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Russia Steadily Rebuilding Presence in Africa

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Russia has drawn the world’s attention with its aggressive stance toward Ukraine. The former Soviet power has been rebuilding ties with Africa more quietly, strengthening economic and military cooperation, but also raising Western concerns about its tactics and goals there.

Russian flags waved in Burkina Faso’s capital following January’s military coup in the West African nation. A statue unveiled in the Central African Republic last fall shows local soldiers, backed by Russian fighters, protecting civilians.

Those are the more obvious symbols of Russia’s resurgent presence on the continent. Africa is a foreign policy priority, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the first Russia-Africa summit of political and business leaders in 2019.

“We are not going to participate in a new ‘repartition’ of the continent’s wealth,” he said. “Rather, we are ready to engage in competition for cooperation with Africa.”

A second summit is planned for St. Petersburg in October. The first, at the Black Sea resort town of Sochi, generated diplomatic agreements and billions of dollars in deals involving arms, energy, agriculture, banking and more, said the organizer, the Roscongress Foundation.

Moscow has been building new ties and refreshing alliances forged during the Cold War, when the former Soviet Union supported socialist movements across Africa. After the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991, it largely withdrew from the continent.

Since at least 2007, especially in the last few years, Russia has been increasing military and other economic involvement in Africa. The 2019 summit produced contracts with more than 30 African countries to supply military armaments and equipment. Businesses, including state-backed commercial interests, have invested heavily in security sectors, technology and industries that extract natural resources such as oil, gas, gold and other minerals.

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Rusal is a company that excavates minerals for aluminum in Guinea and nuclear group Rosatom seeks uranium in Namibia. Alrosa, the world’s largest diamond mining company, has pushed to expand operations in Angola and Zimbabwe, according to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

“Russia is clearly interested, in search of new economic markets and geopolitical influence in Africa,” said Tatiana Smirnova, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Quebec’s Centre FrancoPaix and an associate with the University of Florida’s Sahel Research Group. “It’s important for Russia.”

Russia Steadily Rebuilding Presence in Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa’s Import-Export Partners

Trade between Russia and African countries has doubled since 2015, to about $20 billion a year, African Export-Import Bank President Benedict Oramah said in an interview last fall with Russia’s state-owned Tass news agency, cited by the Russia Briefing investment news site. He said Russia exported $14 billion worth of goods and services and imported roughly $5 billion in African products.

However, Africa does more business with other countries, notably China, its biggest trading partner in recent years.

Russia’s overtures in recent years offer cooperation without the “political or other conditions” imposed by Western countries, Putin has said.

“Russia provides, as did the Soviet Union before, an alternative vision for African nations” based on “this common anti-Western critique,” said Maxim Matusevich, a history professor who directs Russian studies at Seton Hall University in New Jersey.

However, while the Soviets tried to sell socialist ideas of modernization in Africa, Russians today “are not offering any ideological vision,” he said. “What they’re essentially doing is they’re contracting with African elites on a one-on-one basis. … They insist on the importance of sovereignty and contrast that with the West, which is trying to impose its values, such as transparency, honest governance, anti-corruption legislation. Again, I’m not saying the West is always sincere doing that, but that’s the official message – and they [Russians] are not doing any of that.”

Shifting dynamics

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The spread of militant Islamist extremism and other violence in Africa has created more openings for Russian military involvement. For instance, five nations in the volatile Sahel region – Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger – solicited Moscow’s military support in 2018. Russian fighters also have been engaged in Mozambique and Angola.

France’s planned drawdown of troops from Mali, its former colony and partner in the fight against jihadists since 2013, leaves still more room.

Last Thursday, France and its security partners announced they would exit Mali, citing “multiple obstructions” by the military junta that took power in 2020. France will redeploy its 2,400 troops elsewhere in the Sahel.

Russia Steadily Rebuilding Presence in Africa
FILE – French Barkhane force soldiers who wrapped up a tour of duty in the Sahel leave their base on a transport plane in Gao, Mali, June 9, 2021.

Private military contractors also are helping advance Moscow’s agendas in Africa, Western observers say. These include fighters in the shadowy Wagner Group, allegedly controlled by Putin associate Yevgeny Prigozhin. Putin has denied any connection with the group.

“It’s not the state,” Putin said. “… It’s private business with private interests tied to extracting energy resources, including various resources like gold or precious stones.”

