The Rivers State Government has secured the enforcement of her interest in the acquisition of 45 per cent equity stake in Oil Mining Lease (OML) 11 and the Shell facility at Kidney Island in Port Harcourt.
Accordingly, Kidney Island, which was once used as Shell Petroleum Development Company marine operational base in Port Harcourt, now belongs to the Rivers State Government pursuant to a certificate of purchase registered in the Lands Registry as No. 6 at Page 6 in Vol. 46, Port Harcourt.
The certificate of purchase was issued by the order of the High Court of Rivers State on July 23, 2019, and September 25, 2019 following the purchase of the lucrative facility.
It would be recalled that the Supreme Court had in November, 2020, reaffirmed Rivers State Government’s acquisition of SPDC interest in OML 11 and Kidney Island when it dismissed the oil firm’s suit which sought to set aside the judgment made against it in 2019 in favour of Ejama-Ebubu community in Eleme Local Government Area.
The Rivers State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof Zaccheus Adangor, SAN, made this known, last on Wednesday, while addressing journalists after sealing off Shell’s Kidney Island facility in execution of the judgement of Rivers State High Court.
“You will recall that sometime in 2017, the people of Ejama-Ebubu secured judgement against SPDC and its subsidiaries in the sum of N57.7billion for the damages done to their environment arising from the oil spill from the Trans-Niger pipeline in 1970.
“After that judgement, Shell refused to pay the judgement sum, and thereafter, proceeded to levy execution by attaching the moveable properties of SPDC. But those were found to be grossly insufficient to settle the judgement sum.
“Subsequently, they (Ejama-Ebubu community) approached the court to seek the leave of the court to attach the immovable properties of SPDC, and the court granted them that order. Following the grant of that order, there was a court order for sale of some of the properties of SPDC, including Kidney Island and the acquisition of Shell interest in OML 11”, Adangor said.
Adangor said that after the court order, a public auction was held by the officers of the Rivers State Judiciary during which the state government bided successfully for the purchase of Kidney Island and Shell interest in OML 11.
“So, we are here to execute the judgement of the High Court of Rivers State, and secure the enforcement of the interest acquired by the Rivers State Government”, he added.
The Attorney General stated that the Rivers State Government successfully executed the enforcement as Shell, in all fairness, did not resist the enforcement.
“It was lawfully purchased through public auction ordered by the court pursuant to a court judgement; hence everything went in accordance with the due process of the law.
“The Rivers State Government successfully executed the enforcement, and in fairness to Shell, there was no resistance during the exercise.”
“I was on ground to ensure that everything was done smoothly and in accordance with the law”, Adangor explained.
Also speaking, a representative of the office of the Deputy Sheriff, High Court, Port Harcourt, Mr. Livinus Akere, said the exercise was to take vacant possession of Kidney Island auctioned on August 13, 2019, and OML 11 in Ejama-Ebubu community of Eleme Local Government Area.
It would be recalled that in September, 2019, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, had announced the acquisition of SPDC’s 45 per cent interest in OML 11 oilfields and Kidney Island in the state.
The governor, following a court order to auction SPDC assets in the suit against Ejama-Ebubu community, had directed the Rivers State Ministry of Finance Incorporated to make a bid of $150,000,0900.00 supported by a Bank Guarantee and cash payment to the Deputy Sheriff in the sum of N1billion, the later payable to the Judgement Creditors while the former is escrowed.
However, the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) has kicked against the move by the Rivers State Government, saying that the exercise was “premature”.
A statement signed by Shell Media Relations Manager, Bamidele Odugbesan, last Wednesday, said, “the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) has dismissed the reported takeover of Kidney Island asset of the SPDC Joint Venture in Port Harcourt by the Rivers State Government in the exercise of rights purportedly acquired through a court auction process that is still the subject of ongoing appeals at the Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt.
