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Military Forcefully Took Away Suspected Oil Bunkerers From Police Custody – IGP Tells Court

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The Inspector-General of Police, IGP, has told a Federal High Court in Abuja that the military forcefully took away some suspects allegedly involved in oil bunkering from police custody.

Counsel to the IGP, Idris Mohammed, revealed this to Justice James Omotosho when the matter was called for the alleged oil bunkerers to take their plea in a five-count criminal charge filed against them.

The IGP had, in an earlier charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/60/2024, listed 19 alleged oil bunkerers for prosecution.

They include MT Harbor Spirit, Muhammad Malik Sidique, Joju Oil and Gas Ltd, Shittu Joseph, Enudi Kenneth Amechi, Jeremiah Oberhiri Nyohe, Abiodun Kolapo Joseph, Razaq Mahmud, Onwe Jonas Egana, Jeremiah Fezighe Gilbert as 1st to 10th defendants.

Also joined in the criminal charge dated and filed February.15 are Idon Simeon Amon, Adedeji Nathaniel Thomson, Effiong Ekpo Otu, Preye Moses Egbuson, Opoufoni Owei, Abiodun Razaq, Youngstar Amon, Collins Ebuka Eluche and Taiye Rashid Balogun as 11th to 19th defendants respectively.

However, the police, in an amended charge dated and filed February 28, brought criminal charges against only MT Harbor Spirit, a Vessel, Muhammad Malik Sidique and Joju Oil and Gas Ltd as 1st to 3rd defendants, respectively.

In the amended charge, count one read that MT Harbor Spirit, Muhammad Malik Sidique, Joju Oil and Gas Ltd and the 4th to 19th defendants in the earlier charge (now at large) “on February 4, 2024, in the Deep Sea in Ogbogoro Oil Field, Brass Area of Bayelsa State, conspired” to tamper with oil pipeline for the transportation of crude oil.

The offence, according to the prosecution, is punishable under Section 1(7) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

In count two, the defendants and others now at large were alleged to have on February. 4 in the Deep Sea in Ogbogoro Oil Field, Brass Area of Bayelsa State, wilfully tampered with OML 59, Ogbogoro 001 Oil Field, operated by ELF for the transportation of crude oil.

In count three, the defendants were alleged to be dealing in about 80, 000 litres of crude oil without lawful authority or appropriate license.

Count five accused the defendants of storing about 80, 000 litres of crude oil in MT Harbour Spirit Cargo Tanks in the Deep Sea in Ogbogoro Oil Field without appropriate licence contrary to Section 4 of the Petroleum Act, Cap P10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

However, at the point of taking their plea, the IGP’s lawyer, Mohammed, informed the court that Muhammad Malik Sidique was the only defendant in court.

He said though a five-count charge dated and filed on February 15 was preferred against 19 defendants and that the 4th to 19th defendants were forcefully taken away by the armed forces during one of their visits to their custody.

The lawyer prayed the court to issue warrant of arrest against the 4th to 19th defendants who he alleged were at large.

But Justice Omotosho faulted Mohammed for claiming that the 4th to 19th defendants were at large when he had earlier told the court that the armed forces forcefully took them away.

The judge frowned at the abuse of the word “at large” adding that such words are used for suspects or defendants whose whereabouts are unknown.

“With what you have said that the armed forces took them to their custody, are they at large? At large is when somebody cannot be traced,” the judge said.

The IGP’s lawyer, thereafter, sought the leave of court to amend the amended charges in open court.

But the judge observed more anomalies with the charge sheet and then ordered the prosecution to go and put his house in order.

“Go and serve them there (at the military custody) and bring them or you remove their names from the charge. We are here for justice. I don’t know them,” he directed.

The IGP’s lawyer, then, told the judge that the police did not hand over the defendants to the military, rather, they forcefully took them away from their custody.

Counsel for the defendants, Michael Mbanefo, did not oppose to the further amendment of the charge.

However, Mbanefo urged the court to direct the prosecution to agree with him and grant Sidique administrative bail because he had been in custody since his arrest.

But Justice Omotosho declined, saying “the court does not grant administrative bail”.

Justice Omotosho thereafter adjourned the arraignment of the alleged oil bunkerers til March 6.

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Fidelity Bank Eyes Oversubscription To N127.1 Billion Combined Offers

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Against the background of groundswell of supports and enthusiasm for the bank’s ongoing offers, Fidelity Bank Plc has started preparations to allow the bank absorb oversubscriptions.

