Facebook’s Public Relations Chief To Step Down

Facebook Inc said on Thursday that its Head of Communications and Public Policy, Elliot Schrage, would step down from the company after a decade.

Facebook said in a statement that Schrage led the social network’s response to scandals about privacy and election meddling.

Schrage will stay on as an adviser to Facebook while his successor is chosen, and will later assist with special projects, the company said.

He has no immediate plans except to “start a new chapter in his life,” Facebook said.

Schrage is at least the third high-level executive set to leave Facebook this year, upending a period of relative stability in the company’s management.

Jan Koum, Co-founder and Chief Executive of the Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp, announced his resignation in April, and Chief Security Officer, Alex Stamos, is expected to leave in August.

Facebook has faced a barrage of criticism from users and lawmakers after it said last year that Russian agents used Facebook to spread disinformation before and after the 2016 U.S. presidential election, an accusation Moscow denied.

It is the world’s largest social network.

In March, the company faced new scrutiny over how it protects personal information after acknowledging that the data of up to 87 million people ended up in the hands of political consultancy, Cambridge Analytica.

Schrage has considered resigning for about two years, Facebook said.

He raised wanting to leave before the 2016 election but agreed to stay at the request of Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, the company said.

“Leading policy and communications for hyper-growth technology companies is a joy – but itis also intense and leaves little room for much else,” Schrage said in a post on Facebook.

PHOTOS: Mr Toyota, Chief Michael Ade Ojo Celebrates 80th Birthday

Nigeria’s No 1 car salesman, Chief Michael Ade Ojo, known variously as Elizade or Mr. Toyota, clocked 80 years on June 14, 2018. 

A thanksgiving Service was held at Archbishop Vinning Memorial Church, Off Oba Akinjobi Way, GRA Ikeja. This was followed by a reception at 10th Degree Event Centre, Oregon. 

N3Bn Richer: Babalakin Defeats AMCON, FG in Federal Secretariat Battle

Billionaire lawyer, Dr Bolanle Olawale Babalakin SAN, is N3billion richer today after defeating the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) in a long-drawn legal battle to take ovèr the Federal Secretariat Complex in Ikoyi.

NewsmakersNG reports that the case, which has been before Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court, in Lagos, since 2012, was decided in favour of Babalakin as the Court answered all his prayers and ordered AMCON to pay N3billion for damages caused by publishing his name as a chronic debtor in This Day Newspaper.

Babalakin and his company, Resort International Limited sued AMCON and the Attorney General of the Federation demanding compensation over the libellous print and online newspaper publication that listed him as a debtor, when the Federal Government still owe him a judgement debt of N132, 540, 580, 304.

The N132.5billion judgement was given by the same Justice Ibrahim Buba in 2011.

The Court also dismissed AMCON’s debt recovery suit filed against Babalakin.

The judge specifically awarded the sum of N3billion damages against the Federal Government and AMCON and in favour of Babalakin for publishing his name in ThisDay Newspaper of February 5, 2016 as a chronic debtor.

AMCON had dragged Babalakin and one of his companies, Resort International Ltd to court in November 2012, seeking an order for the repayment of the sum of N20.5bn comprising principal sum and accrued interest as at October 2011 on various loan facilities allegedly granted to the lawyer/businessman and personally guaranteed by his company.

AMCON was also seeking an order granting it the power of sale or disposal of a parcel of land known as Alma Beach property, and the parcel of land known as the Federal Secretariat Complex, Phase 1 & 2, Ikoyi in partial or final liquidation of the debt.

AMCON also wanted the Court to grant it the power of sale or disposal of all the fuel hydrant tanks situated at the Domestic Wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, owned by the Ist defendant and given as security for the debt, or in the alternative, an order of the Court appointing AMCON as Receivers over the business and assets of Resort International Ltd and Wale Babalakin for the purpose of managing same to fully realize the alleged judgment debt.

But in a counter-claim, Babalakin and his company contended that they were not indebted to AMCON but that a N4 billion facility offer to the company was an equity contribution which was wrongly classified as a loan from First Bank Plc,.

