FG Pays $496m Settlement Claims on Ajaokuta Steel
The Federal Government and a foreign investor, Global Steel Group, have resolved their long-running legal dispute over the Ajaokuta Steel Mill and associated businesses, according to Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Justice Minister Abubakar Malami.
Malami said that the mediation sessions held in Paris, France, as part of the International Chamber of Commerce’s Alternative Dispute Resolution program were what led to the settlement.
In place of the $5.258 billion the foreign company had first demanded, Nigeria, according to him, would pay $496 million.
A statement yesterday in Abuja by Malami’s Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, reads: “Nigeria succeeded in reducing the claim in mediation brought by the international firm of King and Spalding, legal representatives of the Global Group, by 91 per cent.
“A claim for over $10 billion was threatened in arbitration before the International Chamber of Commerce, International Court of Arbitration, Paris, in respect of five major contracts of 2004-2007 – covering steel, iron ore, and rail.
“…The genesis of the disputes can be traced to five contracts entered into by the 1999 – 2007 administration that gave complete dominance over the Nigerian steel space to one company, the Global Steel Group.
“However, in 2008, a new administration proceeded to terminate these contracts, contrary to the legal advice supplied by the Federal Ministry of Justice, which cited the termination cost in the form of damages.
“Had the government of that day not terminated the Ajaokuta Share Purchase Agreement on April 1, 2008 and waited for just 55 days to terminate, it would have terminated lawfully and the government would have collected more than $26 million from Global Steel.
“This was because the firm appeared unable to pay the first tranche for the Ajaokuta shares before the first anniversary of the agreement (May 25, 2008).
“This failure would have given Nigeria a right to over $26 million as liquidated damages under cl.12 of the Ajaokuta Share Purchase Agreement.
“Global Steel, in consequence, took the FGN to the International Chamber of Commerce, International Court of Arbitration, Paris, commencing arbitration in 2008.
“Although the Federal Government negotiated a settlement in May 2013, the previous administration failed to implement its settlement agreement.
“In May 2020, Global Steel threatened a resumption of the arbitration and announced an anticipated claim in damages of over $10 billion to $14 billion against the Nigerian state in respect of the affected five contracts.
“The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, however, took decisive steps to resist this claim, rather than pass it on to a future administration with ballooning interest.”
With this development, Malami said President Buhari has rescued the steel industry from interminable and complex disputes as well as saved the taxpayer from humongous damages.
The minister also stated that one of the lessons to be learnt include the fact that the future arrangements – sale or concessions – must be carried out in the national interest and in compliance with the law.
“The Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice grappled with the inherited problem by adopting a blueprint of seven principles for the cost effective resolution of contractual disputes wherever they occur.
“They are the use of institutional mediation, choice of FGN counsel, the use of financial advisers with reputational capital, the importance of not discouraging foreign investment, fiscal responsibility, transparency, and the recognition that joined up government produces superior outcomes.
“The FGN engaged PwCNigeria to do a comprehensive review to ensure taxpayers are protected. Also, Dr. Tunde Ogowewo, a barrister (and senior academic at King’s College, London), represented the FGN and advised the government throughout the process.”
Gwandu quoted Malami as stating that Dr. Ogowewo’s report on Case Reference 15539/VRO/AGF/ZF/TO/AZR/SPN) of over 1,000 pages, provides a guide on how to avoid such contractual disputes and, where they occur, how to reach cost-effective savings for the benefit of Nigerian taxpayers.
Malami, he added, reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to continue to make assiduous efforts in protecting public interest and ensuring that Nigeria is not denuded of its resources through whatever means.
JUST-IN: Makinde Sacks Auxilliary, Other Park Management Chiefs In Oyo
The Oyo State governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde, has ordered the dissolution of the Disciplinary Committee, Park Management System (PMS) headed by Alhaji Mukaila Auxiliary.
The newly appointed Chief of Staff to the Governor, Otunba Segun Ogunwuyi, who disclosed this in a statement on Monday, May 29, 2023, said the dissolution was with immediate effect.
The terse statement reads, “I have the directive of the Executive Governor of Oyo State, His Excellency, Governor Seyi Makinde to inform you of the dissolution of the Disciplinary Committee, Park Management System with immediate effect from today, Monday, 29th May, 2023
Henry Dele Alake: The Scintillating Profile of President Tinubu’s Chief Press Secretary
Henry Dele Alake, a prominent figure in Nigerian journalism and politics, has been appointed as the Chief Press Secretary to President Tinubu. Born on October 6, 1956, in Ekiti State, Alake is currently 66 years old. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated a deep commitment to democratic values, activism, and public service.