With investors rallying behind the bank’s N127.1 billion combined rights and public offer, market pundits had indicated that the bank would raise more than initial size of the combined offer.

Reports have shown high subscription levels for the offers early weeks of the offer period, riding on the back of acceptances by existing shareholders and demand by the general investing public.

Fidelity Bank is offering a rights issue of 3.2 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each at N9.25 per share. The bank is also simultaneously offering 10 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each to the general investing public at N9.75 per share.

The acceptance and application lists for the rights issue and public offer, which opened on Thursday, June 20, 2024, are scheduled to close on Monday, July 29, 2024. The rights issue has been pre-allotted on the basis of one new ordinary share for every 10 existing ordinary shares held as at the close of business on Friday, January 05, 2024.

With promising feedbacks from receiving agents and as shareholders, investors, experts and other stakeholders continue to rate the combined offers high, the board of Fidelity Bank has called an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to enable the bank to absorb expected surplus funds.

Shareholders are scheduled to meet later this month to authorise the company “to accept surplus monies arising from potential oversubscription of the combined offer in such proportion as may be determined by the board of directors, subject to the company’s issued share capital and obtaining relevant regulatory approvals”.

Shareholders are also expected to increase the issued share capital of the company from N22.6 billion divided into 45.2 billion ordinary shares of 50 Kobo each to N26.70 billion through the creation of up to 8.2 billion in order to “accommodate potential oversubscription of the combined offer in the proportion of 5.0 billion additional ordinary shares under the public offer and 3.2 billion additional ordinary shares under the rights issue”.

The meeting will also mandate the board to take all necessary actions in line with the absorption of the oversubscription funds.

The board of the bank reiterated its commitment to retain the bank’s international banking license by meeting the new capital requirement within the regulatory timeframe.

According to the board, the resolutions proposed for shareholders’ approval at the upcoming EGM of July 26, 2024, are to enable acceptance of potential oversubscription from the combined offer, subject to relevant regulatory approvals.

The board pointed out that with the resolutions to accept oversubscription, the bank will be in stronger position to take advantage of emerging business opportunities and secure long-term profitability and competitive advantage, while ensuring increased shareholder value.

The net proceeds of the offer would be applied to investments in information technology infrastructure, business and regional expansion, and product distribution channels.

“The company is on a strong growth trajectory and requires additional capital for improved profitability, expansion- domestic and international, and enhancement of its digital capabilities.

“Continuing advances in technology, the rapid evolution of the business of banking, and changes in the operating landscape also make it imperative that the bank remains agile, adaptable and properly positioned to respond appropriately to developments, whilst remaining a competitive and forward-looking institution,” the board stated.

Directors of the bank assured that notwithstanding the continued rapid evolution of the banking industry, Fidelity Bank has been placed on foundation for strong and sustainable growth.

Fidelity Bank Plc’s combined N127.1 billion rights and public offer had struck early success as enthusiastic shareholders mobilise to pick their pre-allotted shares and buy more stakes in Nigeria’s most-widely owned commercial bank.

Shareholders have said they would pick their rights and buy more shares from the public offer in a massive show of support and positioning in the bank. Fidelity Bank had delivered an average annual capital gain of more than 100 per cent over the past five years and ranked among the elite stocks with the highest corporate governance rating at the Nigerian stock market.

In separate interviews, shareholders across Nigeria’s leading shareholders’ associations, said the pricing of the highly discounted rights issue and public offer, the operational growth of the bank over the years, dividend records and capital gains were attractions to buy more stakes in the bank. Fidelity Bank is one of the few companies that pay dividends twice a year at the stock market.

They envisioned that a post-recapitalisation Fidelity Bank would deliver higher returns and continue to be a leading preserver of values for shareholders’ wealth.

The shareholders, who spoke through their leaders, said recapitalisation has offered good opportunity to the investing public to buy into good banking stocks at reduced prices, noting that banks are the most influential stocks at the Nigerian market. Subscribers to primary market issues are exempted from paying transaction costs, unlike direct purchase through the secondary market.

Shareholders, under the auspices of Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Ibadan Zone Shareholders Association (IBZA), Association for the Advancement of Rights of Nigerian Shareholders (AARNS), Pragmatic Shareholders Association of Nigeria and Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria among others, said they were picking up their rights and mobilising supports for the bank.