They also claimed that it was not a loan that they were obligated to repay with interest and same could not be acquired by AMCON.

They, therefore, asked the court to set aside the purported loan for being inconsistent with the provisions of the AMCON Act (2010) as amended and the CBN guideline for the operations of AMCON and to declare same as illegal , null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

The Counter-Claimants further contended that the publication of their names and that of their Directors by the AMCON in the list of delinquent debtors in relation to loan facilities purportedly acquired by the 1st Defendant which were the subjects of pending suits between the Counter-Claimants and the Defendants is unconstitutional, illegal, an infringement of the rights of the Counter-Claimants and an affront to the judicial powers of the Honourable Court and the administration of justice system.

In his judgment, Justice Buba agreed with the arguments of the counter-claimants and dismissed the claims of the Federal Government and AMCON.

The court ordered the claimants (FG and AMCON) to publish a full and complete retraction and apology to the counter-claimants (Babalakin and his company) in three national dailies and to forward to them a written undertaking that it will cease from publishing similar allegations .

Justice Buba also ordered the Federal Government to comply with the terms of the arbitral award rendered on December 3, 2015 which awarded N55 billion to the counter-claimants.

The judge also held that the counter-claimants is not indebted to AMCON in the sum of N21 billion or any sum whatsoever arising from the facility purportedly acquired from Zenith Bank Plc. and First Bank of Nigeria Plc.

The court further declared that the Loan Purchase and Limited Servicing Agreement entered into between Babalakin and First Bank of Nigeria PLC on April 6, 2011 for the purported acquisition of the Loan Rights of First Bank of Nigeria PLC in the sum of N18,843,081,673. is inconsistent with the provisions of the AMCON Act 2010 (as amended) and the CBN Guidelines for the Operations of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria issued on 15th November 2010 and therefore illegal, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

The Court, therefore, set aside the Loan Purchase and Limited Servicing Agreement for being illegal, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

Justice Buba also ordered AMCON to immediately discharge and release to Babalakin all collaterals, guarantees and assets held by it and / or any of the Banks in connection with the facility and ensure the return of the original title documents in respect of such collaterals to the Counter-Claimant.

The collaterals ordered to be returned by the Court included: leasehold interest in the Federal Secretariat Complex Phase I and II Ikoyi, Lagos for a term of 99 years, domiciliation of proceeds from the sale of luxury apartments from the Federal Secretariat Complex Phase I and II Ikoyi, Lagos and fixed Charge over Fuel Hydrant Tanks situate at the Domestic Wing of the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos.

Babalakin’s victory today might spell more trouble for AMCON, an agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) and a statutory corporation created pursuant to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria Act, 2010, to stabilize, revive and re-vitalize the Nigerian financial system by absorbing and managing non-performing loan assets of banks, operating within the Nigerian economy, and their underlining security.

 

Source: NewsMakers

Getting An Extra Skill Never Kills, By Emeka Oparah

Yesterday, I read a piece about a young lawyer that earns N25,000 monthly. I initially thought it was a joke but as I read along, I realized it was a true story. My immediate intention as soon as I was done reading was to ask the author to ask the lawyer to come to Ethelberts and learn how to be a tailor. I already told myself I would train the lawyer for free and provide start-up capital including two machines, other tools and one-year rent for a shop.

On a second thought, however, I said to myself “wait a minute, but why would someone with a law degree from the university and another from the Law School allow him or herself to be subjected to the humiliation of being paid N25,000 monthly?” Doesn’t it smack of cluelessness and low self-esteem to settle for such a pittance, three years post-graduation, as the story said, with the educational qualifications and years of studies?

Two weeks ago during the premier of Season 4 of Airtel Touching Lives, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the music band that entertained had a saxophonist I recognized or I thought I recognized. I looked closed and he was the one! This guy is an accomplished young businessman with a broad footprint in Government MDAs and the private sector. Yet, he was jamming with this band, whom we have paid a tidy sum to for entertainment.