Those private fighters operate in parallel with the Kremlin, said Joseph Siegle, who directs research for the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, part of the U.S. Defense Department. He said they are part of Moscow’s tool kit to prop up weak African leaders in exchange for economic or other advantages.

“Every place we’ve seen Wagner deployed around the world and in Africa – be it Libya, Sudan, Mozambique, Central African Republic – it has been a destabilizing force,” Siegle said. “What Russia has been doing has been deploying mercenaries, disinformation, election interference, arms-for-resources deals, opaque contracts … aimed at capturing wider influence.”

That influence can protect Russia’s interests in international circles, Matusevich said, citing Russia’s 2014 seizure of the Crimean Peninsula.

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“We know that in the aftermath of the invasion of Ukraine, when Russia was sanctioned in the United Nations, a lot of African nations abstained from the vote,” he said. “So, they are gaining diplomatic support and alternative diplomatic blocs that they can count on.”

The United Nations is investigating reports of “grave” human rights abuses in the Central African Republic, allegedly committed by private military personnel. Meanwhile, Russian mercenaries are glorified as public protectors amid a coup attempt in the 2021 Russian film The Tourist. The movie, set in the Central African Republic, reportedly was funded by Putin ally Pregizhin.

Security concerns

In Mali, the leaders of a 2020 military coup brought in Russian military trainers – and what U.S. and French authorities say are Wagner mercenaries.

Russia Steadily Rebuilding Presence in Africa
FILE – Malians demonstrate against France and in support of Russia on the 60th anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Mali in 1960, in Bamako, Mali Sept. 22, 2020.

Some in Mali welcomed them by waving Russian flags, reflecting not only the country’s historic ties with the former USSR but also public impatience over continued insecurity, said Niagalé Bagayoko, a Paris-based political scientist who chairs the African Security Sector Network. The organization seeks security and justice reforms, and is among advocates for more protections for civilians in the Sahel and more transparency and accountability for military operations there.

“In 2013, the whole Malian population [was] enthusiastic when the French arrived … today they are rejecting their presence,” Bagayoko said.

“To be honest, I would not be very surprised if, in two years or so, the same could happen with the Russian presence,” she said.

African countries are showing a willingness to look beyond a single foreign partner in their efforts to find stability and security, she said. “There is the realization … that being only engaged with single actors …. is restricting the possibility for diplomacy, but also for military apparatus.”

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Russia is not the only foreign government trying to broaden influence in Africa, home to vast resources including a surging youth population.

The White House plans a second U.S.-Africa leadership summit later this year, following up on an initial Washington gathering in 2014 and the European Union has announced a new $172 billion investment in infrastructure, countering China’s Belt and Road initiative.

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AFRICA

Tanzanian opposition leader returns home after years in exile

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Tanzanian opposition leader and former presidential candidate Tundu Lissu returned home from years of exile in Belgium to a cheering crowd on Wednesday, after the government lifted a ban on political rallies.

A former lawmaker and a fierce critic of the government, Lissu initially left the country to seek treatment abroad after he was shot 16 times, mostly in his lower abdomen, in an attack by unknown gunmen in the administrative capital Dodoma in 2017.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan lifted a ban on political rallies this month, more than six years after her predecessor John Magufuli imposed the measure which caused frequent run-ins between opposition leaders and police.

The move was welcomed by the opposition and it prompted Lissu to announce he would end his exile.

He was welcomed by a large gathering of his supporters at the Julius Nyerere International Airport, before making his way by car to a rally in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.

Exile had been tough, he told the crowd which was waving his CHADEMA party flags, adding he would push for the enactment of a new constitution.

“Without a new constitution it will be difficult to change anything. Without it we won’t have a free and independent electoral commission,” he said.

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The current constitution vested too much power in the executive, he said, adding it was imperative to push for reforms.

“If you are tired of all these high taxes, high inflation of food… let us find a political solution, let us find a new constitution,” Lissu said.

Lissu, who had been arrested eight times in the year leading up to the gun attack he survived, returned to his homeland in 2020 to challenge Magufuli in an election.

However, shortly after the election he fled to the residence of the German ambassador after receiving death threats, and then left the country again.

Under the ban on rallies, which came into force in 2016, elected politicians were allowed to conduct rallies in their constituencies but other political rallies or protests were prohibited.

