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Man Sues Nigerian Breweries for N1.5Bn over Alleged Copyright Infringement

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The Nigerian Breweries PLC is facing a

N1.5 billion lawsuit filed against the company by an Abuja-based graduate, Paul Oche, over alleged copyright infringement.

The suit is filed before Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

Oche is claiming a sum of N1 billion as aggravated and exemplary damages against the company for unlawfully, capriciously, maliciously and contemptuously infringing on his copyright in the intellectual literary work, titled; “The Amstel Factor; an Amstel Malta Guide on How to Be the Best You Can Be.”

In the suit instituted through his counsel, Paul Ekweume, the plaintiff is also claiming another sum of N500 million as general damages over unlawful use of his copyright.

Besides monetary demands, the plaintiff sought for an order of perpetual injunction, restraining the defendants, their agents, servants and privies from further infringing, by way of unlawful use, adaptation and derivation, on his copyright.

While the Nigerian Breweries PLC is the 1st defendant, DDB South Africa, Mr. Samson Oloche and Heineken BV Netherlands are 2nd to 4th defendants respectively.

In his statement of claim, Oche averred that he authored the Amstel Factor Book as well as a proposal and PowerPoint presentation made to promote the Amstel Malta drink brand.

As part of efforts to promote the Amstel Malta brand in Nigeria, the plaintiff claimed that the brewery launched a new credential campaign sometimes in 2016 with the slogan: “Why Add More” and published it on all its social media forums, websites and billboard adverts as well as videos and graphic designs based on the campaign.

He further claimed that he spent several years engaging in various intensive academic researches and eventually gathered the necessary materials which culminated into his writing a book: “The Amstel Factor, An Amstel Malta Guide on How to Be the Best You Can Be;” a proposal and a PowerPoint designed to pictorially and graphically demonstrate his works on the electronic media, television and motion pictures.

He said that in 2015, he travelled to the breweries’ headquarters in Lagos and submitted the book and the proposal to the Brand Manager, adding that after the submissions, he waited patiently for a formal invitation by the company to deliver his campaign but was not given acknowledgement of receipt of his book.

The plaintiff said in February 2016, he visited the LinkedIn online profile of one Samson Oloche, the 3rd defendant in the suit, who at the time was the Consumer and Market Intelligence, Digital and Media Manager of the company.

He further averred that he informed the said Oloche how he submitted a proposal in 2015 to Amstel Malta Brand Manager but did not receive any response, adding that the 3rd defendant provided him with his email address, where he then forwarded the PowerPoint presentation and proposal and that he got a promise that the right person in the breweries would see and evaluate his work.

He stated that in 2016, he stumbled upon a new Amstel Malta campaign online tagged: “Why Add More.”

He added that without seeking his permission, the breweries used his literary work in the brand campaign and refused to give credit to his work.

Oche further stated that a complaint was lodged with the Nigerian Copyright Commission and that series of meetings were held during which the 3rd defendant admitted receiving Amstel Malta Brand campaign proposal and PowerPoint presentation but later claimed to have deleted the materials and that he did not submit it to the appropriate authority.

At the mention of the case on Tuesday, the plaintiff, through his counsel, Ekweume, said he filed a motion on notice for an Interlocutory Injunction, restraining the defendants from further use of his copyright in the activities of the giant brewery lined up for the year.

Although counsel to the 1st, 3rd and 4th defendants, Amina Ibrahim, said she had not been served with the motion, the claim was found to be false.
Counsel to the 2nd defendant, Joseph Osayande, who admitted service of the motion on Dec. 4, asked for time to respond.

Following bitter complaint on the alleged continuous infringement of the copyright and the refusal of the respondents to admit responsibilities, Justice Nyako ordered status quo to be maintained by parties in the suit.
She noted that issues had been joined in the suit.

The judge, who directed the company to continue the sale of the already packaged branded Amstel Malta, ordered that further campaign on the new branded Amstel Malta being handled by DDV of South Africa be put on hold pending the determination of the main suit.

Justice Nyako got infuriated when Osayande, counsel to DDB of South Africa, challenged the order of status quo, prompting the judge to warn the lawyer and his client against flouting the order of the court.

“If you campaign on the subject matter of this suit, it is contempt of court.

“I will descend heavily on you as a counsel because I have warned you and have cautioned you in the open court on the consequences of prejudicing the court,” she held.

The judge adjourned the matter until Jan. 20 for hearing.

