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Alleged debt: Firm prays Court of Appeal to quash order on takeover of property By Ifeoma Ikem

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Alleged debt: Firm prays Court of Appeal to quash order on takeover of property

By Ifeoma Ikem

 

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Algrain Foods Limited and its managing director, Chief Anthony Obidulu, have approached the Court of Appeal in Lagos seeking to upturn the verdict of two high court judges empowering a receiver-manager, Emmanuel Adeyeye Oyebanji, SAN, to take over the company for alleged indebtedness.

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The appellants are praying the appellate court to set aside the judgement delivered by Justice H.R. Shagari of the Federal High Court, on February 23, 2018, in a suit between CSL Trustees Limited, First City Monument Bank (FCMB) and the Central Bank of Nigeria vs. Algrain Foods Limited and Obidulu.

In another separate appeal, the firm and its managing director are praying the appellate court to set aside the ruling, decisions and orders of Justice A. Lewis Allagoa of the Federal High Court, Lagos Division, made on October 18, 2021.

Justice Allagoa had ruled that the receiver-manager, Oyebanji, had the legal right to take possession of the appellants’ property due to the agreement between the parties in the credit facility offered the company.

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However in its ground of appeal, the company and Obidulu held that the lower court judges erred in law, stating: “There is before the trial court evidence of non-compliance with section 392(1), 396(1) and 397(1) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, Cap. C. 20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, by the receiver-manager appointed by the respondents that requires a mandatory service of statutory notice of appointment of receiver-manager and his remuneration on the registrar-general, Corporate Affairs Commission, and the first defendant/appellant, respectively, by the receiver-manager forthwith and or immediately after his appointment as required by the Companies and Allied Matters, Cap. C. 20, L.F.N. 2004, which was not complied with.
“The learned trial court totally misconstrued the practical effect and application of Section 392(1), 396(1) and 397(1) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act. Cap. C. 20, L.F.N. 2004, when he failed in his duty to countenance that the category of abuse of court process was not closed and any failure to adhere to the stipulation of the law in initiating administrative and or legal proceedings as in the instant case before approaching the court for a remedy even where a cause of action has accrued is an abuse of the process of court.

“The trial court’s interpretation of the operative words of Sections 392(1), 396(1) and 397 (1) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act. Cap. C. 20, L.F.N. 2004, read together is perverse and its misinterpretation and misapplication has led to a serious miscarriage of justice and a perverse decision.”

Meanwhile, lawyer to Algrain Foods, Aloy C Ezenduka, has raised the alarm that the receiver-manager has continued to take away the company’s property despite the fact that the case is still on appeal.

“Now, the government said before anybody can access that loan facility, you choose a bank and it has to be a bank for that particular facility and the bank should have access of the N400 billion; so, any money that is given out, you get a rebate from that fund. Instead of FCMB to do the needful, the bank went to the man’s factory, saw that he was producing noodles, saw that he had very efficient working system with low overhead, so they wrote in that they were going to sponsor the man’s business 100%.

“Instead of giving the man an order of N100 million working capital, on their own, they said they wanted to give the man N350 million; but at the end of the day, they only gave the man N100 million from the facility and never gave the man the other tranche of money

“When the auditors worked on the account, they found out that (the bank) collected more than N100 million from CDMU and they only gave the man N100 million. Meanwhile, they passed it through the man’s account, a lot of money illegally passed through his account. Maybe he had an inefficient accounting system. They were using the man’s ignorance to rip him off. It was when I came into the picture after the man was not satisfied with what the former man was doing after he refused to do comprehensive study. We did all these and found out that they were owing the man.

“When I got into the matter, I found a new case asking the court to discharge or nullify the receiver-manager because, by the time he was appointed, the so-called facility was not due for payment. His six-month activity was supposed to expire in 2016, but Oyebanji was appointed receiver-manager in 2016. If you add the one year moratorium they gave, it would have ended in July 2017 and by that time they had already taken over the factory.

“So, these were the issues we raised in the lower court. The lower court didn’t want to listen to us. The court just raised three issues and said we should address the court on that and called mood against us. We appealed that decision.