I need not dilate on the excellencies of seeing this successful man playing with a musical band. No doubt he was having fun, enjoying his passion for the sax in particular and music in general, but he surely made some extra bucks that night. As a matter of fact, he agreed to teach me and he’s assured me they once we got started, with my zeal to learn and passion for music, I would be able to perform on stage in 3-6 months. So, watch this space.

Last week, I read and proudly shared the Facebook post of my brother and friend Otunba Segun Ogunbunmi, on his poultry. What struck me was not that Otunba set up a poultry, but that he didn’t have to set up a poultry. Inspired, I have told him to come and help me set up one in my village, which I will hand over to the youths of my community. I’d rather we ran the poultry together and shared the proceeds than sending them recharge cards and small, small money every time. I pray they agree.

Perhaps, one of the things which have brought me the most joy in the last two years is Ethelberts Clothing, which started out of my passion for good clothes. We are going to be 2 years in August but I can tell you that the brand Ethelberts is currently worth over $2m (my personal evaluation)! In the next 3 years, we will sell 70% of the brand for $5m and still maintain our small factory and our modest customer base and extremely happy clientele!

Going to Aba to learn tailoring was humbling. It was equally enlightening. The extent a man can go to learn and to give. The 9 young people who make those great outfits and earn a living from doing so are surely off the begging line, forever, if they manage their success well. The N1000 we keep per outfit sold to help the need wipes off some tears and makes me shed tears of joy-every now and then.

Let I digress, if you’ve been to the university and got a good degree, there’s nothing wrong with acquiring an extra skill, just in case. Imagine someone with a degree in Civil Engineering who’s gone to learn plumbing! With time, he or she will be doing the plumbing works in every new house in the neighborhood just because he understands the theory as well as the practice. Same with someone who’s got a degree and can do carpentry or tailoring or electrical/electronics repairs, etc.

The educational system in Nigeria, unfortunately, does not prepare people adequately for life after graduation except that of seeking paid employment in Airtel, Chevron, Shell, Cadbury, banks and other institutions. And to say these organizations do not have sufficient places to accommodate the deluge of young graduates! I met a young woman, who saved up on her pocket money to register for ICAN while in school. By the time she completed NYSC, she had become a Chartered Accountant with a degree in Economics and she was spoilt for choice of jobs afterwards! Her story is inspiring and her behavior worthy of emulation.

What I’m saying, Ladies and gentlemen, is please encourage your children or wards to pick up an extra skill or two or more, if they can. Those skills can come in very handy in an economy that’s slow in the creation of employments. They can latch on to opportunities. Studying philosophy, public administration, linguistics and such like is good, but in an environment like ours people must focus on courses that can lead them somewhere. I didn’t say those courses are not good, please, but check out how man are gainfully employed or truly happy!

By end of this year, I would have personally added saxophonist and poultry farmer to my curriculum vitae which currently shows I’m a journalist, Public Relations and Advertising practitioner, Crisis Management Expert, Tailor and Cardinal Emeritus.

Innoson Admits To Spreading False Information About GTBank, Supreme Court Judgment

