By Adedapo Adesanya
The Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) has threatened to seal up the business premises of M/S Globacom Nigeria Limited in Abuja over failure to pay N1.3 billion debt allegedly owed for the lease of telecommunication ducts network in the nation’s capital city.
The ultimatum given by the Authority to M/S Globacom Nigeria to pay up or have its premises sealed up had since August 12, 2021, elapsed, according to a statement from the FCDA Board.
The statement on Friday explained that the telecommunications duct network in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) is one of the underground infrastructures provided to house the telecommunications industry.
Each and all telecommunications providers are allowed to lease ¼ duct space in the city at a token.
It noted that over the years, many telecommunications service providers have leased the various length of telecommunications duct in the FCT spanning across the developed districts of the Federal Capital City (FCC), of which one of such lessees is M/S Globacom Nigeria Limited with a commencement date of 2004.
However, Globacom was said to have over the years defaulted in the renewal of the “lease rate” in the agreement entered with the Authority.
As of date, Globacom’s indebtedness to the Authority stands at N1,337,441,027.60 and all efforts made to recover this debt have failed and every attempt to get M/S Globacom Nigeria Limited to reason with FCDA and make payments have yielded no positive results.
FCDA noted that it was resorting to this approach due to Globacom’s nonchalant attitude towards the reconciliatory efforts made by the Authority and the company’s failure to respond to the series of reminders and warning letters sent to it.
It was noted that on Wednesday, September 8, 2021, the board members, alongside the key management team of the FCDA, picketed the business premises of M/S Globacom Nigeria in Abuja to drive home the expiration of the ultimatum earlier given by the Authority.
Speaking during the exercise, the Acting Executive Secretary of the FCDA, Zaliha’u Ahmed, noted that, “We have put in a lot of resources to give them facilities and services to carry out their businesses.
“We maintain these telecom ducts with a lot of funds from the government. However, they are unwilling to cooperate by not paying the charges they are supposed to pay. So, in view of that, we are trying to see how we can as much as possible recover our funds.”
Also speaking, the Chairman of Finance and General-Purpose Committee of the FCDA Board, Mr Hussaini Monguno stated that, “if they don’t pay the debt, we know what to do. They have signed an agreement and the content of the agreement is very rich. We can do quite a lot. We can seal up this place, we can disconnect them.”
He added Globacom is not the only Private Telecoms Operator (PTO) that is owing FCDA, but quite a number of them have settled their bills.
“FCDA has given you an enabling environment to operate your business. They constructed telecommunication ducts for which your fibre cables are laid. You must pay for those services.
“We have written, we have called for reconciliation, nothing was done. We are just here to identify their infrastructure and do the needful. You will hear from us very soon,” he added.
SERAP Drags FG to Court over $23m Abacha Loot
By Adedapo Adesanya
A suit has been filed against the federal government by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) over the recently recovered $23 million looted by ex-Head of State, General Sani Abacha.
In a suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1700/2022 filed last Friday at the Federal High Court in Abuja, the group is asking the court to “direct and compel President Buhari and Mr Abubakar Malami to release and widely publish a copy of the agreement on the Abacha loot with the US.”
In a statement on Sunday by SERAP Deputy Director, Mr Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) is joined in the suit as respondent.
The United States government had in August signed an agreement with the federal government to repatriate the $23 million Abacha loot to Nigeria. It was in addition to the $311.7 million Abacha loot repatriated from the US to Nigeria in 2020.
“The Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended], the Freedom of Information Act, and the country’s international obligations impose transparency obligations on the Federal Government to widely publish the agreement on the $23 million Abacha loot,” SERAP argued in the suit.
“Publishing a copy of the agreement with the U.S. would allow Nigerians to scrutinise it, and to monitor the spending of the repatriated loot to ensure that the money is not mismanaged, diverted or re-stolen.
“The repatriated $23 million Abacha loot is vulnerable to corruption and mismanagement. A substantial part of the estimated $5 billion returned Abacha loot since 1999 may have been mismanaged, diverted, or re-stolen, and in any case remain unaccounted for.
“Publishing a copy of the agreement would ensure that persons with public responsibilities are answerable to the people for the performance of their duties, including the management of repatriated loot,” SERAP said.
The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers Kolawole Oluwadare and Ms Atinuke Adejuyigbe, said the Nigerian Constitution, Freedom of Information Act, and the country’s international obligations rest on the principle that citizens should have access to information regarding their government’s activities.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.
Lagos to Severely Punish Those Behind Mushin Collapsed Building
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The owner of the building that collapsed in the Mushin area of Lagos State and others would be “severely punished,” the state government has promised.
On Friday, it was reported that a 3-storey building on 2/4 Oye Sonuga Street, Palm Avenue, Mushin, Lagos collapsed, killing four people and injuring others.
In a statement issued yesterday, the new Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr Omotayo Bamgbose-Martins, said the state government would go after whoever is indicted in the incident, hinting that an investigation has commenced to unravel what happened.
During a visit to the scene of the unfortunate incident, the Commissioner directed that the adjoining building be pulled down for safety reasons, adding that efforts are on to rescue those who might have been trapped in the rubble.
He disclosed that the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) and the Lagos State Materials Testing Laboratory have been directed to unravel the cause of the collapse.
NNPC Opens Talk with Financers on Gas Projects
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited has established talks with the United States Finance Corporation and the African Export and Import Bank (Afreximbank) to seek financing for its multi-billion-dollar gas projects.
The Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPC, Mr Mele Kyari, disclosed this at the Nigerian International Economic Partnership held in New York as part of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
Mr Kyari said: “Inclusion (in energy transition) means we need to be supported. We are already talking to the US DFC, and the EXIM so that they can give us financing and funding for our gas projects, and this is very critical so that we can have that flexibility to move forward and at the back of this.
“I’m sure some of you may be aware that today, we are getting a grant to build baseline carbon emission studies in our country by the United States Government. This is very helpful in the sense that President Muhammadu Buhari, has also asked that we need to be supported. Currently, the major source of financing we are having is from the African Exim.”
Nigeria’s transition to net zero by 2060 requires enormous investments in gas projects which have been positioned as the country’s major transition fuel.
Mr Kyari said Nigeria is looking for opportunities to leverage the gas resources in the country to provide the possibility required for the energy transition.
It will cost $410 billion to transit, according to the federal government, and huge gas projects like the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the NNPC, ECOWAS Commission, and Morocco to deliver pipelines along the African corridor will gulp billions of dollars.
“We are embarking on massive infrastructure and to see how we can deliver the Morocco gas pipeline which will pass through some countries to provide a number of securities including bringing people out of poverty and increasing gas supply in the domestic market,” Mr Kyari said.
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