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$2.7bn Debt: US Court Rules In Favour Of NNPC

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U.S. Southern District Court of New York has delivered judgment in favour of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) against ESSO Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited and Shell Nigerian Exploration and Production Company Limited (collectively ESSO).
The NNPC disclosed this in a statement issued by its spokesman, Mr Ndu Ughamadu, for the corporation, in Abuja, yesterday.
It would be recalled that a court hearing was held on February 1, in the protracted litigation arising from the disputes between NNPC and ESSO regarding the implementation of the Production Sharing Contract dated May 21, 1993 covering OPL 209/OML 133.
ESSO referred its claims to arbitration in Nigeria and obtained an arbitral award of 1.799 billion dollars on October 24, 2011, with annual interest running at LIBOR plus 4 per cent.
NNPC challenged the judgement at the Federal High Court, Abuja, which in May 2012, ordered that the Arbitral award be set aside.
Notwithstanding the decision of the Nigerian Court, ESSO applied to the United States District Court, Southern District of New York for recognition and enforcement of the arbitral award.
NNPC challenged ESSO’s application on the ground that there was no award, which the US ourt could enforce as a competent Court in Nigeria had since set aside the award.
NNPC also contended that there was no legal basis for the US Court to exercise jurisdiction over it as it had no presence in the United States, owned no property and did not conduct its businesses therein.
ESSO contended that NNPC is the alter ego of the Federal Government of Nigeria, owned assets in the USA including bank accounts and also conducted businesses in the USA.
ESSO obtained the leave of court to conduct jurisdictional discovery to ascertain if the US court could assert personal jurisdiction over NNPC.
At the close of the discovery procedure, the court ordered NNPC and ESSO to appear for oral hearing, which was held before Honourable Judge W. H. Pauley on February 1, for parties to canvass their respective positions.
On September 4, the US court delivered its judgment by which it upheld the NNPC’s a application to dismiss ESSO’s enforcement application on the ground that a competent Nigerian court had set aside the underlying award.
It also directed the clerk of the court to terminate and discontinue all motions and processes filed by ESSO in the matter.
“By this development, NNPC has successfully secured the dismissal of ESSO’s application to secure recognition and enforcement of its arbitral award valued in excess of US$2,699,405,616 plus interest.

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Housing/Property

‘Why There Are Vacant Properties In Rivers’

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A Port Harcourt based real estate expert, Mr Atabebhunu Peters, has listed a number of reasons why many building properties are vacant in Rivers State.
Peters, who spoke to The Tide in an interview, yesterday, in Port Harcourt, noted that top on the list was the poor management of the security challenges in the state.
He explained that the security challenges in the state has not been adequately addressed and this has caused a lot of individuals and corporate bodies to leave the state.
According to him, “security challenges in the state play a role. A lot of people have left this state, companies have also left, that’s why you see these vacant properties littering the state.”
He lamented that even embassies have left the state which he said, has brought inconveniences to those seeking visas to foreign countries.
Peters also observed that the economic situaton of the country has also contributed to the housing challenge in the state, noting that in cases where the fortunes of a family have dwindled, they would be more concerned about feeding and, “not buying of properties’’.
He explained that due to the economic crunch being experienced in the country, some employers have downsized, making the affected workers to either move to smaller apartments or relocate from Port Harcourt city into the rural areas.
He also noted that the mortgage system in the country was not favourable to real estate practitioners, pointing out that in other climes, properties were built by developers with mortgage funding while prospect buyers purchase and pay back within 20-30 years.
Meanwhile, the real estate expert also identified double taxation as a bane to the development of the real estate industry, saying “these costs would be built into the cost of the property and it makes the average worker not to be able to afford the property, they thereby stand vacant for months or years.”
He expressed unhappiness that in spite of government outlawing what is popularly known as “marching ground,” community members were still demanding it which he noted sometimes runs in to six figures.
He regretted that many youths in the state allowed themselves to be used to destroy the once peaceful disposition of the state and appealed to them to engage themselves with gainful ventures that would not only build the state’s economy but also give them financial freedom.

 

Tonye Nria-Dappa

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Housing/Property

UN Moves To Provide Advanced Urbanisation In Africa …Says 90% Of Africans Live In Informal Housing

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The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has urged concerted efforts to create advanced urbanisation as an estimated 90 per cent of Africa’s population live in informal housing.
Director of the Africa Centre for Statistics at the ECA, Oliver Chinganya, made the call during a two-day Global Forum on Human Settlements (GFHS 2019) in Addis Ababa, recently.
The theme of the forum is “Sustainable Development of Cities and Human Settlements in the Digital Era”.
Chinganya stressed that “human settlement must be thought of in terms of quality of life and levels of satisfaction of basic needs’’.
The director deplored the fact that an estimated 60 to 70 per cent of urban households live in slums and close to 90 per cent of the population in Africa live in informal housing.
“This is a large share of the population that live in overcrowded, unhealthy and risky environments,’’ the ECA official said.
Chinganya added that the informal housing across Africa “lack the basic services and social protections that many of us here take for granted, such as clean and safe water, a decent toilet, title deeds or rental agreements, among others’’.
Chinganya further said that all sorts of discussions on smart cities and the digital citizenry must be conducted with the understanding that only a third of Africans are on the internet.
“The digital infrastructures are far from the world’s best in terms of speed, volume, and reliability.’’
Over the past two days, close to 500 experts and policymakers, who are drawn from 52 countries worldwide, have been sharing innovative policies, strategies, technologies and examples on sustainable cities and human settlements towards the betterment of cities and the lives of urban dwellers.
The forum, among other things, explored how to harness huge opportunities arising from the digital revolution to upgrade the planning, construction and management of cities and human settlements, and make them greener, smarter and more sustainable.

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Housing/Property

Architect Laments Activities Of Quacks In Building Industry

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A design expert in the real estate sector of the economy, Mr Ebi Bozimo, has decried the activities of quacks in the building industry, describing it as a menace to the growth of the industry in the country.
Bozimo made this declaration in a chat with The Tide on Monday, in Port Harcourt.
Bozimo, who is the Vice Chairman, Nigeria Institute of Architects (NIA), Rivers Chapter, noted that the activities of quacks in the built environment was contributory to the incessant building collapse in the country and vowed that NIS would clamp down on them.
He said that architecture was pivotal to housing development and should not accommodate quacks to plague its growth.
Bozimo, who is also the Project Manager of Rainbow Town Limited in Port Harcourt, however, assured the commitment of architects towards improving the aesthetics of the state, while not compromising the structural integrity of buildings.
He explained: “the job of an architect is to design functional spaces that are aesthetically appealing both to the property owner and the environment from the start of the project to finish with durability of the building in mind’’.
He urged architects to constantly develop themselves in order to keep abreast with modern techniques and practices so as to give their clients value for their money.

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