Innoson has today admitted that there was no Supreme Court judgement against GTBank.
After falsely claiming a victory at the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Chairman of Innoson Motors, Dr Innocent Chukwuma has admitted to completely distorting the directive of the Supreme Court and publicly apologized for spreading fake and malicious news.
Innoson had earlier deleted his declaration on social media that the apex court has ordered GTBank to pay him N14bn within 14 days.
This was followed by a statement by his spokesman Cornelius Osigwe in which Innoson walked back from his false declaration stating instead that “There have been a lot of misinterpretations on the Press Release published by Innoson Group on the decision of the Supreme Court”.
This retraction, judicial analysts believe, was advised by Innoson’s lawyers who fear that contempt of court charges on defaming the Supreme Court may be brought against the embattled businessman.
Last week Thursday, Innosoncaused a social and online media storm by falsely claiming that the Supreme Court had ruled in his favour for GTBank to pay him N14bn. However, records of the court proceedings showed no such ruling.
GTBank had also advised the public that Innoson’s claims were “false, mischievous and malicious”.
“There was no directive or Order issued by the Supreme Court of Nigeria to the Bank to make any payment to any of its debtor Customers. We again reiterate that there is no iota of truth in the falsehood being peddled by desperate and mischievous elements and the General Public should disregard same in its entirety,” part of the Bank’s press statement read.
As facts on ground became clear that Innoson’s claim on social media was entirely false, the embattled businessman moved to silently delete the Fake News Tweet from his company’s Twitter Account.
On Monday, June 11, 2018, innoson apologized for misleading the public.
However, Nigerians did not take the company’s lies lightly.
“I cannot believe this, how can someone have total disregard for the highest court in the Land and go on a rampage spreading fake news. This Innoson and his team of lawyers and advisers have no shred of credibility” a Twitter user said.
Another user, whose tweet appears below, lamented that Innoson had fooled Nigerians.
 

Nigeria Signs Pacts On Gas Pipeline With Morocco

Nigeria and Morocco on Monday signed agreements on regional gas pipeline, development of chemical plant and vocational training and technical supervision as part of activities marking President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to the North African country.

This was revealed in statement issued by the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, saying the regional gas pipeline would enable Nigeria to provide gas to West African countries close to Morocco and Europe.

According to the presidential aide, the signing of the agreements was witnessed by Buhari and King Mohammed V1 after a meeting between the two leaders saying the meeting focused on strengthening of relations in gas development, global investments and agricultural training and management.

He said the Managing Director of Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Mr. Uche Orji and the Chief Executive Officer, Office of the Management of Phosphate in Morocco, Mr. Mostafa Terrab, also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the development of ammonia plant in the country.

The cooperation agreement on vocational training was signed by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh and his Moroccan counterpart, Mr. Aziz Akhannouch.

He said the training would enhance skills on effective management of agricultural activities in Nigeria.

The statement read: “The feasibility study of the agreement on the pipeline, which was signed by the Group General Manager of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Farouq Garba, and Mrs. Amina Benkhadra, Director General of the National Office of Hydrocarbon and Mines, will be concluded by July 2018.

“The construction of the pipeline will be phased and based on increasing needs of the countries crossed, and Europe, for the period of 25 years.

“The Nigeria Morocco Gas Pipeline, designed to be 5,660km long, will reduce gas flaring in Nigeria and encourage diversification of energy resources in the country, while cutting down poverty through the creation of more job opportunities.

“The NMGP will further encourage utilisation of gas in the sub-region for cooking, and discourage desertification.”

Osinbajo, Okoli, Preach Entreprenuership At 12th Chike Okoli Foundation Gala

Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has called on individuals and corporate bodies to support entrepreneurial training of youths, insisting that it is the best way to pivot the country to greatness.
Prof. Osinbajo who was speaking at the 12th Chike Okoli Foundation Health and Soul Gala held at the Muson Centre, Onikan Lagos stated that the present government realises this which is reason it is investing heavily on various intervention programmes such as the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, GEEP, N-Power and Innovation Hubs.
Prof. Yemi Osinbajo thanked the Chike Okoli Foundation for its contribution to healthy living and entrepreneurship. Noting that the Foundation has so far trained 5,000 businesses owners and budding entrepreneurs, Prof. Osinbajo said the Foundation has now become a fountain of hope that the nation needs at this time of its development.
On the late Chike Okoli in whose honour the Foundation was set up, the Vice President commended his family for turning the ashes of the tragedy to a monumental phoenix of inspiration.
Founder/Chief Executive Officer, Emzor Pharmaceuticals Limited, Dr Stella Okoli in her speech called on Nigeria to invest in the youths which she noted will steer them away from crimes.
Dr. Okoli who is also the Board Chairman of the foundation stated that with training in entrepreneurship, youths can learn discipline, financial management, good habits and horn innate skills that could also take them and their families out of poverty.


