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Abacha Family Dismisses Govt’s Claim Of Resolving $1.3bn OML 245 Court Cases



The family of the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha has dismissed the claim by the federal government that all Court Cases relating to ownership of the oil exploration company, Malabu Oil and Gas have been resolved.
The family dismissed the claim said to have been made by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Heineken Lokpobiri, at a public function in Abuja.
In a protest letter against the claim written by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Reuben Okpanachi Atabo, the Abacha family issued a 14-day ultimatum to Lokpobiri to withdraw the alleged false claim or be slammed with contempt of court charges.
In the protest letter received at the AGF and Oil Minister’s offices on July 5, the Abacha family averred that the claim made at the opening session of the “Nigerian Oil and Gas Energy Week” by Lokpobiri was false, spurious, unfounded and an affront to the courts where several cases on ownership of Malabu Oil and Gas are still pending.
Lokpobiri was reported to have said the ongoing negotiations to end the disputes surrounding the Oil Mining License (OML 245) have been concluded and that the oil block will resume production in the national interest.
Malabu Oil and Gas Company belonging to the Abacha family was said to be the owner of the deepwater OML 245 oil block located in the southern Niger Delta but in 2001, the federal government under former President Olusegun Obasanjo revoked Malabu’s license to the oil block.
In 2006, Malabu challenged the revocation in court but the matter was settled out-of-court with the government under former President Umaru Yar’Adua.
Trouble, however, erupted in 2011 when Shell and Eni, two major oil companies reportedly acquired the 245 oil block for $1.3 billion from Malabu in a deal approved by the Nigerian government via transfer of rights from Malabu to Shell and ENI in exchange for consideration but without the knowledge of the Abacha family.

Ever since there have been a series of litigations in various Courts by the Abacha family to reclaim ownership of the rich oil block.
The protest letter by the senior lawyer to the Oil Minister read in part “We act as Solicitors to Malabu Oil and Gas Limited, Alhaji Mohammed Sani Abacha and Pecos Energy Ltd and on whose authority and firm instructions we write to you.
“Our Clients’ attention has been drawn to the remarks made by the Hon. Minister of State for Petroleum Resources at the opening session of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Energy Week to the effect that all legal issues relating to OPL 245 have been resolved and that the coast is clear for investors to come and invest in OML 245.
“At the said opening session, with the theme ‘Showcasing opportunities, driving investment, meeting demand’, the Minister stated thus; “I am happy to announce to you that we have resolved all the issues. We should be expecting investments in 10s of billions of dollars to create an atmosphere where we become globally competitive. Nigeria fiscals are globally competitive and those Companies that left over a year ago are coming back.”
“Sometime in 1998, Alhaji Mohammed Sani, Kweku Amafagha and Hassan Hindu co-founded Malabu Oil & Gas Limited as initial shareholders
“We wish to inform you that in 2011, there were resolution agreements between the Federal Government of Nigeria, Shell Nigeria Ultra-Deep and the Nigeria Agip Exploration on OPL 245, our Clients were not represented at the said Resolution Agreements rather Chief Dan Etete who was neither a Director nor Shareholder of Malabu Oil and Gas Limited purportedly represented the company.
“It was these Resolution Agreements that subsequently led to the sale of OPL 254 to Shell Exploration and Nigeria Agip Exploration Company Limited at the cost of $1.3 Billion US Dollars.
“Our Clients who did not participate nor benefit from the proceeds have maintained various actions in court.
“Sir, we also wish to state categorically on behalf of our Clients that there are various ongoing cases at different courts in Nigeria on OPL 245 and to this effect, we need to correct the impression that all legal issues have been resolved specifically, in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/201/2017 between Malabu Oil and Gas and the federal government and others.
“We wish to inform you that the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has also maintained criminal charges against some persons in respect of the purported sale.
“We wish to most respectfully inform you that the controversy surrounding the Oil Prospecting Licence OPL 245 led to the setting up of the Ad-Hoc Committee of the House of Representatives to investigate Malabu Oil & Gas via –a-vis the potential economic value of OPL 245 to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“From the foregoing, it is evident that the remarks made by your esteemed self during the opening session of the Nigerian Energy Week are not only misleading but bereft of the factual situation on the ground.
“Furthermore, the said remarks is an affront on the authority of our Courts, having regard to the fact that the matter is sub judice before various courts in Nigeria.
“By Section 6 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), judicial powers in Nigeria are vested in our Courts who are meant to determine disputes between individuals and Government.
“Also, we are now in a democratic system of government where the Rule of Law prevails and not the Rule of force.
“From the various courts, it can be seen that the Federal Government of Nigeria is a party to the ongoing suits and therefore the said remarks made by your esteemed self, amount to writing judgment in your own favour notwithstanding the fact that you are a party to the suits.
“In view of the fact that the matters of OPL 245 are in Court, we do not need to go into further details to allow the Hon. Justices of the various courts to dispense justice.
“Take notice therefore that we are by this letter demanding that your esteemed self, issue a statement retracting your remarks made during the opening session of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Energy Week with the theme “Showcasing opportunities, driving investment, meeting demand.” which is in issue within 14 days from the receipt of this letter failure of which we shall take an action against you in a competent Court of Law without further recourse to our Clients.
“Accept the assurances of our highest esteem, “ the lawyer said.

