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How Polo Solutions, Other Agencies exposed MTN alleged dollarization of Nigeria’s economy in suit filed by telecom giant

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Polo Solutions Projects Ltd, Awoyale Raphael Abayomi and Awoyale Temitayo Adekunmi all defendants in Suit No: LD/9999 GMW/2023 instituted by MTN have filed a written address in support of their preliminary objection seeking an order of the Honourable Court to strike out and/or dismiss this suit for lack of jurisdiction

According to the preliminary objection filed by their counsel, AYOOLA B. OKE ESQ., of Ayoola Babatunde Oke & Co, the grounds upon which the Preliminary Object is brought as follows:

The Claimants hold that Honourable Court lacks jurisdiction to hear this suit being a suit to enforce a criminal act specifically criminalized by the combined provisions of Sections 15 and 20(5) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act:

Section 15 The unit of currency shall be the Naira which shall be divided into one hundred kobo while Section 20(5) also states “A person who refuses to accept the Naira as a means of payment is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine of =N=50,000.00 or 6 months imprisonment: Provided that the Bank shall have powers to prescribe the circumstances and conditions under which other currencies may be used as medium of exchange in Nigeria”

According to the counsel defendants, the document pleaded by the Claimant as MTN1 is the contract between the parties and clearly states in paragraph 6.3 that all invoices shall be denominated in Naira and it is therefore surprising that the Respondent started to demand payment in Dollars in breach of its contractual term, without first seeking and executing an amendment to the contract.

“We note that from all the documents pleaded by the Claimant particularly the Notices of Demand issued by the Claimant and replies from the Defendant that the main issue is not the payment but the question of in what currency? In fact, it is clear that the Respondent was paid in Naira but it rejected the payment and offered to return the payment made but reneged on this offer as soon as it was accepted thus holding on the funds of the Applicant while applying self-help to disconnect its and destroy its business”.

That the pleadings of the Claimant do not disclose any reasonable cause of action as nowhere in the Interconnect Agreement which is the contractual agreement between the parties is the Defendant mandated to pay the Claimant in Dollars

The issues for determination according to counsel to the defendant are as follows:

“If by the correct Interpretation of Sections 15 and 20 of the Central Bank (CBN) Act the demand (and insistence) by the Respondent for the Applicant to pay it in Dollars rejecting payments made in Naira for a transaction carried out in Nigeria and between two Nigeria companies does not amount to a criminal offence, an illegality.

“Whether the Central Bank of Nigeria has duly and lawfully exercised its powers to grant exception under the proviso to Section 20(5) by purported grant to the Respondent without any valid and binding instrument.

“If the loss suffered by the Applicant as a result refusal of the Respondent to comply with the law and if the parties are not bound by their contract subject to renegotiation”.

Reinforcing its earlier stance on the issues of law, the claimant relied on Sections 15 and 20 of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act states as follows:

“The unit of currency shall be the Naira which shall be divided into one hundred kobo.“

20 (1) The currency notes issued by the Bank shall be legal tender in Nigeria at their face value for the payment of any amount.

20 (5) A person who refuses to accept the Naira as a means of payment is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine of =N=50,000.00 or 6 months imprisonment:

Given that there is no ambiguity in the provisions of the Section 15 and 20 of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act and the Board of CBN has not in any way modified this provision we submit that the Applicants are entitled to the reliefs sought.

The claimants “contend that the Respondent acted in bad faith and note that it is trite law that parties are bound by their contracts.

“In this case the parties are two Nigeria Network Service providers that entered into an interconnect contract agreeing that consideration should be denominated in Naira in line with the provisions of the Nigerian Law specifically CBN Act yet one party, the Respondent decided to unilaterally refuse payment in Naira, an act prohibited by the extant law.

“We humbly pray that this honourable court grants the requested reliefs as prayed by upholding this Preliminary Objection and dismiss this suit with substantial cost”, Ayoola B. Oke Esq. implores the court.

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FG invites heads of AEDC, IBEDC over poor power supply

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The federal government has invited heads of Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) and Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) over poor power supply in their service areas.

Adebayo Adelabu, minister of power, also invited Sule Abdulazeez, managing director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), for the same reason.

Since the turn of the year, electricity supply to the nation’s capital and across the country has gone from bad to worse, with distribution companies citing gas constraints to generating companies (GenCos) as reason for the prolonged, agonising blackout.