Magufuli died in March 2021 due to a heart disease that had plagued him for a decade. Upon ascending to the presidency, Hassan undertook some reforms, including lifting a ban on newspapers deemed critical and opening talks with opposition leaders.

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AFRICA

Nigeria: Federal Govt Sets Up 14-Man Committee to Manage Petroleum Products Supply, Distribution

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In a move to find lasting solution to the disruptions in the supply and distribution of petroleum products in the country, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the constitution of a 14-man Steering Committee on Petroleum Products Supply and Distribution management, which he will personally chair, the ministry of petroleum resources announced yesterday.

The Steering Committee, which has minister of state for Petroleum Resource, Chief Timipre Sylva as alternate chairman is expected to among other things to ensure transparent and efficient supply and distribution of petroleum products across the country.

Other terms of reference are to ensure national strategic stock management, visibility on the NNPC Limited refineries rehabilitation programme and ensure end-end tracking of petroleum products, especial PMS to ascertain daily national consumption and eliminate smuggling.

To further ensure sanity in the supply and distribution across the value chain, Sylva has directed the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) to ensure strict compliance with the government approved ex-depot and retail prices for PMS.

The minister has further directed the NMDPRA to ensure that NNPC Limited, which is the supplier of last resort meets the domestic supply obligation of PMS and other petroleum products in the country.

He further directed that the interests of the ordinary Nigerian is protected from price exploitation on other deregulated products such as AGO and DPK and LPG.

The federal government will not allow misguided elements to bring untold hardship upon the citizenry and attempt to discredit government’s efforts in consolidating the gains made thus far in the oil and gas sector of the economy.

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Other members of the committee are minister of Finance, permanent secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, National Economic Adviser to the President, director-general, Department of State Services (DSS), comptroller-general, Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Member (EFCC), and commandant-general, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC)

Others who made up the Steering Committee are Authority chief executive, Nigerian Midstream and Member Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), group chief executive officer, NNPC Limited, Special Advisor (Special Duties) to the HMSPR while the Technical Advisor (Midstream) to the HMSPR will serve as Secretary.

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AFRICA

Nigeria: SERAP Threatens to Drag Buhari to Court Over Attack On Peter Obi in Katsina

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari administration to promptly investigate the reported attacks on the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, or face a legal battle.

SERAP issued this warning to the government in a statement on Wednesday.

The statement said, “We’ll take legal action if the perpetrators are not immediately arrested and prosecuted.”

Meanwhile, the presidential campaign council of the Labour Party reported that the convoy of Obi was attacked two times in Katsina State on Monday.

A spokesperson for Obi/Datti Presidential Campaign Council Diran Onifade said Obi was attacked by hoodlums on his way to the airport after his rally in Katsina.

According to Onifade, some yet-to-be-identified hoodlums hurled heavy stones at the driver’s side of Obi’s vehicle on his way to the airport.

He said the stone caused heavy damage to the vehicle, though Obi and those in the car with him escaped without sustaining injuries.

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The spokesperson added that another set of hoodlums had earlier attacked the campaign convoy with stones in front of the Katsina stadium.

He said the attack left several vehicles, including that of the official stage crew damaged.

“Our candidate had met with women in a town hall and then held a hugely successful Rally at the Muhammad Dikko Stadium.

“However, on his way to the airport, hoodlums attacked the car our candidate was riding in with heavy stones from his driver’s side causing substantial damage to the vehicle.

“To the glory of God, Mr. Obi and other occupants of the car were unhurt.

“Subsequently another set of thugs also threw stones outside the stadium which damaged several vehicles including that of our official stage crew.

“The two incidents taken together make us suspect that the attacks may have been premeditated at the behest of desperate politicians who had been deluding themselves with the false claim that they had the northwest locked up but are now shocked by the show of force of the Obidient movement in the region.

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“While thanking the good people of Katsina who came out en masse to support our campaign yesterday, we call on security agencies to investigate this matter to forestall future occurrences,” the Campaign Council said.

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AFRICA

Nigeria: Inside the Multi-Million-Dollar Business Dispute Between Emefiele and ‘Brother-in-Law’

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John Omoile, who is demanding $36 million in damages, accuses Mr Emefiele of breach of contract, fraudulent inducement, negligent representation and fraud.