“According to SPDC, any purported exercise of rights allegedly acquired through that process including any attempt to take over or seal up the Kidney Island asset or other assets of the SPDC JV to satisfy claims in pending suits is premature and prejudicial to the ongoing court proceedings, and therefore not recognised.
“Under the Nigerian Petroleum Act, any acquisition or assignment of interests in a licence or lease would require the consent of the Minister of Petroleum. No such consent has been given in the case of the purported acquisition by the Rivers State Government.
“In addition, the ruling of the Supreme Court on 27 November 2020 did not decide liability or the size of the award in the underlying suit of Chief Ogbara & Others Vs SPDC neither did the ruling affirm the purported sale of SPDC JV’s assets to the River State Government as being claimed by the state.
“Meanwhile, there is a pending litigation by SPDC in which the Federal High Court has issued an interim order restraining further enforcement of the underlying Agbara judgment pending the hearing of the motion on notice fixed for hearing on 14 January 2021.
“We remain of the view that until the pending appeals are heard and determined, any exercise of rights including any attempt to take over or seal up SPDC JV’s assets by the Rivers State Government is premature and unlawful,” the statement added.
UBEC, RSUBEB Begin Digital School Construction In Rivers
As part of government’s efforts to realize its dream of making the nation’s educational system a global digital community, the Federal Government, through the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and the Rivers State Universal Basic Education Board (RSUBEB), have commenced the construction of a modern digital Smart Basic School in the state, with 14-month completion schedule.
The school, which is a pilot modern basic education facility, is designed by UBEC in collaboration with RSUBEB to entrench digitization of ICT-driven basic education system across the 36 states and FCT, Abuja.
Speaking with journalists at a brief handover ceremony of the proposed smart school site to UBEC by RSUBEB at the Community Primary School, Uzuoba in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state, over the weekend, the National Consultant, UBEC Smart School Project, Prof Masud Abdulkarim, said the school was designed to incorporate digital technology into the basic education system in the country, which he said, has been in practice in advanced countries for years.
Abdulkarim stated that the desire of the Federal Government was to ensure that Nigerian children were not left out in the digital space, saying that the school would have great impact on the youth and give them equal opportunity to compete globally in the technology world.
He described the school as the first of its kind in the history of the country, adding that the school would have four categories that would take care of the nursery, handicapped, primary as well as junior secondary students with a maximum of 35 persons per class of two streams.
Abdulkarim noted that with the strategy, no fewer than 700 children would be enrolled into the school.
According to him, the school would afford the children the opportunity to become robotic engineers, artificial intelligence (AI) engineers and ICT engineers, and added that as future leaders, they need to be equipped and encouraged.
The UBEC consultant commended the state government for the provision of the school for the construction of the smart school, and described the site as the most suitable across the 23 states so far visited.
“Let me thank the RSUBEB for the site, in fact, it is the best and most suitable site among the 23 states we have so far visited. Because it has an existing school structure with a fence to protect our equipment and infrastructure. Moreso, the project will impact on the schools around because they will benefit from our Wi-Fi”, he stated.
Abdulkarim called on the host community to jealously guard the project as a growing child, till its maturity to adult stage, saying that they were important stakeholders in the project.
Also speaking on behalf of the Chairman of Rivers State Universal Basic Education Board (RSUBEB), Ven Fyneface Akah, a commissioner in the board, Chief Faith Amaso, called for synergy between the contractors and host community in other to remove every impediment that may affect the delivery of the project on schedule.
Akah opined that the project, when completed, would improve basic education in the state, and expressed happiness over the commencement of the project in the state.
Rivers United Beat Young Africans Of Tanzania 1-0
Rivers United Football Club of Port Harcourt, yesterday, at the Adokiye Amasiemaka Football Stadium, trounced the Young Africans Football Club of Tanzania 1-0 in a return leg match of the ongoing Confederation of African Football Club Champions League competition.
The stadium, which was filled to capacity, witnessed a trilling encounter, which saw the crowd craving for more.
