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UK Court stays execution of $9.6bn Judgment Debt against Nigeria

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Oyo ALGON rejects Appeal Court verdict, heads to Supreme Court

Reprieve came the way of Nigeria on Thursday as a UK Commercial Court granted a stay of execution of the 9.6 billion dollar judgment debt made against the country over a botched gas contract.

A statement on the court’s decision in London was made available to newsmen in Abuja by the office of the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

“Earlier today, the UK Commercial Court granted the Federal Government of Nigeria’s request for leave to appeal, enabling the Government to appeal the Court’s recognition of the UK Arbitration Tribunal in the UK Court of Appeal.

“The UK Commercial Court also approved the Government’s application for a “stay of execution” which will prevent the plaintiff, P&ID, from enforcing the UK Arbitration Tribunal’s earlier judgment while this case is heard on appeal before the Court of Appeal,” the statement read in part.

In the statement, the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) said he was happy with the court’s decision.

“I am pleased with today’s development in the court and see this as a positive resolution that constitutes an important step in the Government’s efforts to defend itself in a fair and just process.

Also read: Chukwumezie: Businessman drags EFCC, NCAC, others to Court for freezing 13 bank accounts

“We look forward to challenging the UK Commercial Court’s recognition of the Tribunal’s decision in the UK Court of Appeal, uncovering P&ID’s outrageous approach for what it is: a sham based on fraudulent and criminal activity developed to profit from a developing country,” he said.

Mohammed, Malami, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, the Inspector-Gewneral of Police, Mohammed Adamu and the Acting boss of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu had been in the UK since the beginning of the week over the case.

The court had in a ruling on Aug. 16 authorised , a little known Irish engineering and project management company, Process and Industrial Developments Ltd. (P&ID) to seize the 9.6 billion dollars, about N3.5 trillion in Nigerian assets over the failed contract.

The court ruling was a fallout of a botched 20-year Gas and Supply Processing Agreement (GSPA) and the subsequent award made in July 2015 in favour of P&ID, by an arbitration panel sitting in London.

The GSPA was purportedly entered into in 2010 between the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and P&ID.

In the failed contract, P&ID was to build a gas processing facility to refine associated natural gas into non-associated gas to power the national electric grid.

For its part, the Ministry was to build pipeline to supply gas to P&ID facility to be located in Adiabo, Odukpani LGA, Cross River state.

The agreement went sour because the company which did not build any facility at the agreed site, blamed the Ministry for not constructing the pipeline for gas supply alleging that it had committed 40 million dollars into the contract.

 

 

 

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U.S. strikes 2 targets in Syria in response to ‘continued attacks’

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The U.S. military struck two facilities in eastern Syria used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iran-affiliated groups in response to “continued attacks” against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria, the Pentagon said on Sunday.

The strikes were conducted against a training facility in Abu Kamal and a safe house in Mayadin in the eastern governorate of Deir Ezzor, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a brief statement.

The U.S. struck similar targets in eastern Syria in October and earlier in November.

Pro-Iranian militias have intensified their attacks on U.S. military bases in Syria and Iraq in recent weeks as a response to the Israeli military campaign in Gaza.

The security situation in the entire region has been particularly tense since Oct. 7, when Hamas militants staged deadly attacks in southern Israel.

Israel is responding with an overwhelming air and ground offensive in Gaza.

As a deterrent, the U.S. has moved more weapons systems, warships and air squadrons to the Eastern Mediterranean, and is deploying several hundred troops to the Middle East to support US units there.

U.S. President Joe Biden had ordered Sunday’s action to make it clear that the U.S. was defending itself, its personnel, and its interests, Austin stressed.

The U.S. is prepared to take further necessary measures to protect its own people and interests.

  • dpa
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Russia writes off $23bn debt for Africa – Putin

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Russia sends almost 12m tons of grain to Africa says Putin

…Pledges additional $90 million***

Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, says the Russian Government has written off $23 billion debt burden of African countries.

Putin spoke at the plenary session of the ongoing second Russia–Africa Summit 2023 held from July 27 to July 28.

He said Moscow would allocate an additional $90 million for these purposes.

Putin said Russia was advocating the expansion of representation of African countries in the UN Security Council and other UN structures.

“Russia and Africa strive to develop cooperation in all areas and strengthen ‘honest, open, constructive’ partnership.

“Russia will also assist in opening new African embassies and consulates in Russia,” he said.

According to him, the reopening of embassies in Burkina Faso and Equatorial Guinea is going as planned.

He said sovereignty was “not a one-time achieved state,” and it must be constantly protected.

Putin also offered assistance to Africa in countering threats such as terrorism, piracy, and transnational crimes adding that it would continue to train personnel from African countries.

He assured that Russian businesses have a lot to offer partners from Africa.

Putin said transition to national currencies and the establishment of transport and logistics chains would contribute to the increase in mutual trade turnover.

“Russia is ready to provide trade preferences to Africa, support the creation of modern production sectors, agricultural sector, and provide assistance through relevant international structures and agencies.

“Russia will always be a responsible international supplier of agricultural products,” he said.

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U.S. Coastguard Finds ‘debris field’ Near Missing Vessel

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A “debris field” has been discovered within the search area for the missing Titan submersible, the U.S. Coastguard (USCG) said on Thursday.

The agency said a remotely-operated vehicle made the discovery near the wreckage of the Titanic on Thursday.

The hunt for the missing deep-sea vessel is still an “active search and rescue” mission after it lost communication on Sunday.

The vessel was about 700 kilometres south of St John’s, Newfoundland, during a voyage to the Titanic shipwreck off the coast of Canada.

Coastguard officials said they were “evaluating the information” following Thursday’s debris discovery.

A press conference will be held at the Coastguard base in Boston to “discuss the findings” at 8pm (1900 GMT).

Rear Admiral John Mauger, the first Coastguard district commander, and Captain Jamie Frederick, first Coastguard district response coordinator, will lead the press conference.

Founding member of the Board of Trustees of The Explorers Club, Hamish Harding, was on board the undersea craft, alongside UK-based businessman Shahzada Dawood, his son Suleman Dawood, and OceanGate’s chief executive and founder Stockton Rush, as well as French submersible pilot Paul-Henri Nargeolet.

The USCG said the ROV that made the discovery was from the Canadian Horizon Arctic ship – with the debris being found on the sea floor near the Titanic wreckage.

Assistance from the Royal Air Force (RAF) is due to arrive in St John’s on Thursday after it confirmed a request was received overnight for help with the movement of additional commercial equipment.

Two RAF planes, a C-17 Globemaster and A400 Atlas, departed RAF Lossiemouth in north-east Scotland on Thursday.

A British submariner and equipment from a UK firm have been sent to help the search at the request of the U.S. Coastguard, Downing Street said.

Royal Navy submariner Lieutenant Commander Richard Kantharia, who was on exchange with the U.S. Navy, has been seconded to the search and rescue team.

OceanGate Expeditions estimated the oxygen supply on the 6.7 metre-long vessel would last 96 hours, giving rescuers a deadline of around midday on Thursday.

Experts said the chances of finding the sub and rescuing those inside were diminishing.

Former Royal Navy submarine captain Ryan Ramsey told the PA news agency: “The outlook is bleak, that’s the only word for it as this tragic event unfolds and almost the closing stages of where this changes from rescue to a salvage mission.”

The Titan is believed to be about 900 miles east and 400 miles south of Newfoundland.

It is not known how deep the vessel is, with the seabed being around 3,800 metres from the surface. 

– dpa

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