The governor of Nigeria’s central bank, Godwin Emefiele, is embroiled in a multi-million-dollar legal battle that has torn apart a once close family relationship. The legal tussle is separate from the troubles he faces over the handling of his job.

Mr Emefiele recently sneaked out and back to the country to avert the possibility of arrest by the State Security Service (SSS) who accuse him of financing terrorism.

He faces growing criticisms over the policies of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) often blamed for some of the nation’s economic woes and the scarcity of newly introduced currency notes just days before the deadline it set for phasing out the old notes.

As all of these happen, Mr Emefiele quietly grapples with a long-running feud which climaxed in a $36 million suit filed against him by a brother-in-law, John Omoile, in faraway Texas, the United States of America, in 2021.

The legal duel between Mr Emefiele and Mr Omoile is still on at the US District Court in the Northern Texas District.

Mr Omoile is demanding $36 million in damages for the losses he allegedly suffered as a result of the CBN governor’s alleged breach of contract, fraudulent inducement, negligent representation and fraud in course of their business partnerships.

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Apart from tearing apart a familial relationship, the feud has defied the larger family’s interventions, recorded a violation of a settlement agreement, and pitted lawyers engaged by both sides in the US against themselves.

The case has passed through at least five Texas law firms apart from the Nigerian lawyers keeping watch over the Nigerian end of the battle on behalf of the warring parties.

With the case just starting in court for the third time, Mr Omoile has indicated it will cost him $200,000 in attorney’s fees.

Mr Emefiele, too, has complained to the court that it will be extraordinarily burdensome for him to defend himself in the US, where he does not reside.

He has urged the court to dismiss the suit and hold that Nigeria is the appropriate jurisdiction to pursue the case, for reasons including the fact that the settlement agreement which covered all the issues between him and Mr Omoile was signed in Nigeria in 2014.

Background: Emefiele Vs Omoile

Mr Emefiele’s wife, Margaret, and John Omoile, a dual citizen of Nigeria and the US, are cousins raised in their teenage years by an aunt in Agbor, Delta State, South-south Nigeria, according to documents filed in court.

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The bond between them was so strong that they regarded each other as siblings. When Margaret got married to Mr Emefiele, the CBN governor had no difficulty regarding Mr Omoile as his brother-in-law.

Court documents described in compelling detail the rosy past of their family relationship.

Mr Emefiele visited and stayed with Mr Omoile’s family in Texas, US, during some of his vacations. He described how he lavished Mr Omoile with gifts, money, and business opportunities over the years.

Also remembering their once affectionate family relationship, Mr Omoile said of how they “shared homes, spent holidays and family gatherings together, have been close family friends, and as detailed below, became business partners/joint venturers.”

Mr Omoile, on different occasions, helped the Emefieles to buy houses in his neighbourhood in Coppell, Texas.

Drawing from the familial bond, mutual trust and goodwill they had built in each other for decades, their rapport flourished and grew into a business partnership in 2004.

They sent funds to each other for personal investments and joint ventures in Nigeria and in the US.

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But in the unsavoury turn of events, the previously trusted relatives now accuse each other of fraud, greed, deception, and extortion. The CBN governor, who vehemently denied wrongdoing, said the suit currently “is simply another attempt to extort $36 million” from him.

Zenith Bank stock investments

In 2004, Mr Omoile said he paid Mr Emefiele $50,000 for the purchase of an Initial Public Offering (IPO) investment in Zenith Bank in Nigeria, where Mr Emefiele was then an official.

In 2007, Mr Omoile received 200,000 additional shares from Mr Emefiele as a gift.

Mr Emefiele became the managing director of Zenith Bank in 2010 and the governor of the CBN in 2014.

Mr Omoile said he often raised questions but has yet to get an answer about the wide range of issues, including dividends issued, but not paid, the prices at which certain stock shares were supposedly acquired for him, “and the prices at which Defendant Emefiele actually acquired the shares.”

He accused Mr Emefile of continuing to “use his position as former Managing Director and current Governor of the Bank of Nigeria to actively prevent Plaintiff Omoile from getting a full and accurate accounting for his shares.”

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Mr Emefiele and a contentious oil and gas partnership

In a related development, Mr Omoile recalled that in 2007, he, Mr Emefiele and one Pius Oyibo signed a tripartite agreement in Coppell, Texas, to form an oil and gas company on 7 December 2007. The proposed firm, called Noka Energy Nigeria Limited, was to buy, sell and transport petroleum products in Nigeria.