Furthermore, she added that it is because of the importance of this kind of training that the Chike Okoli Foundation has taken it as its core responsibility not only to mould the heart and minds of Nigeria’s next generation but inculcate in them 21st century skills, techniques and competencies.
According to her, “it was in bid to advance these ideals that the Chike Okoli Centre For Entrepreneurial Studies (COCES) was established at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka in 2011”.
In her opening remarks, Chairman of the occasion which had top Comedian, Ali Baba and Dayo Benjamin-Laniyi as Comperes, Barr. (Mrs.) Uju C. Ifejika, Chairman/CEO, Brittania-U Group harped on the benefits of charity and touching lives.
According to her, government cannot do everything, Nigerians need to rally round and contribute in all ways possible to empower youths.
She also used the opportunity to call on individuals and organisations to support the Chike Foundation which also carries out medical outreach programmes across Nigeria apart from its entrepreneurship engagements.
Established in 2007, the Chike Okoli Foundation aims to foster a healthy and prosperous society by focusing on promoting healthy lifestyle and entrepreneurship among the younger population.

 

 

RE: False Reporting of Court Proceedings Concerning GTBank

The attention of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (“the Bank”) has been drawn to false, mischievous and malicious statements circulating in the news and social media in respect of a purported directive by the Supreme Court of Nigeria to the Bank to make payments to one of its debtor Customers.

The Bank’s Customers and the General Public are hereby kindly urged to disregard these false statements as nothing could be further from the truth. There was no directive or Order issued by the Supreme Court of Nigeria to the Bank to make any payment to any of its debtor Customers.

The Bank as a highly responsible corporate citizen will in accordance with its culture and tradition refrain from making comments about on-going litigation matters and will continue to focus on using legal means to recover its bad debts. It must be emphasised that the Bank remains undeterred in its recovery drive against recalcitrant debtors.

We again reiterate that there is no iota of truth in the falsehood being peddled by desperate and mischievous elements and the General Public should disregard same in its entirety.

The Bank remains committed to providing best-in-class customer experience to all its valued Customers.

We thank you for your continued support and patronage.

Yours faithfully,

For: Guaranty Trust Bank Plc

Contempt Judgement: The Facts and Our Position – First Bank

Honourable Justice I.N Buba of the Federal High Court, Lagos Judicial Division, granted a motion in SUIT NO:FHC/L/NRJ/1/2018 committing the Chairman and Managing Director of FirstBank of Nigeria Ltd. for contempt Ex Facie Curiae with respect to an order given by the same Honourable Justice I.N Buba on 14th June, 2010, in Suit No: FHC/PH/CS/231/2001 Chief Isaac Osaro Agbara & 9 Ors. v. Shell Petroleum Development Ltd, Shell International Petroleum Ltd and Shell International Exploration and Production BV.

FirstBank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) was not a party to the suit and earlier order of Honourable Justice I.N Buba dated 14th June 2010 in respect of which His Lordship has now committed the Board Members of FirstBank for contempt. In view of the fact that FirstBank and its Board members were not parties to the earlier orders of Honourable Justice Buba, over which he subsequently assumed jurisdiction in respect of contempt outside the face of the court, and His Lordship’s earlier orders did not direct either FirstBank or its Board members to perform any obligation, neither did it impose any task on FirstBank, suffice to say that FirstBank did not and could not have disobeyed any order made by Honourable Justice I.N Buba in Suit No: FHC/PH/CS/231/2001 Chief Isaac Osaro Agbara & 9 Ors. V. Shell Petroleum Development Ltd, Shell International Petroleum Ltd and Shell International Exploration and Production BV (Shell) made on 14th June 2010, since there was no order made against it.

2. It is pertinent to note that Shell that was the party and defendant to Honourable Justice Buba’s earlier judgment and Orders has not been held to be in contempt.

