extension, criminality, will be reduced,” he said.

In his remark, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan said that as Nigeria had signed the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement, “we have to be prepared for the repercussions.

“We cannot stop trading easily with other people. We have to up our game; we need to be competitive,” Lawan said.

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Governor Bagudu Commends Dangote Group as firm begins installation of rice factory in Kebbi

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Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi on Sunday commended Dangote Group for setting up a rice mill in the state, saying it would create employment and boost the economy.

Bagudu who visited the factory site at Saminaka in Shanga Local Government Area of the state, said the investment would also rack up the rice value chain and add value to local farmers, City News reports.

The governor’s visit was announced in a statement on Sunday in Birnin Kebbi by his Press Secretary, Abubakar Dakingari.

Facilities for the factory, which will have 32 silos are being installed as at the time of the visit by Bagudu, who was accompanied by legislators and top government officials.

“I must commend Dangote Group of Companies especially Alhaji Aliko Dangote for initiating the project in Kebbi State.

“This will go a long way in providing employment to our youth as well as boosting the economy of the state and Nigeria at large “, he said.Bagudu used the opportunity to invite more investors to Kebbi to set up more factories.

Similarly, the governor made a stop over at a local rice mill in Yauri where he interacted with some women processing local rice.

The women told the governor that the price of rice has fallen which according to them was an indication that Federal Government’s rice initiative is working.

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