Nigeria: N29 Billion Debt - Court Orders Amcon Takeover of Jide Omokore's Firm

9 December 2019

The Federal High Court in the Lagos Division on Monday granted the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) application to take Cedar Oil & Gas Exploration & Production Limited over a ₦29 billion debt.

The company is promoted by Jide Omokore, currently standing trial over charges of money laundering preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Mr Omokore, who is also the Chairman of Atlantic Energy Limited, has links with the former Petroleum Resources Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, who is also wanted by the anti-graft agency for corruption.

Justice C.J. Aneke who gave the order said AMCON was mandated to move in immediately and take possession of the assets of the firms over the indebtedness.

In compliance with the court order, AMCON spokesperson, Jude Nwauzor, said on Monday the debt recovery agency has successfully taken possession of all assets of the company through the Receiver/Manager, Godwin Nwokoyo, who also received protective orders from the court.

Mr Nwauzor, who confirmed the takeover, listed the affected assets now under AMCON to include Block A, No. 46 Gerrard Road, Ikoyi Lagos State, comprising 26 flats and Plot 1236, River Niger Street, off River Benue Street, Maitama, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

The other property is the Marion Apartment, Block 8, No. 4 & 5, Onikoyi Estate, Banana Island, Lagos State, consisting of 43 units of apartments.

Mr Nwauzor said AMCON is also in possession of No. 33A, Cooper Road, Ikoyi; No. 8, Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, as well as Manson Apartments, No. 6, Gerrard Road, all in Lagos State, comprising of 60 units of three-bedroom apartments.

Justice Aneke gave the order following the failure of the firm and its directors, Olajide Omokore, Isiaka Mohammed, Joseph Bazuaye, Silas Ode and others to defray ₦15 billion out of the total outstanding indebtedness of ₦29 billion debt owed AMCON.

Pursuant to AMCON's mandate, Mr Nwauzor said as a responsible organisation with due respect for the laws of the country, it will do all within its capacity to obey the court order.

"We saw it coming, because the said debt is long overdue. You can see how these top AMCON obligors are taking all Nigerians for a ride. Even when they admitted repaying over ₦15 billion owed AMCON, they still did not honour their own side of the agreement, which they did not make under duress," he said.

He said before AMCON got to the stage with any obligor, "it must have exhausted all channels to resolve the matter without going to court".

The decision to resort to court, the AMCON spokesperson said was because the firm and its directors "made all attempts at an amicable out of court settlement of the debt impossible".

He said the court was the only option left as provided for under Section 49-52 of the AMCON Act.

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