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Court awarded damages after UBA breached data privacy of customer

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Most Nigerians are oblivious of their rights to privacy and right to data protection; hence data collectors/administrators take advantage of data entrusted to them, thereby violating their fundamental rights.

The protection of a customer’s personal information from unauthorized use is a right enshrined under section 37 of the 1999 constitution.

In a recent judgment between Mr. Chiebuka Nworah and UBA, the court held that the unauthorized opening of a second USD domiciliary account without the consent of the applicant constituted a breach of his right to the protection of his personal data by the Respondent.

Facts of the case 

An applicant, Mr. Chiebuka Nworah, is a customer of UBA with an account domiciled at bank’s Ukpor branch in Anambra state,  was expecting the sum of $450 to be paid into his domiciliary account by one Philip Onuoha, whom he had earlier sent his account details to.

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However, Mr. Onuoha was called to enquire if he had deposited the money and was told that the money had already been sent to his account.

He waited but did not receive any alert of the said money; however, he was later notified by the bank that a new domiciliary account with account number 2190320230 had been opened in his name and that the money was lodged in the new account.

Consequently, he went to the bank’s Marina, Lagos Head office, and it was confirmed to him that indeed the new Domiciliary account was opened in his name with the $450 lodged.

He enquired from the bank as to why it opened a domiciliary account in his name without his consent but was not convinced by the bank’s explanation.

Upon insisting, the bank told him that the new account was opened in compliance with the CBN circular of 5/3/2021 regarding the “Naira 4 Dollar Scheme” and that banks were asked to set up domiciliary accounts for customers who did not have domiciliary accounts.

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Surprised at the explanation of the bank as an active domiciliary account holder that was credited the sum of $250 on December 21, 2020, he averred that he was neither informed of the need to open a second domiciliary account for him nor his consent sought in opening the new account.

He told the court that his personal details, which he provided to the bank while setting up his first domiciliary account, was used by the bank to create a second account without his consent unilaterally.

According to him, he wrote two letters to the bank dated April 26, 2021, and June 30, 2021, asking the bank to transfer the $450 to his first account and close the second account opened without his notice.

However, the bank allegedly refused to accede, and the second account remained active and operative, which made him approach the court on October 21. 2021 seeking to enforce his fundamental human rights allegedly violated by the Respondent.

He said the action of the Respondent (the Bank) compromised his personal data, thereby exposing him to data breaches and potential misuse of the new account created without his knowledge.

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Chukwwunonso Azih, His Counsel, argued that the failure of a data controller to obtain the consent of data subjects as stated under the NDPR 2019 means that they have contravened the provision of the NDPR and that such data controllers will be liable to the concerned data subject.

He also submitted that the unauthorized opening of a second USD domiciliary account without the Applicant’s consent constitutes a breach of his right to the protection of his personal data by the Respondent.

The applicant contended that he knew of the fact that the CBN circular of March 5, 2021, on the “Naira 4 Dollar Scheme” did not in any way empower Deposit Money Banks or International Money Transfer Operators to arbitrarily open accounts for customers to take advantage of the Scheme.

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Mr. Azih submitted that the right to privacy of data is a data protection right that is subsumed in the right to privacy guaranteed under section 37 of the constitution, which embodies the protection of data privacy.

He submitted that the applicant’s information was supplied to the respondent solely for the purpose of all transactions that arise from the use of the first domiciliary account and that his personal information is subject to data protection laws.

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He argued that the same was used in a manner inconsistent with the purpose for which it was supplied and without the consent of the applicant, thereby constituting a breach of the Applicant’s right to privacy.

He asked the court to determine “whether the Respondent’s action constitutes an infringement of the Applicant’s fundamental rights provided in Section 37 of the constitution”.