3. On 5th August 2010, Honourable Justice Buba, in Suit No: Suit No:
FHC/PH/CS/231/2001 Chief Isaac Osaro Agbara & 9 Ors. V. Shell Petroleum Development Ltd, Shell International Petroleum Ltd and Shell International Exploration and Production BV (Shell), directed Shell to provide a Bank Guarantee in respect of the judgment sum which His Lordship had earlier made in the same suit on 14th June 2010, comprising both special and general damages (in the judgment sum) in the following sum as follows:

I Special Damages in the sum of N1,772,460,585.00 (One Billion,
Seven Hundred and Seventy Two Thousand, Four Hundred and Sixty
Million, Five Hundred and Eighty Five Thousand) – Allowing for the
interest for delayed Payment for 5 years from 1996 at a modest Mean
Central Bank of Nigeria deregulated Rate for that volume at 25% per
annum amounting to a total of N5, 407, 777,246.00 (Five Billion,
Four Hundred and Seven Million, Seven Hundred and Seven Thousand, Two Hundred and Forty Six Thousand).

ii. Award of Plaintiffs’ Claim of 25% of the said sum till the date of Judgement and thereafter 10% of the Judgment debt till payment

iii. Award of Plantiffs’ Claim against the Defendant in punitive terms of General Damages in the sum of N10, 000,000,000.00. (Ten Billion) TOTAL: N17,180,237,831.00 (Seventeen Billion, One Hundred and Eighty Million, Two Hundred and Thirty-Seven Thousand, Eight
Hundred and Thirty-One Naira),

4. Shell, as FirstBank’s customer, approached it to issue a Bank
Guarantee to satisfy Shell’s Compliance with the Order of Honourable Justice I.N. Buba of 5th August 2010, and FirstBank obliged Shell’s request by issuing the Guarantee. Specifically, the Guarantee concluded as follows:

This Guarantee shall be governed by and subject to all the laws of the
Federal Republic of Nigeria and shall not be construed to fetter or limit the constitutional rights of parties, including their right of appeal

5. Shell appealed the decision of Honourable Justice I.N Buba awarding various monetary claims against it to the Court of Appeal in Appeal No: CA/PH/396/2012 and on 23rd October 2013, the Court of Appeal struck out the said appeal on the ground that Shell did not pay sufficient filing fees. Shell immediately appealed the decision
of the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court in SC. 693/2013.

6.Despite the pendency of Shell’s appeal to the Supreme Court, an Undefended List suit and garnishee proceedings were commenced against FirstBank in Suit No. BHC/208/2013 and FHC/PH/CS/432/2013. FirstBank responded to these suits by,
maintaining that, in the light of Shell’s pending appeal to the
Supreme Court in SC. 693/2013, the Guarantee had not yet crystallised, whilst Chief Isaac Agbara & Ors., insisted that payment was due on the guarantee. While Suit No.
FHC/PH/CS/432/2013 was struck out, judgment was given on the Guarantee dated 12th December 2012, by the High Court of Rivers State on 17th January 2014 enforcing the Guarantee given in respect of the cumulative sum of N80,344,284,716.89 (Eighty Billion, Three Hundred and Forty-Four Million, Two Hundred and Eighty-Four Thousand, Seven Hundred and Sixteen Naira, Eighty-Nine Kobo). Whilst judgment was given in the suit against FirstBank , sued thereat as ‘FirstBank PLC’, the Court of Appeal struck out the appeal filed by FirstBank for the reason that it appealed in the name
of FirstBank PLC, the name by which it was sued and judgment given against it at the trial court but it did not have a right to appeal in the name of FirstBank PLC, since FirstBank PLC is not a juristic person. FirstBank has filed a subsequent appeal against that decision to the Supreme Court in SC. 511/2017.