In a statement, Bolaji Tunji, special adviser on strategic communications and media relations to the minister, said power supply should have improved because of the pressure mounted on GenCos to increase their output.

“These two DisCos have been summoned due to the worsening power supply situation in their regions despite improved supply from TCN,” Tunji said.

“So, we expect power supply to have improved across the country, unlike what we are experiencing in some regions presently.

“Findings revealed that some distribution companies were deliberately not taking up power supply from TCN, while some power lines were also damaged by vandals in Abuja, Benin, Port Harcourt and Ibadan regions.”

The aide said the minister has threatened non-performing DisCos nationwide with “outright licence revocation”.

Tunji said the minister also directed TCN to commence repair work on the damaged transmission lines.

The aide added that despite the shortage of gas, power generation has been ramped up to over 4000MW in recent days.

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Ghana’s electricity company cuts power supply to parliament over $1.8m debt

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The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) on Thursday disconnected the power supply to the country’s parliament over a debt of 23 million Ghanaian cedi, approximately $1.8 million.

The power outage disrupted the parliament’s deliberation on the state of the nation speech delivered by Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo.

The blackout occurred when Abena Osei-Asare, the outgoing deputy minister for finance, was defending the president’s speech.

Videos showing the dark scene of the parliament in which some lawmakers were shouting “dumsor”, a Ghanaian word for “power outage”, have appeared on social media.

During the incident, some lawmakers and staff were stuck inside elevators.

ECG had earlier warned that it would disconnect the electricity supply to the parliament over the GH¢23 million debt.

Over the past few weeks, residents have been complaining about erratic power supply in the Gold Coast country.

Speaking about the incident, John Jinapor, a lawmaker and minority spokesperson on mines and energy, complained over the persistent load shedding being carried out by power companies.

The lawmaker attributed the power outages to the inability of the government to purchase fuel for the country’s thermal plants.

“Indeed, the load-shedding is getting worse by the day. The very day His Excellency the President was delivering the state of the nation address and boasting, up that very period, the utility companies were shedding the load,” the lawmaker said.

Later in the day, the power company restored the electricity supply to the parliament after a part of the debt was settled.

In Nigeria, the management of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) recently issued a 10-day notice to 86 government ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) to pay up the N47.1 billion electricity debt they owe or risk disconnection.

The presidential villa was listed among the debtors.

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CBN revokes licences of 4,173 BDCs

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has revoked the licences of 4,173 bureau de change (BDC) operators for failing to observe regulatory provisions.

In a statement signed by Sidi Ali, CBN’s acting director, corporate communications, on Friday, the apex bank said the BDCs failed to observe at least one of its regulatory provisions, such as payment of all necessary fees, including licence renewal, within the stipulated period in line with the guidelines.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in exercise of the powers conferred on it under the Bank and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) 2020, Act No. 5, and the Revised Operational Guidelines for Bureaux De Change 2015 (the Guidelines), has revoked the licenses of 4,173 Bureaux De Change Operators,” CBN said.

Other provisions not adhered to are rendition of returns, compliance with guidelines, directives and circulars of the CBN, especially anti-money laundering (AML), countering the financing of terrorism (CFT) and Counter-Proliferation Financing (CPF) regulations.

The apex bank said it is revising the regulatory and supervisory guidelines for BDC operations in Nigeria.

“Compliance with the new requirements will be mandatory for all stakeholders in the sector when the revised guidelines become effective,” CBN said.

The financial regulator advised the public to take note.

Some of the affected BDCs are;

Mountaintop BDC LTD
Movement BDC
Pointless FOREX BDC LTD
Protected BDC LTD
Reading BDC LTD
Roundtable BDC LTD
Shares OF Time BDC LTD
Stop Over BDC LTD
Surging BDC LTD
Valid BDC LTD
Unical BDC LTD
Turnover BDC LTD
Couple BDC LTD
Happy Ends BDC LTD
Village WAY BDC LTD
Welcome BDC LTD
Oyinbo BDC LTD
Oyoyo BDC LTD
Lamshade BDC LTD
Internal Curry BDC LTD
Give And Collect BDC LTD
Give and Take BDC LTD


The full list of the affected BDCs can be found here.

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