$14m Debt: Court to Hear Sahara Group, Ecobank Settlement Report


By Davidson Iriekpen

Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court in Lagos, has adjourned till August 12 for report of settlement in a $14million debt lawsuit between Sahara Group Limited and Ecobank Nigeria Limited.

Justice Aikawa adjourned the case at the instance of counsel for Sahara Group Limited and Ecobank Nigeria Limited, Messrs Bode Olanipekun and Mr. Kunle Ogunba, respectively.

The lawyers had on July 3 told the judge of the intention of their clients to resolve the legal dispute amicably out of court.

It was the third time since July 3 that the judge will be adjourning the matter in anticipation of an amicable settlement between the oil firm and the bank.

The judge had earlier adjourned till July 10 and subsequently July 23 at the request of the parties to hold settlement talks.

Sahara Energy Resources Limited, Isle of Man, and Sahara Group Limited had dragged Ecobank to court seeking an order to stop the bank from carrying out a “unilateral review of interest rates” on loans obtained by the oil firms.

But Ecobank filed a counter-claim, insisting that it “reserves the right to review its interest rates from time to time in line with prevailing market conditions.”

The bank claimed that based on computation, Sahara Energy Resources Limited and Sahara Group Limited were indebted to it in the sum of $14,069458.30 “being the principal sum and interest due to the counter-claimant as of 21st August, 2019.”

However, Sahara Group Limited urged the court to dismiss Ecobank’s counter-claim and all the processes filed by the bank for being incompetent.