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Ecobank vs Honeywell: Court directs CJ to re-assign case

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The Court of Appeal in Lagos has directed Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, to re-assign a winding-up petition by Ecobank Nigeria Limited against Honeywell Flour Mills Plc.
Justice Abimbola Obaseki-Adejumo said justice demands that both sides must be heard. She made no order as to cost.
The justice upheld an appeal by Honeywell against an ex-parte order made by Justice Mohammed Yunusa last December 4.
The company appealed against partial freezing of its accounts following an application by Ecobank’s lawyer Mr Kunle Ogunba (SAN), an insolvency expert.
Justice Yunusa had restrained Honeywell Group’s chairman, Dr Oba Otukedo, the company’s directors and subsidiaries from withdrawing from any bank or financial institution.
But Honeywell, through its lawyer Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) sought to discharge the order.
Justice Yunusa, in his ruling, on the application to discharge the order, held that the company could withdraw up to N60million in a month (N15million only per week) pending when the suit was heard and determined to enable Honeywell Group meet its financial obligations.
Dissatisfied with the ruling, Honeywell appealed, insisting that it wants full access to its funds. The suit is sequel to an alleged N3. 5 billion unpaid loan facility which Ecobank gave Honeywell.
Justice Obaseki-Adejumo said Justice Yunusa made the ex-parte order without notice to Honeywell. She said it violated the rules guiding winding-up petitions.
According to her, the rules state that every application in such a petition shall be by motion on notice to the person against whom the order was to be made.
“Justice of the case demands that both side be heard. The ruling of the Federal High Court is hereby set aside. The petition shall be assigned to another judge for necessary action. Parties shall bear their costs,” she held.
Ecobank had also appealed a ruling by Justice Mohammed Idris striking out contempt proceedings initiated against it by Achorage Leisures Limited and its sister company Siloam Global Services Limited, both of which are subsidiaries of Honeywell Group.
They accused the bank of disobeying an earlier directive by the judge that all parties should maintain status ante-bellum, which the bank denied.
Justice Mohammed Idris had last August 10 made an order of interim injunction restraining the bank from publishing the plaintiffs’ name as debtors and ordered parties to maintain status quo pending hearing of the plaintiffs’ suit.
But Honeywell said while the suit was pending, Ecobank filed other suits before other judges in a bid to recover its debt from Honeywell Group and its chairman Oba Otudeko.
Honeywell’s lawyers, therefore, filed Form 48 and Form 49, urging the court to hold the bank in contempt.
But Justice Idris struck out the contempt proceedings on the basis that no proper service was effected on the alleged contemnors.
Ogunba had argued on appeal that Justice Idris ought to have dismissed the proceedings rather than striking it out (which means it could be re-filed).
But the appellate court upheld Justice Idris’ ruling, adding that “the court cannot dissipate energy on an issue over which it had no jurisdiction.”
In a third appeal, Ecobank had challenged the lower court’s jurisdiction, but Justice Obaseki-Adejumo upheld Justice Idris’ assumption of jurisdiction, adding that there was a banker-customer relationship between Ecobank and Otudeko which vested the judge with jurisdiction.

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Police Deploy More Personnel To Seaports In Lagos Over Nigerian Students, NANS’ Protest

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Following the ASUU strike that has kept university students across the nation at home for over seven months, NANS declared “Occupy The Airport” nationwide protest.

The Nigeria Police Force has announced that it has deployed personnel to adequately secure seaports across the nation following a threat by the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) to shut down commercial activities at the nation’s busiest seaports ¬¬¬¬¬¬- the Apapa and Tin-Can Island Ports in protest over the lingering strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Following the ASUU strike that has kept university students across the nation at home for over seven months, NANS declared “Occupy The Airport” nationwide protest.
The aggrieved students who protested on Monday at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport also reportedly threatened to ground commercial activities at the Apapa and Tin-Can Island Ports in Lagos State.
Disclosing the security beef up to Daily Trust, the Commissioner of Police in charge of Western Port Authority Command, Jonathan Towuru, said security was tightened around the Western Ports to avoid any breakdown of law and order although the student body did not show up as threatened.
The commissioner said, “People went about their businesses while operations at the terminals went on seamlessly, without any hindrance. But if the students eventually turn up, we will engage them in discussions. I must say that they conducted themselves well on Monday at the airport even though you still saw police monitoring the protest.”

 

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Evans The Billionaire Kidnapper Bags 21 Year Imprisonment

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Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Ikeja Special Offences Court on Monday sentenced kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, also known as Evans, and his co-defendant, Victor Aduba, to 21 years imprisonment for kidnapping one Sylvanus Hafia.

They were accused of conspiring and kidnapping Sylvanus Ahanonu Hafia at about 5:30 pm on June 23, 2014, at Kara Street, Amuwo Odofin in Lagos and were alleged to have captured and detained Hafia and demanded a ransom of $2m.

But they pleaded not guilty to the four charges.

The judge held that the sentence would serve as a deterrent to other aspiring kidnappers

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Poverty, Hunger in the Country, Okowa Blames APC

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…says Delta healthcare will curb medical tourism

Delta State Governor and Vice-Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ifeanyi Okowa, weekend, said that poor management of the nation’s economy by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) caused the rising hunger and poverty in the country.

He stated this at an empowerment programme for the people of Ika Federal Constituency at Boji-Boji Owa, Ika North Council by the member representing the constituency at the House of Representatives, Mr. Victor Nwokolo.

The governor, who commended Nwokolo for his gesture, described the event as “empowerment programme with a difference. He said Nigeria was troubled because people were hungry and out of job due to mismanagement of the nation’s economy.

He added that even students were having lots of challenges because their parents could not meet their needs owing to the level of poverty resulting from ineptitude of the APC-led Federal Government.

He, therefore, urged Nigerians to support the PDP, saying it was the only party with clear understanding of the nation’s challenges and had clear solution to rescue the nation.

Earlier, Nwokolo said his motive for the empowerment was to restore hope to the hopeless amid rising hunger and poverty in the land.

MEANWHILE, Okowa, also at the different forum, said the huge investment being made by his administration in the health sector was to improve healthcare delivery and reduce medical tourism in the country.

He disclosed this in an interview with journalists shortly after inspecting facilities at the Advanced Diagnostic Medical Centre and Mother and Child Hospital, Owa-Alero in Ika Council of the state.

He said the twin medical facilities would, on completion, reduce medical tourism as it would provide first-class medical services to people who would have sought medical treatment abroad.

“I am glad we have gotten to this stage. I had high hopes that by today, we would have inaugurated these projects.

“The equipment are fully on site and we are trying to get things fully sorted out and I am sure that in the next one month, it should be ready and opened to the public for use.

“The two projects are obviously very important. The Mother and Child, as it is so stated, is supposed to take care of every illness concerning our women and children,” he said.

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