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Why We Chose Mayor of Housing As Patron -Govt House Choir



Members of the Rivers State Government House Choir have explained the carefulness exercised in picking the Mayor of Housing, My-ACE China, as the first patron of the ensemble.
Mr China was installed as Patron and member of the ensemble Sunday last at a colourful but solemn ceremony marked by some of the most exhilarating songs.
Explaining the painstaking process, one of the choristers, Kate Ogan, who is also a media personality, said nobody enters into the Ensemble without serious background check.
Ogan said: “We saw a lot of qualities in My-ACE China including his exploits promoting human capacity development in Rivers State. When we identified these qualities in him, we resolved after investigations to bring him closer.
“It is clear that no one person can do everything for a society or a state, so we need others to help to develop people. Let people take a cue from My-ACE China in seeking ways to develop the society.”
She told newsmen that some people were usually scared of business people but that the Government House Choir were comfortable with him. “We couldn’t have just brought him or anybody in without background checks or investigations. Each of us was also screened before we were accepted. We also pray before we touch anyone. We prayed and we got the leading to go ahead.”
Another member, MrAsueiza Ezekiel Iyalla, who sings in the alto segment, said they saw in the Mayor of Housing, somebody full of respect to God. “We see someone that can bring value to this choir. We only had a very short meeting and he said things that would amaze us about things that can bring value to this project and this state. Working with him, we will go higher and higher.
“We appeal to other Nigerians to come and see the roles they can play to lift the talents of Rivers people. We have the best organist in Nigeria. If people come in, they can see exportable talents.”
In his opinion, Mike Julius, bass singer, said the Mayor of Housing, despite being in real estate, finds time for God. “He takes out time to commune with his Maker. He is also a singer. So, we bring him closer to see the talents we have in this state. Today, he has joined the choir of the Government House and he came to see what he can do to lift it higher.”
Reacting after the presentation of his induction plaque, the Mayor of Housing, who was accompanied by his wife, Chidinma China, said he saw it as a huge privilege. He said the onus and responsibility of taking the best part and the best light from Rivers State to the rest of the world is an honour to him.
|And, it is a privilege I find very rare. It is rather like a spiritual conferment on me than a choral role from this or any other choral group for that matter. I feel like a man called into ecclesiastical mission.
“This will spur me to not only make sure they get all the resources and personnel they need to be world class, but to ensure that they are seen as world class. This is because we live in a 21st century reality that nobody sees or values you if you are not known. It is my onus to make sure that this beautiful choir in this Government House in this beautiful entity called Rivers State is known all over the world as the best of what Rivers State has to export.”
He said Nigeria has the best of the best in talent, art, music, and culture. What is wrong is that we have been carried away by politics and eking a living that we tend to neglect these things.
“Neglect leads to death and whatever you neglect dies. So, my message to Nigerians is, don’t neglect the rich heritage of where we come from; especially our skills and talents. You will be surprised how much more that would get us to our destination than politics and the like.”
It was gathered that the umbrella body of the Government House Choir is the Riv-Harmonious Mission Ensemble.
It was further gathered that the Choir moves out when representing the State Government or on an exclusive Government Programme. Also, in very selective outings in stand-up performances or own concerts.
However, for exclusively private performances, they go by their umbrella name – Riv-Harmonious Mission Ensemble.
The Rivers group is said to be made up of professionals in terms of singing and occupation. They have in graduates in diverse fields as well as career professionals – Business men, chartered accountants (ICAN), On Air Personalities (OAPs), entrepreneurs, etc.
Some of them have more than 30 years of singing and instrumental careers. That is said to be only possible with commitment, dedication, passion and basically, service to God.
Talent base:
Many say the biggest asset in Rivers State may not be in oil/gas but in the reservoir of talents that abound, plus human capital development.
That could be why whenever a governor that values human capital steps into office, the state seems to vibrate: scholarships to study anywhere, training schemes, ICT schemes, industrial attachments, SME loans, etc.
The next big asset for the state is said to be agric which goes from crop yields (especially cassava and palm oil) and aquatic resources.
In talents, the dances and drama of the state have produced world beaters but it can do much more if the state’s leaders are intentional about it.
Many would easily talk about the Mercy Johnsons of this world, Hilda Dokubo, Yibo Koko, Julius Agwu, Duncan Mighty, Sam Dede the Isakaba man, and of late, Burna Boy. But many may never know that a big voice asset is an ensemble in the womb of power, the Brick House, which is the Government House of Rivers State. Yes, the same place that oozes power, crisis, and threat.
The name of the Chapel is called the Chapel of Everlasting Grace’.
On the installation evening, the Music Director, Mr Enitoun Ezekiel Iyalla, after the opening prayers and directions of the reverend who is the Chaplain, Dr Joseph Joseph, took the Choir on a windy lane of many classics.
The nigh was highlighted by soprano solo by a man that does not see physically (vision impaired) but who is being compared with the greatest sopranos in the world, Cameroon Ayebatari.
The highlight of songs was ‘Peace, Be Still” which was dedicated to the affairs of Rivers State where peace and still waters are known to be most needed.
Then, the conferment of Patron and honorary membership to the Mayor of Housing. Those who knew the Mayor of Housing talked about versatility, academic brilliance (best graduating student in both secondary school in Jos with 9 As and in the UNN), generosity, and above all, his fire burning spiritual life.
The partnership resolved with determination to promote the choir beyond being an ensemble in an enclosure. The coming of the Mayor of Housing may ensure global audience for the Choir.