Reliefs sought by the Applicant

  • (1) A Declaration that the Respondent violated the data privacy right of the Applicant as enshrined in Section 37 of the Constitution by unilaterally opening a new domiciliary account number 2190320230 without the consent of the Applicant.
  • (ii) A Declaration that as a data controller, the Respondent’s failure to obtain the Applicant’s consent before processing his data, that is, by unilaterally opening a new domiciliary account number 2190320230, is a breach of the provisions of the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation 2019 (NDPR), as issued by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA)
  • (iii) A Declaration that as a financial institution, the Respondent’s failure to protect the privacy and confidentiality of the Applicant’s information, and the act of imposing a second domiciliary account number with the number:2190320230 on the Applicant, is a violation of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Consumer Protection Regulation (“the CBN Regulation”), as issued by the Consumer Protection Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria in a circular dated December 20, 2019.
  • (iv) An Order directing the said sum of Four Hundred and Fifty United States Dollars (US$450) to be paid into the Applicant’s first domiciliary account number 3002971242 and for the immediate closure of the domiciliary account number opened without the consent of the Applicant.
  • (V) An Order awarding the sum of Twenty Million Naira (20,000,000) as damages against the Respondent for violating the Applicant’s fundamental and data privacy rights.
  • (vi) An Order awarding the sum of Two Million Naira (N2,000,000) against the Respondent as the cost of this action.
  • (vii) And for such further or other Orders as the Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstance.

The Respondent’s case

  • The Respondent is a limited liability company registered under the Companies and Allied Matters Act and licensed by the apex bank to carry out banking transactions in Nigeria.
  • On November 16, 2021, it wrote a letter to the applicant’s counsel explaining that the second account was opened due to a system glitch and that the said account had been closed and his money moved to the existing account.
  • The Respondent did not deny or contradict the Applicant’s claims; however, its lawyer, H.B William submitted that the name under which the respondent was sued is unknown to law.
  • The Counsel argued that the Bank sued by the Applicant is not a juristic person and that having a non-juristic person as a party is not a misnomer and that same cannot be amended.
  • Relying on a plethora of cases, He urged the Court to therefore strike out this suit because the suffix “Plc” was not inserted in the name of the Respondent.

What the judge ruled

After listening to arguments and submissions from both parties in the suit, Justice Akintayo Aluko ruled this;

“I have examined the affidavit evidence and documentary exhibits of the Applicant. The Applicant seems clearly to have made a good case against the Respondent.

“The Applicant obviously seems to be on firm ground both by the established facts in support of his claims and in law as contained in his counsel’s submission.

“It is already established that the second domiciliary account was unsolicited, unapproved and opened by the Respondent without the requisite authority and consent of the Applicant.

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“It is established that the Respondent, as a financial institution in control of the Applicant’s data, intruded into the personal data and information of the customer unilaterally without his consent, knowledge, and approval, processed the unsolicited second domiciliary account, and unlawfully transferred or intercepted the Applicant’s fund from his lawful account into the illegal account without his consent.

“The action of the Respondent has no justification in law, and same constitutes a violation of the Applicant’s right to privacy according to section 37 of the Constitution.”

On the objection of the Respondent against the suit on the ground that the Applicant sued a non-juristic person, the judge said, “I hold the considered view that the failure of the Applicant to add the suffix “Plc” to the name of the Respondent is a mere misnomer which cannot vitiate the proceedings.

He held that “The Bank is the party being sued as the Respondent in this suit and accordingly the suffix “Plc” is ordered to be added to the name of the Respondent.”

The judge noted that The Bank did not controvert or deny the Applicant’s claims by filing a counter-affidavit.

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He said “The law is settled that where the adverse party does not deny depositions on material facts in an affidavit in support of an application by filing a counter-affidavit, such facts not denied in the affidavit in support of the application remain the correct position and the court can act on them if they are not moonshine.

“Those facts are deemed admitted by the Respondent and require no further proof.

“I hold the considered view that, by its action and act of using the personal data and information of the Applicant at its disposal to open the unsolicited second domiciliary account in the name of the Applicant without his knowledge, approval, and consent, the Respondent has breached his right to privacy which has to do with his right to decide, to choose, plan or desire the Second domiciliary account.

“Consequently, reliefs 1 and 4 are hereby granted. With respect to relief 5, I award the sum of N2 million Naira (two million Naira) and N500,000 (five hundred thousand naira) with respect to relief 6 in favor of the Applicant against the Respondent as compensation for the unlawful violation of his fundamental rights and cost of litigation incurred by the Applicant respectively.

“I award the sum of One Hundred Thousand Naira (N100,000) only as cost of action in favor of the Applicant against the respondent.”

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The basis for the judgment

On the order to add “plc” to The Bank, the judge said, “The Respondent knew well that it is being described and referred to in the proceedings, and so there is no case of mistaken identity. The respondent even went to the extent of briefing a counsel who wrote a letter dated November 16, 2021.”

The judge further stated, “let me state emphatically here that when both parties are quite familiar with the identity envisaged in a writ of summons and could not have been misled or have any real doubt or misgiving as to the identity of the person suing or being sued, then there can be no problem of mistaken identity to justify a striking out of the action.