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Ten African Presidents Receive AfCFTA Awards

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Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari and nine other African Presidents have received awards for their contributions to the kick-off of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

Dr Akinwumi Adesina, the President of African Development Bank (AfDB), and some heads of institutions also received awards for their roles in the enforcement of the AfCFTA.

The award ceremony was organised virtually by the African Union (AU) with the private sector in the AU headquarters at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The presidents given the awards were Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria; Akufo-Addo of Ghana; Felix Tshekedi of Congo; Ahmed Fattah Al-Sisi of Egypt; Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger; Alpha Conde of Guinea; Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa and Chairperson of the AU; and Paul Kagame of Rwanda.

Others are King Mswati III, Ngwenyama of Eswatini; Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia; two former heads of states – Hailemariam Desalegn, former Prime Minister of Ethiopia and Mr Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria.

The President, Africa Business Council (AfBC), Amany Asfour, was also presented with an award for her role in that respect.

Some heads of African institutions and other prominent individuals were also awarded for their exceptional contributions to the AfCFTA process.

The awards were received by the various countries’ ambassadors and representatives of institutions present while those absent will receive through courier services to the recipients.

One of the award recipients, Amany Asfour said the ceremony showed the commitment of the private sector towards the implementation of the AU Agenda 2063.

“We need an architecture where the organised private sector would cater for the implementation of the AfCFTA and it is such a pleasure now it has been constituted by the efforts of the AU Commission,” she said.

Asfour urged the players in the private sector to ensure the implementation of policies regarding the agreement.

“We need the legislation that will make it happen with the AfCFTA, the policies can be on paper but the implementation is our role as the private sector.

“It is a must to empower our Small and Medium Enterprises, youths and women. We are the richest continent in the world but we need to manage our own resources,” she said.

In her remarks, Saratu Aliyu, President, Federation of West Africa Chambers of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (FEWACCI) apd governments, private sector players and contributors to the success of the AfCFTA implementation.

Aliyu expressed optimism that the agreement would promote e-commerce and e-business infrastructure and develop a roadmap for the development of a digital economy to support the growth in member states.

She also reiterated the support of FEWACCI to achieving economic development and growth in Africa.

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Nigerian Billionaire to Invest N3bn in Fidelity Bank

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U.S.-based Nigerian billionaire, Dr Oluleye Adigun has disclosed ongoing efforts to invest N3Bn ($6.8million) in Fidelity Bank through shares acquisition.

Dr Adigun, in a recent interview, said the acquisition is part of his planned investment in the Nigerian economy, adding that the process of buying Fidelity bank was almost done, attributing the little delay to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Fidelity bank purchase is almost done. COVID-19 delayed the process a little due to everything closing down, but the process just picked up again. I was told I have to open a bank account and will need BVN. I am planning to come to Nigeria to do that as soon as possible.

The Osun State-born billionaire is the owner and Chief Operating Officer of Golden Glades Treatment Centre as well as Adigun Investment Group with stakes in nine companies operating in commercial real estate, several e-commerce companies. as well as wind and solar energy.

Others are aviation, with four private planes, a technology company, which owns computer software/applications, and six clinics in the healthcare industry.

Peter Aletor, Managing Director for Apel Asset Limited, and a friend, Mr Tosin Afolabi, have been very helpful on it. Afolabi will be partner in my bank venture in Nigeria with small share,” he said of his foray into the Nigerian economy.

Adigun expressed willingness to bring his airline company, healthcare, technology as well as solar and wind energy to Nigeria in the future.

“I am interested in investing in Nigeria because it’s my father land. I believe there has to be a way of doing something in my own country and be successful in it.

“I have touched almost every industry here in the U.S. and very successful in it. I have done business with people in other countries like South African, Zimbabwe, Jamaica and Europe. I want to do same in my own country,” he said.

He added: “The Nigerian economy has great potentials. Nigeria has everything to be giant in the world. We have the smartest people in Nigeria.

“With the right people, with great mind and good intentions, Nigeria can be like U.S. and other thriving countries. I need to build my own too. Nigeria is my home regardless of what I have here in U.S. .”

He narrated how his previous efforts to purchase failing Polaris Bank in Nigeria was thwarted, on the grounds that he was not known in Nigeria.

“When I decided to start investing in the Nigerian economy, I first heard of Polaris Bank. So I decided to buy a failing bank and Polaris came up through my connections with CBN.