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FG Appeals To Youths To Shelve Protest



President Bola Tinubu, yesterday appealed to Nigerian youths to shelve their plans to carry out protests.

Alhaji Mohammed Idris, Minister of Information and National Orientation, disclosed this while addressing State House correspondents after a meeting with the President.

According to Idris, the President does not see any need for protest, he has listened to them, and asked them to await government’s response to all their pleas.

“Mr President has asked me to again inform Nigerians that he listens to them, especially the young people that are trying to protest.

“Mr President listens to them, he takes what they say seriously and he is working assiduously to ensure that this country is good not just for today but also for the future,” he said.

He said the government was doing a lot of things to cushion the hardship experienced by Nigerians.

“Today, the National Assembly has expeditiously passed the bill on National Minimum Wage. You can see how the President is working, it was transmitted only yesterday and today it has been passed.

“A lot of other interventions that the President has put in place are also going to be looked at expeditiously in the interest of Nigerians.

“So, there is no need for protest, the young people out there should listen to the President and allow him more time to see to the realisation of all the goodies he has for them,” Idris said.

The minister said the highlights of other policies to cushion the effect of the hardship Nigerians were feeling included distribution of grains and rice by the Federal Government to state governments.

“Like I said that time it is just the necessary first step. Government is going to continue in that direction, assuring that whatever intervention the Federal Government has put in place will go to those that should benefit.

“The Federal Government is looking at strategies that every intervention will go directly to those who benefit from those interventions not middle men intercepting them along the way,” he said.

He added that another important intervention by the Federal Government was the students loan.

“Mr President is very passionate about it, that everyone that should go to school will have the opportunity to do so.

“It is no longer a time for our young men and women who have passed examinations to go to tertiary institutions not to be able to do that because their parents cannot pay for their fees,” said the minister.

He said the government was also perfecting a scheme to support graduates of universities and polytechnics that were not able to get jobs until they got employed.

“The whole idea is that no one is left behind, it is an all inclusive government and the President is determined to ensure that no one is left behind in this attempt to march Nigeria towards progress,” said Idris.

The minister said his meeting with the President was to discuss issues relating to government’s media organisations such as NTA, FRCN, NAN and VON.

“We have discussed all that, we have also arrived at situations that will help their positions as public information platforms of the country.

“They should be in the forefront and we are doing everything possible to make sure that they are being repositioned so that they can serve Nigeria very well,” he said.

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We’ll Deliver Okania-Ogbogoro Road By Dec, Fubara Assures  …Says 90% Drainage Work Ready



Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has assured of the timely completion of the 5-kilometer Okania-Ogbogoro Road that will ease movement for both residents and motorists who use that path to avoid the traffic problem caused by the ongoing construction of the Port Harcourt Ring Road in the State.


The Okania-Ogbogoro Road is in Akpor area of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the State capital.


The Governor also described as fulfilling the expression of joy and excitement by residents of Okania and Ogbogoro communities who are seeing their major access road that was abandoned for about 14 years, being reconstructed with about 90 percent drainage work achieved.


Governor Fubara spoke shortly after embarking on a long trek of the 5-kilometer Okania-Ogbogoro road, inspecting culverts, drainages, texture of the surface layers of the road work, and receiving explanations from the Commissioner for Works, Engr Elloka Tasie-Amadi, who accompanied him on the inspection tour on Monday.


The Governor said: “You are aware that two months ago, we came here to flag off this project, having considered the importance of this road; knowing fully well what our people are suffering because of the Ring Road we are constructing.


“So, we are here this evening to assess the level of work going on here. I think from what we are seeing, it is better than what we met the first time we came here.


“The contractor has assured us that they have done 90 percent of the drainage work; and following the raining season, they are expecting to achieve a greater part of the project hopefully within August and September.”


Governor Fubara also said: “All things been equal, he has also assured us that by December, if we miss November, we will be coming here to commission this road.


“You can see how excited our people are. It is a road that has been abandoned for over 14 years. So, it means this project means a lot to the people living here.


“And for us as a government, it also means a lot that we are doing something that is touching the lives of our people,” he added.


He urged the people to exercise patience as a good quality road would be delivered for their use very soon, adding that the only thing the government expects from the people is their total support while maintaining peace in their communities.

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