“A misnomer that will vitiate the proceedings would be such that it will cause reasonable doubt as to the identity of the person intending to be sued.”

Speaking further, he said, “By the provisions of order 9 rule 14 (2) of the extant Civil Procedure Rules of this Court, which becomes applicable by the provision of Order XV rule 4 of the FREP Rules, 2009, this court is empowered to at any stage of the proceedings either upon or without the application of either party and on such terms as may appear just order that the name of any party improperly joined be struck out and that the name of any party who ought to have been joined or whose presence before the court is necessary to effectually and completely adjudicate upon and settle the question involved in the proceedings, be added.

“Coming from the foregoing, I hold the view that the objection of the Respondent against the suit on the ground of suing a nonjuristic person is misplaced and overruled.”

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In interpreting the term “privacy of citizens” as provided in Section 37 of the Constitution, the judge said, “Every provision of the constitution was made to realize a particular object. Therefore it cannot be presumed that any clause in the constitution is intended to be without effect…where the constitution states a word or phrase generally or without any limiting words, it is obvious that it intends that the word or phrase should have general meaning and application, unless other provisions in the constitution state or suggest the contrary.

“If there are no other provisions of the constitution requiring or suggesting the contrary, the Court must apply the word or phrase generally and will have no power to restrict its application to specific situations. For the above reasons,

“I interpret the phrase “privacy of Citizens” generally, liberally, and expansively to include privacy of citizen’s body, life, person, thought, belief, conscience, feelings, views, decisions (including his plans and choices), desires, health, relationships, character, material possessions, family life, activities etcetera.”

On the violation of the applicant’s right, the judge stated, “Apart from the failure of the Respondent to attach the statement of account and banking documents showing that indeed the Applicant’s funds have been transferred or moved to his legal account and that the illegal account has been closed, The content of the letter of the Respondent’s counsel dated November 16, 2021, is a further confirmation establishing the bank’s violation of the Applicant’s right to privacy provided in Section 37 of the Constitution. I agree with the Applicant that he is entitled to compensation for damages for the Respondent’s wrongful, unjustified, unlawful, and unwarranted breach and infraction of his constitutional right to privacy.”

“To this end, I hold that the lone issue in this Judgment is resolved in favour of the Applicant against the Respondent. There is merit in the case of the Applicant,” the judge ruled.

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What you should know

  • Section 37 of the 1999 constitution which is under Chapter IV (Fundamental Rights), speaks on the Right to private and family life of the Nigerian people.
  • The Section provides that, “The privacy of citizens, their homes, correspondence, telephone conversations, and telegraphic communications is hereby guaranteed and protected.”
  • On January 25, 2019, the National Information Development Technology Agency (NITDA) issued a regulation titled “Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR 2019),” which is the Act that particularly addresses data protection and privacy in Nigeria.
  • The NDPR 2019 is a data protection regulation aimed at safeguarding the rights of natural persons to data privacy which fosters safe-conductor transactions involving the exchange of Personal Data, prevents manipulation of Personal Data, and it also ensures that Nigerian businesses remain competitive in international trade.
  • The NDPR 2019 emphasized and strengthened the provision of section 37 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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Zenith Bank Achieves Historic Milestones in 2023 With Stellar Triple-digit Topline and Bottom-line Growth

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Zenith Bank Plc has announced its audited results for the year ended December 31, 2023, achieving a remarkable triple-digit growth of 125% in gross earnings from NGN945.6 billion reported in 2022 to NGN2.132 trillion in 2023.

According to the audited financial results for the 2023 financial year presented to the Nigerian Exchange (NGX), this impressive triple-digit growth in gross earnings resulted in a Year-on-Year (YoY) increase of 180% in Profit Before Tax (PBT) from NGN284.7 billion in 2022 to NGN796 billion in 2023. Profit After Tax (PAT) also recorded triple-digit growth of 202% from NGN223.9 billion to NGN676.9 billion in the period ended December 31, 2023.

The increase in gross earnings is primarily due to growth in interest and non-interest income. Interest income increased by 112% from NGN540 billion in 2022 to NGN1.1 trillion in 2023. Non-interest income grew by 141% from NGN381 billion to NGN918.9 billion in the same period.

The increase in interest income is attributed to the growth in the size of risk assets and their effective repricing, alongside the rise in the yield of other interest-bearing instruments over the year. Growth in non-interest income was driven by significant trading gains and an increase in gains from the revaluation of foreign currencies.