Mr Omoile recalled that he made several trips and several contacts on behalf of the partnership to Houston, the Caribbean, and Nigeria to meet with oil and gas executives.

He recalled Mr Emefiele’s investment into the venture to include $200,000 sent to him for the purchase of 10 truck heads from LKQ in Houston for the partnership.

He said he bought the truck heads, the number not specified, and shipped them to Nigeria, for the business.

He said he would later discover that Mr Emefiele did not incorporate Noka Energy Nigeria Limited as agreed, but instead formed Dummies Oil and Gas for himself.

Real estate business

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In 2006, while the other business discussions between them were going on, they formed a partnership called Rosewood Malcom LLC which would buy, sell and develop real estate properties in the US.

The business plan, according to Mr Omoile, included him taking mortgages in his name for the benefit of the joint venture.

He said profit and loss were to be shared equally between the partners, but that that was not the case eventually.

He said once the joint venture started, profits were shared, however, losses were left for him to bear.

According to him, the venture acquired a property at 7026 W. 43rd Street, Houston Texas, for $141,000.

He also said he took a personal mortgage in his name for $167,000 from Wachovia Bank.

He recalled that as the properties’ market value crashed during the US economic meltdown between 2008 and 2009, he continued to be responsible for the substantial financial burden of mortgage servicing without any help or assistance from Mr Emefiele.

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He added that he purchased a property in 2008 in Coppell with $360,000 sent by Mr Emefiele.

But he said he was bearing the tax liabilities on the properties from his personal business accounts. According to him, the total personal loss he incurred for the real estate partnership and out-of-pocket expenses meant to be paid by Mr Emefiele was at least $500,000.

Mr Emefiele offers defence

Mr Emefiele has yet to formally file a defence to the suit, but his side of the story can be gleaned from the troves of documents he attached as exhibits to his preliminary court filings.

In a letter dated 17 January 2022, Mr Emefiele’s lawyer, Nitor Egbarin, denied the allegations raised in previous ‘legal demand’ letters which Mr Omoile’s lawyer, Donald Kaiser Jr, sent directly to the CBN governor.

In the strongly-worded letter, Mr Egbarin said his client was not involved in the management of Mr Omoile’s Zenith Bank’s shares and could not have blocked access to the records of the investments.

He said the fact that Mr Omoile used the CBN governor’s business address as his contact address for receiving his brokerage account statement “is not a proof that my client had legal responsibility for managing John’s money in the brokerage account.”

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He said his client is no longer the Managing director of Zenith Bank and is not Mr Omoile’s stockbroker.

“Your legal demand must be directed at John to provide you with his Zenith Bank accounts which he opened in Agbor and in Lagos. Proceeds from John’s brokerage account are deposited into John’s bank accounts in Lagos and in Agbor,” the letter read in part.

Also denying his client’s alleged breach of financial obligation to their real estate venture, Mr Egbarin went down memory lane, highlighting Mr Emefiele’s investments in the venture and financial assistance he had rendered to Mr Omoile.

He recalled that in 2006, Mr Omoile took out $200,000, using a pre-signed cheque, from Mr Emefiele’s bank account, and never accounted for the money meant to be used for estate development in Houston.

He said instead of using the money to develop the Houston property, Mr Omoile and his wife, on 17 January 2007, took out a $167,650 construction mortgage with Wachovia Mortgage.

He also recalled Mr Emefiele sent another $40,000 to Mr Omoile in 2009 for the purchase of a second real estate property on the plot next to the first property in Houston.

Tired of the frustrations from the investments, Mr Emefiele, according to his lawyer, decided to stop providing financial support to Mr Omoile in 2012.

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But, the lawyer said, with a settlement agreement the brothers-in-law singed on 26 April 2014, Mr Emefiele agreed to relinquish all his rights in the two properties in Houston to Mr Omoile valued at over $207,650.

He said Mr Emefiele also paid off the Wachovia Mortgage balance of about $155,000.

He said the CBN governor also sent $250,000 requested by Mr Omoile to clear unpaid income tax in 2020.

He said, from 2006 to 2020, Mr Omoile had received at least $645,000 in cash in financial support from Mr Emefiele.