7. Meanwhile, Shell’s appeal against the Court of Appeal decision which activated the Undefended List Suit in BHC/208/2013 and the Court of Appeal decision in CA/PH/29M/2014 succeeded and the Supreme Court set aside the Court of Appeal’s decision in CA/PH/396/2012. In the face of that decision, Chief Isaac Agbara & Ors., now contend that the decisions given in their favour enforcing the guarantee in BHC/208/2013 and CA/PH/29M/2014 are now academic and of no use. Their current position thus validates
the position of FirstBank that the Bank Guarantee cannot crystallise with the pendency of an appeal against a decision by Shell for the simple reason that if the appeal becomes successful, in the same way, Appeal No.: SC/693/2017 succeeded, the monetary judgment will no longer exist, and the basis of the Guarantee will have become eroded.

8. In allowing Shell’s appeal in SC. 693/2013, the Supreme Court directed the Court of Appeal to re-hear the appeal. The appeal was re-heard and on 6th June, 2017, the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal on the ground of an alleged
irregularity in the time Shell filed its brief of argument despite the fact that the same Court of Appeal had, on the day the appeal was heard, deemed the briefs of argument of Shell and the respondents as having been properly filed and served. In effect, Shell’s appeal against the judgment of Buba J., dated 14th June 2010, has neither been heard or dismissed on its merits. Shell subsequently filed an appeal to the Supreme Court in SC. 731/2017 and same has been scheduled to come up at the Supreme Court on 16th October 2018.

9. Despite the pendency of Shell’s appeal, Chief Isaac Agbara & Ors., on 8th June, 2017, commenced another Undefended List suit against FirstBank on the basis of the second decision of the Court of Appeal in the Rivers State High Court in Suit No: PHC/1583/2017, now alleging entitlement to the sum of N122,533,403,392.12 (One Hundred and Twenty-two Billion, Five Hundred and Thirty-three Million, Four Hundred and Three Thousand, Three Hundred and Ninety-two Naira, Sixteen Kobo) on the Guarantee issued in the cumulative sum of N17,180,237,831.00 (Seventeen Billion, One Hundred and Eighty Million, Two Hundred and Thirty Seven Thousand, Eight Hundred and Thirty One Naira).

10. During the pendency of the Undefended List action before
Honourable Justice S.O. Iragunima, of the Rivers State High Court, Chief Isaac Agbara & Ors., on 7th September, 2017, commenced a Winding Up Petition against FirstBank at the Federal High Court in Abuja to enforce the Guarantee against FirstBank , claiming entitlement to the sum of N122,533,403,392.12 (One Hundred and Twenty-two Billion, Five Hundred and Thirty-three Million, Four Hundred and Three Thousand, Three Hundred and Ninety-two Naira, Sixteen Kobo) arising from the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Appeal No.CA/PH/29M/2014 which is on appeal to the Supreme Court in SC. 511/2017. Parties joined issues in this petition and on 13th December 2017, the Honurable Justice Tsoho, in a well-informed decision, dismissed the petition and awarded costs of N500,000.00 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira) in favour of FirstBank and against Chief Isaac Agbara & Ors.

Chief Isaac Agbara & Ors did not appeal and have not appealed the
decision of Tsoho J. dismissing their winding up petition on the
enforcement of the same judgment of Buba J, and on which Buba J. has now convicted officials of FirstBank for contempt outside the face of the court.

11. Despite the foregoing, Chief Isaac Agbara & Ors. filed another
winding up Petition against FirstBank in the Federal High Court, Lagos Judicial Division, before Honurable Justice Aikawa on 14th December 2017, repeating verbatim the pleadings and content of their dismissed winding up petition by Tsoho J., arising from the same judgments of Buba J. earlier mentioned. This Winding Up petition became the third in
the series of cases filed and lined-up by the same judgment creditors against FirstBank, in respect of the enforcement of the Bank Guarantee earlier mentioned.