“The court told them, based on the question they brought for determination, that they had right and debenture to take possession and to sell without saying how much they can collect.

“Assuming the man was owing N350 million, then you now sell over N20 billion worth of assets for N350 million worth of debt, is that not criminality and stealing?

“In the case that brought Oyebanji to possession, they were saying it was based on mispresentation of material facts. It was not a bad debt and they have not called in the guarantee certificate, and the facility is 80%, principal and interest. So, from beginning to the end there was an intention to rip this man, to take over his factory, dissipate his asset and dupe him.

“This is a typical example with Nigerian banks and borrowers but, unfortunately for them, the Court of Appeal, in one of the appeals, the file that concerns Oyebanji, gave me permission to bring the document they were concealing. That document shows the fraudulent nature of the entire transaction.

“Immediately the court gave me the ruling that allowed me to furnish the documentary evidence, which is the certificate of guarantee, Oyebanji started moving material parts of the factory, between 1am and 3am every day.”

Ezenduka has asked the Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, to investigate his senior colleague, Emmanuel Oyebanji, SAN, for alleged sale of his client’s assets worth N20 billion.

Ezenduka, in a petition dated January 7, 2024, noted that Oyebanji, who was appointed as receiver-manager by CSL Trustees Limited on behalf of First City Monument Bank, following a N350 million loan dispute, allegedly converted, stole and sold the assets belonging to Obidulu and his company, Algrain Foods Limited, located at 15/17, Canal Avenue, Canal Estate, Okota, Lagos.

The petitioner said the actions of Oyebanji and FCMB were reprehensible, as four court cases, two at the Appeal Court in Lagos (CA/L/CV/1021/2021 and CA/L/CV/1024/2021) and two at the High Court of Lagos State, were pending and trial ongoing.

He said the cases at the High Court of Lagos State were instituted by Obidulu against Oyebanji, his law firm and FCMB, for trespassing over his property, alleging that despite the pendency of the suits, the defendants were discretely stealing and selling assets, comprising vehicles, heavy machinery and goods kept in the warehouse worth billions of naira.

The petitioner accused the defendant of acting on “a purported judgement on appeal that claimed that FCMB was owed N350 million, when an audit report had shown that the company was not indebted to the bank or anyone.”

However, Oyebanji has dismissed the allegations as fallacious and a deliberate attempt at misrepresenting facts, noting that the sale of the properties was backed by court judgements.

“It is total fallacy and complete misinformation that the receiver has been stealing the assets of Algrain Foods but, rather, the assets were legally disposed of by virtue of the judgement.

“There is no judgement or order from the Court of Appeal reversing the judgement of the Federal High Court,” Oyebanji said.

Moreover, FCMB’s group head of communication and branding, Mr. Diran Olojo, denied any looting by the bank, saying, “t is not possible for a serious organisation like FCMB to loot a company. There is a receiver-manager who is backed up by the law to recover debt. The debt recovery does not concern FCMB. Besides, everything that the receiver-manager is doing is backed by the law.

“The case is in the courts. Let the complainant wait for the decision of the court. FCMB is a serious organisation and would not be involved in petty things.”

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An Icon of Service: NATCOM boss, Otunba Adejare Adegbenro’s Leadership Legacy

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An Icon of Service: NATCOM boss, Otunba Adejare Adegbenro's Leadership Legacy

An Icon of Service: NATCOM boss, Otunba Adejare Adegbenro’s Leadership Legacy

 

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In the intricate mosaic of Nigeria’s societal fabric, Otunba Adejare Adegbenro stands as a beacon of commitment, resilience, and service.

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Born on March 6th, 1973, in Lagos, he draws from a lineage steeped in political legacy, being the grandson of the late Premier of Western Region, Alhaji Daudu Sooroye Adegbenro. Raised in a family that values service to the community, Otunba Adegbenro has carved his path as a distinguished figure in Nigerian society.

The culmination of his familial heritage and dedication to community service was marked by his installation as the first Otunba Laje of Owu Kingdom in Ogun State, Southwest Nigeria.

This historic event, which took place on January 20th, 2018, under the auspices of His Royal Majesty Oba Olusanya Dosunmu II, traditional ruler of Owu kingdom, reinforced Otunba Adegbenro’s deep-rooted ties to his cultural heritage and commitment to uplifting his people.