But he did not address the issue of the failed oil and gas business plan.

‘No more free food’

Mr Egbarin’s letter went beyond defending his client. It was an unsparing frenzied personal attack on Mr Omoile and his lawyer.

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The letter describes Mr Emefiele as “a wealthy banker” and former chief executive officer of “the largest bank in Nigeria and West Africa” who has been “a generous donor, benefactor and breadwinner” to Mr Omoile over the years.

The CBN governor, according to the letter, “took care of John (Mr Omoile) as one would do of a brother-in-law,” providing “financial support to John and his wife and his children over the years.”

In a rather demeaning manner highlighting how much the relationship between the in-laws has soured, Mr Egbarin said his client was no longer prepared to continue to feed Mr Omoile. “You should advise John that my client does not wish to continue to feed him. John should pursue other means to make a living rather than continue to shakedown my client for more financial support.”

Turning on Mr Kaiser, Mr Egbarin accused him of incompetence and of having little understanding of the area of law he was handling for Mr Omoile.

He also accused the lawyer of making false claims about Mr Emefiele and of unethical practice by bypassing him to write directly to the CBN governor.

He said Mr Emefiele, on becoming the CBN governor, became a target for a lawsuit in Nigeria engaged by Mr Omoile for “harassment demanding monies for matters that had been settled in the 2014 Settlement Agreement.”

He said the letters of demand sent severally to Mr Emefiele to account for Mr Omoile’s shares is “an attempt to shakedown/extort my client for money.”

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He ended the letter with a devastating salvo to Mr Omoile. “Finally, there is still nothing more my client will do for John. The gravy train has come to a stop.”

Members of the larger family called a series of peace meetings attended by the brothers-in-law to settle their disputes.

The meetings were held in Nigeria. Some of the meetings were also held via Zoom.

They finally reached an agreement in 2014.

With the hope of getting “relief from the mounting debts” resulting from the real estate losses since 2007, Mr Omile said, he signed the agreement with Mr Emefiele on 26 April 2014.

But both sides have accused each other of violating the agreements.

The family also again called a series of Zoom meetings to resolve the disputes in April 2020.

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But in what would be the last straw, according to Mr Omoile, Mr Emefiele declared through his wife, Margaret, who represented him at one of the Zoom meetings, that there was never an intention to form and operate a joint oil and gas firm.

Mr Omoile said he realised then that he had been “induced with false statements and promises” to enter into a partnership with Mr Emefiele. He also said he realised that Mr Emefiele “never intended to follow through with his past promises”.

Unending Legal battle: Emefiele Vs Omoile

With settlement talks over, Mr Omoile took the decision to sue Mr Emefiele after the Zoom meetings in 2020.

In July 2021, he hired a Texas attorney, Kenneth Onyenah, who filed the suit claiming economic and actual damages against Mr Emefiele for the losses he allegedly incurred as a result of the CBN governor’s alleged failure to fulfil his financial obligations to him and their joint ventures.

He filed the suit at the US District Court of the Northern District of Texas.

But shortly after the filing, the lawyer withdrew the suit.

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Mr Omoile said the lawyer withdrew the suit without prior communication or his authority in August 2021.

He added that the lawyer took the step after he was threatened by Mr Emefiele’s lawyer, Mr Egbarin. But Mr Egbarin said the lawyer withdrew the case after realising it had no merit.

Later in 2021, Mr Omoile hired Donald Kaiser Jr. to reopen the case.

On 12 May 2022, Mr Kaiser refiled the suit at the 68th Judicial District Court in Dallas County, Texas.

But following Mr Emefiele’s objection, the suit was removed from the state court “on the basis of diversity jurisdiction” to a federal court, the US District Court of the Northern District of Texas.

A new lawyer named Ewomazino Magbegor is now representing Mr Emefiele following the refiling of the case.

Mr Magbebor is the second lawyer known on record to have defended the CBN governor in the matter in the US. From Mr Egbarin’s letter, the plaintiff, Mr Omoile, has engaged at least three lawyers in respect of the case.

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Mr Emefiele’s new lawyer, in November 2022, filed an application to challenge the service of the suit on the CBN governor through substituted means. He also sought the dismissal of the suit on the grounds that the court lacked jurisdiction on the matter.

The court’s decision on the application will determine the future of the case.

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