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The cost of funds grew from 1.9% in 2022 to 3.0% in 2023 due to the high interest rate environment while interest expense increased by 135% from NGN173.5 billion in 2022 to NGN408.5 billion in 2023. Notwithstanding the 32% growth in operating expenses in 2023, the Group’s cost-to-income ratio improved significantly from 54.4% in 2022 to 36.1% in 2023 due to improved top-line performance.

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Return on Average Equity (ROAE) increased by 118% from 16.8% in 2022 to 36.6% in 2023, underpinned by improved gross earnings, as the Group sought to deliver better shareholder returns. Return on Average Assets (ROAA) also grew by 95% from 2.1% to 4.1% in the same period.

The Group has continued to deepen its market leadership in key corporate and retail deposit segments as customer deposits increased by 69% from NGN9.0 trillion to NGN15.2 trillion in 2023. Its retail drive continues to yield dividends as retail deposits now constitute 46% of total deposits (compared to 44% in 2022) and grew by 77% from NGN3.97 trillion in 2022 to NGN7.04 trillion in 2023, also reinforcing increased customer confidence in the Zenith brand.

Total assets increased by 66% from NGN12.3 trillion in 2022 to NGN20.4 trillion in 2023, largely due to growth in total deposits and the revaluation of foreign currency deposits. Gross loans grew by 71% from NGN4.1 trillion in 2022 to NGN7.1 trillion in 2023 due to the revaluation of foreign currency loans and the growth in local currency risk assets.

As a result of the disciplined and diligent approach to risk assets creation and management, the loan growth did not significantly impact the Non-Performing Loans (NPL) ratio, which increased marginally from 4.3% to 4.4% despite the heightened risk environment and challenging operating environment, an attestation to the Group’s resilience despite headwinds and a challenging macroeconomic environment. Also, the prudential ratios remain within regulatory thresholds, with the Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) and liquidity ratio at 21.7% and 71.0%, respectively, at the close of 2023.

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As a demonstration of its commitment to shareholders, the bank has announced a proposed final dividend payout of NGN3.50 per share, bringing the total dividend to NGN4.00 per share.

In 2024, the Group will complete the transition to a holding company structure, which is anticipated to position it advantageously for exploring emerging opportunities in the Fintech space while bolstering its digital and retail banking initiatives. Furthermore, the Group is undertaking urgent necessary actions to meet the new minimum NGN500 billion equity capital requirement to maintain its international authorisation within the timeframe stipulated by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

This will strengthen its presence in key markets to continue positioning for sustainable growth and value addition for stakeholders.
Zenith Bank’s track record of excellent performance has continued to earn the brand numerous awards, including being recognised as Best Bank in Nigeria, for the fourth time in five years, from 2020 to 2022 and in 2024, in the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards; the Best Bank for Digital Solutions in Nigeria in the Euromoney Awards 2023, being listed in the World Finance Top 100 Global Companies in 2023; being recognised as the Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital, for the 14th consecutive year, in the 2023 Top 1000 World Banks Ranking published by The Banker Magazine; Best Commercial Bank, Nigeria, for three consecutive years from 2021 to 2023, in the World Finance Banking Awards; Best Corporate Governance Bank, Nigeria in the World Finance Corporate Governance Awards 2022 and 2023; Bank of the Year (Nigeria) in The Banker’s Bank of the Year Awards 2020 and 2022; Best in Corporate Governance’ Financial Services’ Africa, for four successive years from 2020 to 2023, by the Ethical Boardroom; Most Sustainable Bank, Nigeria in the International Banker 2023 Banking Awards; Best Commercial Bank, Nigeria and Best Innovation in Retail Banking, Nigeria in the International Banker 2022 Banking Awards.

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Also, the bank emerged as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria in the Banker Magazine Top 500 Banking Brands 2020 and 2021; Bank of the Year 2023 and Retail Bank of the Year for three consecutive years from 2020 to 2022, at the BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards. Similarly, Zenith Bank was named Bank of the Decade (People’s Choice) at the ThisDay Awards 2020, Bank of the Year 2021 by Champion Newspaper, Bank of the Year 2022 by New Telegraph Newspaper, and Most Responsible Organisation in Africa 2021 by SERAS Awards.