12. Not done yet, the same judgment creditors, Chief Isaac Agbara & ors., during the pendency of their winding up Petition before Aikawa J., in the Lagos Judicial Division of the Federal High Court, commenced garnishee proceedings before Alagoa J on 5th January 2018, of the Owerri Judicial Division of the Federal High Court, in respect of thesame Guarantee, asking the court to enforce same in satisfaction of the judgment of Buba J. given on 14th June 2010. The said garnishee proceedings was later transferred to the Lagos Judicial Division and is also pending before Buba J.While the said garnishee proceedings was pending, the same judgment

creditors (Chief Isaac Agbara & Co.) commenced contempt proceedings against the Chairman and Managing Director of FirstBank of Nigeria Ltd in Suit No. FHC/L/NRJ/1/2018 on 19th March, 2018 before Buba J; by respectively filing Forms 48 and 49 dated 26thFebruary, 2018 and 2nd
March, 2018 respectively. FirstBank of Nigeria joined issues with the judgment creditors, both in the form of a preliminary objection and on the substantive subject of the contempt proceedings.

13. While the Bank respects the institution of the judiciary, however, it states with much respect, that:

a. No liability is due from it to Chief Isaac Agbara & ors. from the Bank Guarantee issued and dated 17th December 2012.

b. Further to (a) above, no law criminalises breach of an undertaking, how much more criminal liability for imprisonment upon such alleged breach.

The Bank further states that in respect of the same contempt
proceedings in which the Honourable Justice Buba has convicted its officials, garnishee proceedings for the enforcement of the same judgment are pending before the same Buba J., which he has adjourned to 19th June 2018.

In effect, before the same Buba J., the Bank is subjected to two
proceedings, one penal and one civil, for the enforcement of
the judgment of the same Buba J. It is worthy of note that no court has awarded any monetary liability against FirstBank and in favour of Chief Isaac Agbara & Ors.

Contrariwise, the same Federal High Court which has now convicted the officials of FirstBank, had earlier dismissed all the claims of the same Chief Isaac Agbara & Ors. in the Winding Up Petition filed against FirstBank, on the same guarantee and in respect of the same sum and judgment of Buba J.

It is interesting to note that, the decision of Buba J in respect of
contempt was given in the most recent of the various (5) suits
filed by Chief Isaac Agbara & ors to enforce the Bank Guarantee. Some of the suits filed before same are still pending, including one before the same Buba J. This is also without prejudice to the appeals pending at the Supreme Court in respect of the same subject, and which appeals are borne out of the Constitutional right of appeal donated by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended). We are compelled in total deference to the Supreme Court as the apex adjudicatory body in Nigeria to pose the following questions:

I. If Shell’s appeal to the Supreme Court in SC. 731/2017 succeeds, will there still be any rights inuring in favour of Chief Isaac Agbara & Ors.

ii. Arising from (i.) above, could the court have rightly condemned and convicted officials of FirstBank during the pendency of the appeals to the Supreme Court

iii. Assuming Chief Isaac Agbara & Ors had obtained payment under the Bank Guarantee after the initial judgment of the Court of Appeal in CA/PH/396/2012, as they attempted to do through the use of the same type of court actions which they have now instituted, will irreversible damage and injustice not have occurred to both the Nigerian Judicial and financial system after the Supreme Court decision in SC. 731/2017.

14. FirstBank of Nigeria Ltd has been in business since 1894,
(124 years ago); and since then, it has demonstrated to all and
sundry that it is a leading corporate citizen in Nigeria, and a foremost provider of financial services. The Bank states humbly that it has been a partner to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and all Nigerians in the task of development and nation building. Its positive footprints are seen all over the country. As a law abiding corporate citizen of Nigeria, the Bank respects the judiciary; as such, it has instructed its counsel to take all the constitutional steps with immediate effect to challenge the
decision of Buba J. to the Court of Appeal.

15. Finally, in the face of constant, persistent and unprovoked
use of judicial processes to intimidate, harass and threaten the
Bank, it has decided to remain calm, steadfast and unflinching in its resolve to continue to provide first-class services to its teeming customers within and outside the country. FirstBank further asserts that it will always defend its interests within the ambit of the law and seek redress for any temporary injustice done to it. The Bank is not aware and has not been advised as to the provision of any law in Nigeria which allows the use of criminal contempt to enforce monetary judgement or obligations.