The general shareholders’ endorsements represent a major boost for Fidelity Bank, which has the most diversified retail shareholders’ base among Nigerian banks.

With nearly 400,000 shareholders, no single shareholder held up to 5.0 per cent of the issued share capital of the bank. Five per cent and above are considered the material shareholding under extant laws and market regulations.

Rights issue is traditionally pre-allotted on the basis of existing shareholdings and its success, most often, depend largely on the satisfaction and enthusiasm of existing shareholders.

Fidelity Bank appears to be riding high on its highly diversified shareholding base with its popularity showing across all cadres of investors in the market. The shareholders’ comments came on the heels of similar positive comments by investment experts and capital market stakeholders.

The combined rights and public offers had opened to a rousing support from the investing public as key capital market stakeholders recalled the symbolic importance of Fidelity Bank’s impressive growths and investor-friendly disposition over the years.

From the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) to stockbrokers, investors and customers; the N127.1 billion combined rights and public offer received unreserved recommendations, with industry thought leaders citing the performance of Fidelity Bank in its core banking operations and as a quoted company at the stock market.

They said Fidelity Bank’s N127.1 billion combined rights and public offer was the right way for the nation’s banking recapitalisation exercise to start as the bank, which has the highest corporate governance rating and an average annual capital gain of more than 100 per cent at the stock market, has strong appeal to the investing public.

The Doyen of Stockbrokers, the oldest practicing stockbroker, Alhaji Rasheed Yussuff, said Fidelity Bank has good records going for it with its history of impressive growth and profitability and dividend payments.

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NNPCL Explains Reason For Drop In Dangote Refinery’s Stake To 7.2%

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited has said that it decided not to add to its earlier investment in the 650,000 barrels per day Dangote Refinery.

NNPCL spokesperson, Olufemi Soneye disclosed this in a terse statement in reaction to Dangote Refinery’s announcement that NNPC’s stake is now 7.2 percent contrary to the 20 percent stake.

According to Soneye, NNPCL had several months ago decided to cap its investment at the amount already paid.

Soneye said that the decision not to invest any further in the Dangote refinery did not impact NNPC’s business.

“Several months ago, we made a commercial decision to cap our investment at the amount already paid.

“This decision was taken by NNPC Ltd and has no impact on our business,” he said.

This comes as the Chairman of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, revealed that NNPCL’s stake in the Dangote Refinery is now 7.2 percent due to NNPC’s failure to pay the balance of their shares, which was due in June last month.

However, the position is contrary to the widely announced claim by the Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPCL, Mele Kyari, that the company had bought 20 percent in Dangote Refinery.

 

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Dem Staffer Fired After Saying Donald Trump Gunman Should Have Taken ‘Shooting Lessons So You Don’t Miss Next Time’

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Democrats staffer fired after saying Trump gunman should have taken ‘shooting lessons so you don’t miss next time’

A staff member of a Mississippi Democratic congressman has reportedly been fired after saying she wished sho0ter Thomas Crooks had ‘better aim’ to take Donald Trump’s life.

On Saturday evening, July 13, shortly after Thomas Matthew Crooks, 20, attempted to assassinate the former president during a rally in Pennsylvania, Jacqueline Marsaw, the field director for Mississippi Congressman Bennie G. Thompson shared a vile post on Facebook about the attack.

Marsaw, 61, the president and vice president of a local NAACP in Natchez, Mississippi, has since deleted the post and her account, but screenshots have been shared across social media.

She shared: ‘I don’t condone violence but please get some shooting lessons so you don’t miss next time ooops that wasn’t me talking.’

 

Democratic congressman

In a follow-up post, she said: ‘That’s what your hate speech got you!!’

Marsaw has since been fired from her position by Mississippi Congressman Bennie G. Thompson.

‘I was made aware of a post made by a staff member and she is no longer in my employment,’ Thompson said

A member of the crowd was killed in the deadly sho0ting, while two others who were wounded are in a critical condition. All three are males, according to law enforcement officials.

After Trump was sh0t, the Secret Service swarmed around the 45th US President as piercing screams were heard from the MAGA crowd.

He then got to his feet with blood down his cheek and raised his fist in the air while the audience shouted ‘USA’ as he was dragged off stage.

Trump was taken to the hospital for treatment before being later released.

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