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Beyond his traditional titles, his influence extends globally, with his appointment as High Commissioner by the International Human Rights Commission (IHRC), where he spearheads foreign special missions aimed at preventing illegal migration and human trafficking. This appointment is a testament of his reputation as a renowned security expert and industrialist, whose expertise transcends national borders.

In his role as the acting Director-General of the National Commission against the Proliferation of Arms, Light Weapons, and Pipeline Vandalism (NATCOM), Otunba Adegbenro has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to combating threats to national security. His vast experience in security consultancy and supply of security gadgets has positioned him as a pivotal figure in Nigeria’s security landscape.

However, Otunba Laje of Owu Kingdom’s contributions extend beyond the realm of security.

Through his foundation, the Otunba Adejare Adegbenro Foundation (OAAF), he channels his resources towards uplifting the less privileged in society. With initiatives ranging from the provision of boreholes to communities lacking access to clean water, to scholarships for deserving students, he exemplifies the spirit of philanthropy and communal solidarity.

Reflecting on his journey, Otunba Adegbenro once acknowledged the challenges he has faced, from navigating the complexities of entrepreneurship to confronting societal stereotypes.

Yet, through it all, he remains resolute in his commitment to service and upliftment. His philosophy, rooted in faith and compassion, drives him to make a tangible difference in the lives of others, regardless of obstacles encountered along the way.

Otunba Adejare Adegbenro stands as a testament to the power of leadership, resilience, and unwavering dedication to the common good. In him, Nigerians find not only a visionary leader but a compassionate steward of progress, whose impact reverberates far beyond the shores of his homeland.

 

An Icon of Service: NATCOM boss, Otunba Adejare Adegbenro's Leadership Legacy

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Bullying: Victim may sue As Abuja School Shut

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Bullying: Victim may sue As Abuja School Shut

Bullying: Victim may sue As Abuja School Shut

 

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Lead British International School Abuja, which has been in the eye of the storm over viral videos of bullying involving some of its students, has been shut for three days.

The shutdown order was issued on Tuesday by the Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohaneye.

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The Public Relations Officer of the FCT Education Secretariat, Kabiru Musa,  confirmed that the school had been shut down by the minister.

“Yes, it was shut down by the honourable Minister of Women  Affairs for 3 days,” Musa in response to a Whatsapp message by one of our correspondents.

 

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staff member of the school, whose name could not be ascertained as of press time, had earlier announced the shutdown of the school by the minister.

The PUNCH reports that an X user, @moooyeeeee, had on Monday night posted two videos of a female student of the school being repeatedly slapped by another female classmate.

The user called for justice for the victim. Since they were posted, the videos have drawn the wrath of many users of the microblogging platform, who condemned the incident and called for the school authorities to investigate and punish the culprits.

 

A third video depicting a separate case of bullying at the Lead British International School, Abuja emerged on Tuesday.

In the new video posted on Tuesday, some male students in the school’s uniform are seen surrounding another boy who appears to be in casual attire.

A student slapped the boy, who was on his knees, and then some of the other boys who were gathered appealed to stop the ‘bully’ from further harming the boy, who was later whisked away in the nine-second video.

An X user, @PopoolaJoke4, who posted the video wrote, “No be the same school?”, in response to the first viral video of bullying in the same school that was released earlier.

In one of the videos of the minister’s visit, the  representative of the school was heard saying, “By the request of the Minister of Women Affairs, we are Nigerians who respect rules and regulations and we are under the law because our school is actually recognised and our school is under the Federal Capital Territory, and we are registered and based on that, Lead British International School, Abuja is hereby shut  for three days.”

As of the time of filing this report, our correspondent could not ascertain whether the FCTA would use the occasion to investigate other private schools in which alleged cases of bullying take place in the FCT.

Victim threatens lawsuit

 

Namtira Bwala, the student assaulted by her fellow students at Lead British International School, has written the school management, demanding a thorough investigation and heavy sanctions for the 11 students who bullied her.

Two of the bullies were identified tobe Maryam Hassan and a certain Faliya.