It would be recalled that Rivers United had defeated the Young Africans of Tanzania 1-0 in the first leg of the championship at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, last Sunday.
Reacting to the feat, the Chairman of Degema Local Government Area, Hon. Michael John Williams, expressed joy over the victory of the Rivers United FC of Port Harcourt against the Young Africans of Tanzania in the ongoing Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League.
The match, which ended 1-0 in favour of the Rivers United FC, took place at the Adokiye Amiesimaka International Stadium in Rivers State, yesterday.
Top government officials in the state, including Rivers Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo; LG council chairmen and commissioners, amongst other sports enthusiasts, graced the event.
Speaking on the outcome of the match, Williams stated that the Rivers United players exhibited the Rivers team spirit, which culminated in their victory.
The political heavyweight in Degema LGA, noted that nothing would be impossible for Rivers people to achieve when they work together in unison and firm determination.
He added that the massive support and huge investment in the sports sector by the Governor Nyesom Wike administration, also motivated the Rivers team, who worked hard to secure a back-to-back victory.
By: Nelson Chukwudi
NJC Okays Six Chief Judges, 30 Others For Appointment
The National Judicial Council (NJC), has recommended the appointment of chief judges and 30 others as judicial officers to beef up judicial functions in some states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
At its 95th meeting held on September 15 and 16, 2021, the council considered the list of candidates presented by its Interview Committee, and recommended the 36 successful candidates to their respective state governors for appointment as heads of courts and other judicial officers in Nigeria.
They are Hon. Justice Richard O. Olorunfemi as chief judge, Kogi State, Hon. Justice Joe Itsebaga Acha for Edo, Hon. Justice Akintoroye Williams Akin for Ondo, Hon. Justice Husseini Baba Yusuf for FCT, Hon. Justice Ekaette Francesca Fabian-Obot for Akwa Ibom, and Hon. Justice J. O. Adeyeye for Ekiti State.
Others are Hon. Kadi Baba Gana Mahdi as Grand Kadi, Yobe; Umaru Ahmad Liman as Grand Kadi, Bauchi; Hon. Justice Osagede Osado Emmanuel as President, Customary Court of Appeal, Nasarawa; Hon. Justice Mashud Akintunde Akinfemi Abass as President, Customary Court of Appeal, Oyo State; and Siyaka Momoh Jimoh Usman as President, Customary Court of Appeal, Kogi State.
Three judges are recommended for High Court of Gombe, and they are Zainab Abdulkadir Rasheed, Abdussalam Muhammad, and Daurabo Suleiman Sikka.
Akwa Ibom has Effiong Asukwo Effiong; Bauchi has Nana Fatima Jibril; while Kaduna High Court has Abdulkarim Mahmud.
The three candidates recommended for Katsina State are Kabir Shuaibu, Ibrahim Ishaku Mashi, and Ibrahim Abubakar Mande, while Prof Alero Akeredolu was recommended for Ondo State.
Four successful candidates for Oyo State are Olusola Adebisi Adetujoye, Folabimpe Beatrice Segun Olakojo, Prof Taiwo Elijah Adewale, and Kareem Adeyimika Adedokun.
Kogi State has three candidates, and they are Abubakar Sule Ibrahim, Abdullah Sulyman, as well as Aminu Ali Eri.
Two Kadis for Sharia Court of Appeal are Adamu Kuna Jibril and Ahmed Baba Bala, while the four for Bauchi are Musa Sani Abubakar, Mahdi Manga, Khamis Al-Hamidallah Muhammad and Sani Musa with Ondo State having one in the person of Orimisan James Okorisa and Oyo Customary Court of Appeal having Ajadi Olubukola Omolayo.
A statement by the NJC Director of Information, Mr Soji Oye, and released in Abuja, yesterday, said that all the recommended candidates are expected to be sworn-in after approval by President Muhammadu Buhari, and their respective state governors, and confirmation by the respective state Houses of Assembly.
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