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Shell may cough out $3.6bn to Nigerian government

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday, dismissed the suit by Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited, challenging the imposing of $3.6billion fine on it by the Federal Government

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A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday, dismissed the suit by Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited, challenging the imposing of $3.6billion fine on it by the Federal Government.

The fine had been imposed on Shell for the Bonga oil spill.

Trial judge, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, resolved all the issues in the defendant’s favour and dismissed the suit.
Shell sued the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, challenging its powers to impose levies or fines over oil spills.

The plaintiff prayed the court to declare that NOSDRA cannot, in the light of Section 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6 of the 1999 Constitution, validly exercise any powers under Section 5, 6, 7 and 19 of the NOSDRA Act.

Shell, through its lawyer Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, argued that the sections’ provisions encroach on judicial powers vested exclusively in the courts.

The oil giant argued that it was the Federal High Court that is vested with the jurisdiction to determine liability and to assess, impose and direct the payment of any sum as penalty, damages or compensation in connection with an incidence of oil spillage, particularly the Bonga Oil Spill of December 20, 2011.

Shell urged the court to declare that the decision leading to the imposition of $3,600,191,206.00 on by NOSDRA was in breach of its right as enshrined in Section 36, 43 and 44 of the 1999 Constitution.

It also urged the court to nullify NOSDRA’s powers to impose such levies over oil spills.

But NOSDRA, through its counsel, Mr D. A. Awosika, argued that the cause of action arose on March 25, 2015 when it served Shell with notice of sanction over the Bonga Oil Spill.

Awosika contended that Shell was enjoined to exercise its right of litigation if it felt aggrieved by the letters within three months from March 25, 2015 and not beyond.

In her May 24 judgment, a copy of which was obtained

Wednesday, Justice Olatoregun held that NOSDRA acted in line with its powers and did not violate Shell’s rights in any manner.

“I found no conflict with the duties conferred on NOSDRA by law and the power of the court to adjudicate in this matter. I find no violation of the 1999 Constitution within these sections,” the judge held.
Justice Olatoregun further held that NOSDRA’s demand letters to Shell were not in conflict with Section 44 of the 1999 Constitution.

The judge said: “The plaintiff had notice and opportunity to fair hearing. The plaintiff ought to have had recourse to the court for the determination of its civil rights and a proper adjudication on the issues if it felt its rights were infringed or about to be infringed.

“I do not find the two letters ultra vires the duties and functions of the defendant.”

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Tanzanian Central Bank reduces economic liquidity to curb rising inflation

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The Tanzanian Central Bank on Saturday said one of the measures it has taken to slow down rising inflation in September and October is to reduce the liquidity in the economy.

A statement published by the east African country’s apex bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), said inflation in the country has been on the rise since the beginning of the year, rising from 4.6% on August from a previous 4.5% in July.

MPC said while the country’s economy was facing a range of challenges, including weak global growth, high commodity prices, tight financial conditions and the recurrence of COVID-19 in some countries, it was necessary to reduce the liquidity to stabilise the economy.

“In the context of high inflation and commodity prices, which has contributed to rising inflationary pressures in the country, the MPC approved for the bank to continue with gradual reduction of liquidity in September and October 2022.

“The policy decision aims at reducing inflationary pressures, while safeguarding economic activities,” the statement said.

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Air traffic controllers in West, Central Africa suspend strike for negotiations after 48-hour disruption

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The industrial action by air traffic controllers in West and Central Africa has been suspended.

The unions announced the suspension after a 48-hour strike having disrupted flights across the region and left hundreds of passengers stranded at airports.

According to a statement by the Union of Air Traffic Controllers’ Unions (USYCAA), the decision to suspend its strike notice for 10 days immediately so as to allow for negotiations.

“Air traffic services will be provided in all air spaces and airports managed by ASECNA from today Saturday, September 24, 2022 at 1200 GMT,” the statement said.

One of the stranded passengers, Nsoh Brinston, lamented on how the strike would make him spend more than his budget on his intended travel to Kigali, Rwanda.

“I will have to spend more than I intended due to the cancelled flight. I will have to do another COVID test which costs 30,000 CFA francs ($45),” he said.’

Also, eight flights scheduled to leave the commercial hub of Abidjan on Saturday were cancelled in Ivory Coast.

Industries like aviationtelecom operators have all their operations disrupted across Africa lately largely as part of the fallout of the Russian/Ukraine war which has caused a hike in aviation fuel.

It is yet to be seen if the negotiations between air traffic controllers and government authorities will birth lasting solutions to the challenge which now cuts across the continent.

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