Bwala, in a letter addressed to the management of her school through her lawyers at the Deji Adeyanju and Partners Law Firm, gave the school an ultimatum of 48 hours after which she will seek legal redress.

 

A copy of the letter obtained by The PUNCH read, “Our client and several other parents in Lead British International School have informed us and we verily believe them that this act of bullying is a reoccurring issue in the school, and despite several attempts to draw the school’s attention to it, the issue has persisted, leaving our client traumatised from the emotional and physical effect of the oppressive acts by these daredevil bullies.

“Our client completely dissociates herself from the statement issued by the school on April 22, 2024, wherein a case of battery was unconscionably referred to as an ‘incident between minors’.

“Sequel to the foregoing, we have our client’s instruction to demand an immediate investigation and the pronouncement of the stiffest possible sanctions in the student’s rule book on Ms. Maryam Hassan, Miss Faliya and nine other students who have formed a cult of bullies in Lead British International School, Gwarimpa, Abuja.

“Please note that if the school fails to sanction the student bullies within 48 hours of the receipt of this letter, we have our client’s further instruction to seek an immediate and severe legal redress against Lead British International School, Gwarimpa, without further recourse to you.”

 

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Yahaya Bello: Appeal Court fails to hear EFCC’s suit against order restraining ex-Gov’s arrest

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Kogi AG Vs. AGF: Supreme Court cautions against continued harassment of Kogi officials

Yahaya Bello: Appeal Court fails to hear EFCC’s suit against order restraining ex-Gov’s arrest

 

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Hearing on the appeal instituted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission against an interim order of the Kogi State High Court restraining the Commission from arresting, detaining, harassing or prosecuting Yahaya Bello, pending the determination of the substantive originating motion for the enforcement of his fundamental human rights, suffered a setback on Monday, as the Court of Appeal failed to sit.

 

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Governor Yahaya Bello Reveals His Preferred Successor

 

The appropriateness of the siege on Bello’s residence by operatives of the Commission last Wednesday had elicited a heated debate across the country, particularly with the realisation that there had been a restraining order against such action, which had not been vacated as of the time of such action.

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The EFCC had appealed the order on March 11, 2024 and sought for a stay of execution in Appeal No: CA/ABJ/CV/175/2024: Economic and Financial Crimes Commission v. Alhaji Yahaya Bello. The Court of Appeal did not grant the stay of execution but fixed Monday, April 22 for hearing.

However, the Kogi High Court, on Wednesday, April 17, 2024, had delivered its substantive judgment in the matter and directed the commission to seek the leave of a superior court before taking further step against Bello. The judgment was read at about 12pm.

As at about 8am, when EFCC laid siege on Bello’s Abuja residence, the interim injunction, which restrained them from arresting or harassing him, among others, was still subsisting.

Justice Isa Abdullahi had, in his latest verdict, held: “Looking at the Orders sought by the applicant (Yahaya Bello), I am inclined to grant them subject to some alterations which in my view will meet the justice of this case, in the following terms;
1. An Order is hereby granted enforcing the Fundamental Rights of the applicant to liberty and freedom of movement and fair hearing, by restraining the Respondent (EFCC) by themselves, their agents, servants or privies from continuing to harass, threaten to arrest or detain or in any manner whatsoever arresting, detaining or prosecuting the Applicant on the basis of the criminal Charges now pending before the Federal High Court, Abuja to wit; Charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/550/2022 between FRN v. Ali Bello & Anor, without prejudice to the power of the said Federal High Court, to make any Order as it may deem just in the determination of the rights of the Applicant and the Respondent as may be submitted to her for consideration and determination.

2. An Order is hereby granted directing the Respondent to bring before the said Federal High Court, or any such appropriate Court, such criminal Charge, allegation or Complaint in respect whereof the Applicant is reasonably believed by the Respondent to have committed any offence subject of its jurisdiction, provided that the Respondent shall not invite, arrest or detain the Applicant on account of a reasonable belief that the Applicant has committed any financial crime, without first obtaining the leave of a superior Court of Record, especially haven regard to the antecedents of the Respondent in the manner it has managed its engagements with the Applicant.”

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