Alake’s journey in activism began under the mentorship of the late Chief MKO Abiola. He played a pivotal role in the controversial 1993 election, which was unfortunately annulled by General Ibrahim Babangida, the then military president. Despite facing oppression and terrorization, Alake fearlessly advocated for justice and the preservation of democratic principles.
Between 1999 and 2007, Alake served as the Commissioner for Information and Strategy to Governor Asiwaju Bola Tinubu of Lagos State. During this period, he contributed significantly to the development and growth of the state, effectively communicating the government’s policies and initiatives to the public.
Currently, Alake holds the position of Director of Media and Communication of The Tinubu Campaign Council, supporting the presidential aspirations of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the upcoming 2023 election.
Education played a crucial role in Alake’s path to success. He attended Surulere Baptist Primary School in Lagos for his elementary education, followed by Christ’s School Ado Ekiti for his West African School Certificate. He furthered his studies at Igbobi College, Yaba, Lagos, where he obtained his Higher School Certificate in 1975. In the same year, he enrolled at the University of Lagos, Akoka, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and later pursued a master’s degree in Mass Communications.
Alake embarked on his professional career as a journalist after completing his education. He began as a Senior Sub-Editor at the Lagos State Broadcasting Corporation (LSBC) after a year of national service with the Ogun State Broadcasting Corporation (OGBC). Over the years, he held various positions in journalism, including Current Affairs Officer, Senior Current Affairs Officer, and Principal Current Affairs Officer. Alake played a vital role in the establishment of Lagos Television (LTV 8).
In 1985, Alake transitioned to print journalism, joining the Concord Press as an editor and writer for the National Concord and Sunday Concord newspapers. He became the editor of Sunday Concord in 1989 and continued in that position until 1995. During this period, he also served as a columnist for the National Concord.
Alake’s career took a significant turn when he became Chief MKO Abiola’s Adviser on Information, contributing to his election campaign for the 1993 general election. His dedication to Abiola’s cause led to confrontations and oppression from the dictatorial regime of General Sani Abacha. Faced with immense pressure, Alake went into exile, actively engaging with other prominent figures in the National Democratic Coalition of Nigeria (NADECO), such as Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, Senator Bola Tinubu, Chief John Oyegun, and Lt. Gen. Alani Akinrinade (Rtd.).
Returning to Nigeria’s political landscape, Alake’s talents and expertise were recognized by Governor Bola Tinubu, who appointed him as his Special Adviser on Information and Strategy. He later served as the State Commissioner for Information and Strategy during Tinubu’s tenure as governor.
In 2010, Alake declared his intention to contest for the senatorial seat of Ekiti Central in Ekiti State. However, due to intra-party crises within his political party at that time, he decided to withdraw from the aspiration.
In preparation for the 2015 general election, Alake was appointed as the Director of Media and Communication for the Buhari Campaign Organization, supporting President Muhammadu Buhari’s presidential ambition.
Continuing his involvement in political campaigns, Alake currently holds the position of Director of Media and Communication for The Tinubu Campaign Council, supporting Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s presidential aspirations in the upcoming 2023 general election.
While information about his marital life remains private, it is worth noting that one of his children, Olatunbosun Alake, serves as the Special Adviser on Innovation and Technology to the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwoolu.
Alake’s contributions to journalism and politics have earned him several notable achievements. He is a fellow of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, where he once served as Vice President. He is also a member of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the West African Union of Journalists. In 2000, he received the prestigious Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS) International Gold Award, recognizing his exceptional contributions to society.
Henry Dele Alake’s multifaceted career and unwavering commitment to democracy and public service have left an indelible mark on Nigeria’s media landscape and political sphere. His dedication to his craft and his tireless advocacy for justice and transparency serve as an inspiration to aspiring journalists and politicians across the nation.
President Tinubu Makes First Appointments with Alake, Adeleke and Dada
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has appointed Mr Dele Alake as his spokesperson hours after he took oath of office on Monday.
Mr Alake is a long-time associate of Mr Tinubu. He served as his Commissioner of Information and Strategy from 1999 to 2007 while he was Lagos State governor.
The president also appointed Ambassador Kunle Adeleke as the State Chief of Protocol (SCOP) to the President.
The APC National Youth Leader Olusegun Dada was named as Special Assistant to the President on Digital Media.
The appointments add with immediate effect, it was learned
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