“We are going through with the process of buying into Fidelity Bank now and that should be completely done in a few weeks. This is a billion naira project and hope it goes well. I have built myself from making less than 30,000 dollars yearly to having a net worth of over 100 million dollars within the last four years.

“We are all Nigerians and looking to better our country together. We can’t fix Nigeria if we are all divided. As Nigerians, we need to change our mindset to fix and make Nigeria better together,” he said.

He said he is also in the process of applying for a banking license with CBN to dive into fintech

Adigun is an old student of Olivet Baptist High School in Oyo, Miami Dade college, Florida Atlantic University and Walden University.

He has served in several U.S. organisations as a Police Officer, Substance Abuse Counselor and Clinical Director before he opened his first business in 2017.

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Heirs Holdings Acquires 45% of OML 17 from Shell, Total, ENI

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Heirs Holdings (HH) an affiliate of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc (Transcorp) has acquired 45 per cent participating interest in Nigerian oil licence OML 17 from Shell Petroleum, Total and ENI.

A statement by Mr Chike Anikwe, Acting Group Company Secretary, Transcorp, said on Friday that the transaction is one of the largest oil and gas financings in Africa in more than a decade, with a financing component of $1.1 billion, provided by a consortium of global and regional banks and investors.

It said that the transaction was through TNOG Oil and Gas Limited (a related company of Heirs Holdings and Transcorp), which will have sole oparatorshio of the asset from Shell Petroleum Development Nigeria Plc, Total E&P Nigeria Limited and ENI.

Tony Elumelu, Chairman of Heirs Holdings, said in the statement: “We have a very clear vision: creating Africa’s first integrated energy multinational, a global quality business, uniquely focused on Africa and Africa’s energy needs.

“The acquisition of such a high quality asset, with significant potential for further growth, is a strong statement of our confidence in Nigeria, the Nigerian oil and gas sector and a tribute to the extremely high-quality management team that we have assembled.

“As a Nigerian, and more particularly an indigene of the Niger Delta region, I understand well our responsibilities that come with stewardship of the asset, our engagement with communities and the strategic importance of the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.

“We see significant benefits from integrating our production, with our ability to power Nigeria, through Transcorp, and deliver value across the energy value chain,” he said.

Elumelu further said: “I would like to thank Shell, Total and ENI, for the professionalism of the process, the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, and the NNPC for the confidence they have placed in us,” he noted.

Speaking on the investment, Mr Owen Omogiafo, the President and Group Chief Executive Officer, of Transcorp, said that the transaction was an evidence of the company’s strategy to power Africa.

“This deal further demonstrates Transcorp’s integrated energy strategy and our determination to power Africa.”

Heirs Holdings was advised by Standard Chartered Plc, as Global Coordinator, and United Capital Plc, with a syndicate of lending institutions including Afreximbank, ABSA, Africa Finance Corporation, Union Bank of Nigeria, Hybrid Capital, and global asset management firm Amundi.

The deal also involves Schlumberger as a technical partner, as well as the trading arm of Shell as an offtaker.

According to the statement, OML 17 has a current production capacity of 27,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day and, according to our estimates, 2P reserves of 1.2 billion barrels of oil equivalent, with an additional 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent resources of further exploration potential.

The investment demonstrates an advance in the execution of Heirs Holdings’ integrated energy strategy and the Group’s commitment to Africa’s development, through long term investments that create economic prosperity and social wealth.

Heirs Holdings’ heritage and approach to business fundamentally underscores its commitment to inclusive development and shared prosperity with its host communities. Heirs Holdings is fully invested in the development of the Niger Delta region.

The statement also reported that Heirs Holdings’ strategy of creating the leading integrated energy business in Africa is executed through a series of strategic portfolio holdings.

Transcorp is one of the largest power producers in Nigeria, with 2,000 MW of installed capacity, through ownership of Transcorp Power Plant and the recent acquisition of Afam Power Plc and Afam Three Fast Power Limited.

Transcorp closed the US$300 million Afam acquisitions in November 2020. Transcorp supplies electricity to the Republic of Benin, as part of an emphasis on promoting regional integration and delivering robust power supply to catalyse development in Africa.

Transcorp also operates OPL281, under a production sharing contract with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (“NNPC”).

Similarly, Heirs Holdings’ subsidiary, Tenoil is the operator of OPL 2008, under a production sharing contract with NNPC.

Tenoil also owns the Ata Marginal Field which will commence production in Q2, 2021, with 3,500 barrels of oil per day.

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