A Week in Nigeria: 8 June

Nigerian oil company Oando and the financial regulator SEC are involved in a wrangle over the firm’s leadership

In this week’s round-up: Court wades into Oando leadership dispute, petroleum regulator rescinds six oil block licences, and soldiers allegedly kill protesters in Adamawa state.

  • A court in Lagos blocked Nigeria’s financial watchdog from replacing Oando’s chief executive and taking other action against the oil firm, pending further hearings on the case, according to a court document seen by Reuters. Nigeria’s Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) had set up an interim management team and ordered chief executive Wale Tinubu and others to resign following an investigation. The SEC said it had found “certain infractions of securities and other relevant laws” during an investigation into the company. It had ordered that certain board members refund “improperly disbursed remuneration” and said unidentified individuals would have to pay financial penalties. But a judge issued an injunction against the removals of Tinubu and of deputy chief executive Omamofe Boyo. It also barred the SEC’s appointed chief executive from taking over the company and blocked the imposition of a 91.125 million naira ($297,900) fine against Tinubu. The case was adjourned until 14 June.
  • Nigeria’s petroleum regulator has revoked six oil block licences due to “legacy debts”, it said in a public notice. The notice, carried in some Nigerian newspapers, said the move by the Department of Petroleum Resources was “in furtherance of the presidential directive”. The action comes as Nigeria takes a more aggressive approach to collect taxes and royalties that the country says it is owed. Oil industry sources said Nigeria has also been increasingly vocal about rescinding licences that are not being actively developed. The notice said oil mining lease (OML) 98 was revoked from Pan Ocean Oil Corporation, OML 120 and 121 from Allied Energy Resources Nigeria Limited, OML 108 from Express Petroleum & Gas Company Limited and OML 110 from Cavendish Petroleum Nigeria Limited. The notice also said oil prospecting licence (OPL) 206 was revoked from Summit Oil International.
  • Three protesters were killed and four others injured when soldiers opened fire on demonstrators in a farming community in Nigeria’s Adamawa state, three sources told Reuters. The protesters in the northeastern state were demonstrating against kidnappings for ransom that have plagued the area as well as what residents said was harassment by soldiers and police. An army spokesman did not respond to requests for comment. In addition to rising kidnappings and violence across Nigeria, Adamawa state is a focal point of violence between farmers and herders. In the past several years, there have also been allegations from locals and campaign groups of human rights abuses by the military. The military has previously denied all wrongdoing.
  • Nigeria observed a two-day public holiday to mark the Eid-al-Fitr religious holiday following the end of Islam’s holy month of Ramadan. The holidays, on Tuesday and Wednesday and coming a week after the president’s low-key inauguration ceremony, it led to the week being slightly quieter than usual on the news front. But it did yield striking images from our Abuja-based photographer as part of wider Reuters coverage of Eid-al-Fitr.

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