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Advertising Industry Stakeholders Converge To Chart Course On Responsible Advertising At ASP Forum

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Responsible advertising has become a critical issue in the marketing communication industry, as businesses and consumers alike grapple with the impact of unethical practices. While some markets have experienced growth through the adoption of responsible advertising strategies, others have faced significant declines due to a lack of adherence to industry standards and regulations.

The advertising industry in Nigeria is no stranger to these challenges, with growing concerns over the proliferation of misleading advertisements, the lack of proper adherence to vetting and approval processes, and the need for greater accountability and transparency.

It is against this backdrop that the Advertising Standards Panel (ASP), a statutory organ of the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON), has convened a high-level Stakeholders’ Forum to address these pressing issues.
Themed “Promoting Responsible Advertising in Nigeria,” the forum, scheduled for Thursday, April 25, 2024, at the Sheba Event Centre in Ikeja, Lagos.

It aims to bring together industry stakeholders, including Advertising Sectoral Groups, Digital Space Owners and Providers, Capital Market Operators, Trado-Medicals, Real Estate Practitioners, Content Creators, Skit Makers, Hospitals, and Educational Institutions, among others.
It is also expected to provide a platform for stakeholders to discuss critical issues surrounding ethical advertising practices, penalties for engaging in unwholesome advertising activities, and the challenges and benefits of complying with the law.

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This was made known in a press statement signed by Martha Ugbomma Onyebuchi, Director of Regulations at ARCON, copying its Director-General, Dr. Olalekan Fadolapo. She stated, “The Advertising Standards Panel recognizes the importance of fostering responsible advertising practices in Nigeria. This Stakeholders’ Forum is an opportunity for industry players to come together, share insights, and collectively work towards upholding the highest standards in the marketing communication sector.”

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One of the key topics to be addressed at the forum is the issue of exposing advertisements without presenting the materials for statutory vetting and approval by the Advertising Standards Panel. The event will also delve into the penalties for such violations, as well as the overall benefits of obeying the law.

She added that attendance is free, and industry professionals are encouraged to register and participate in the important event.
“We believe that by bringing together the various stakeholders, we can foster open dialogue, address challenges, and ultimately promote responsible advertising practices that benefit both businesses and consumers in Nigeria,” Onyebuchi concluded.

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Diesel price drops as Dangote sells N1,225/litre, supplies petrol May

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The pump price of Automotive Gas Oil, popularly called diesel, has dropped from about N1,700/litre which it sold for a few weeks ago, to around N1,350/litre in some locations across the country following the sale of the commodity by the Dangote Petroleum Refinery.

It was gathered on Tuesday that the $20bn worth refinery started pumping out diesel to the domestic market last Wednesday.

It sold a minimum of one million litres to each registered oil marketer that got the product from the plant since it commenced diesel sale.

Officials of the multi-billion dollar plant and oil dealers confirmed that the product was dispensed to marketers at between N1,225/litre and N1,300/litre depending on the volume of purchase.

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This came as it was also gathered that the refinery would start releasing Premium Motor Spirit to the domestic market in May this year.

“They started pumping out diesel to marketers since last week. They also promised to sell aviation fuel soon. Some of my members confirmed this to me after making the purchase,” the National President, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Abubakar Maigandi, told one of our correspondents.

He added, “So some of our marketers have started getting the product, but as an association we have not got the product yet, because we want to get the actual rate that it will be sold to us when we buy in bulk. However, they have started selling diesel because some of our marketers have started buying.

N1,225/litre

“They are selling at N1,225/litre and the minimum volume they are giving is one million litres per marketer. Also, they assured us that they will release more products, but for now this (diesel) is what they are starting with. So we are expecting them to release PMS anytime from now.”

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Maigandi said the move by Dangote would definitely lead to a crash in diesel price, as the commodity rose to a high of about N1,700/litre recently.

“The price of diesel is going to fall because of the release of products from Dangote refinery. In fact, it is already coming down in Lagos,” Maigandi stated.

Another oil marketer, who is the Chief Executive, AF Ralph Oil and Gas Ventures, Dr Ralph Arokoyo, confirmed that the refinery had started the sale of diesel to dealers, adding that the plant started dispensing the product last Wednesday.

Asked if Dangote refinery had started supplying diesel to the market, Arokoyo replied, “Yes they have started. They started diesel sales last Wednesday and they have sold to many marketers including members of IPMAN and MEMAN (Major Energy Marketers Association of Nigeria), as well as other private registered independent dealers.”

Price drops

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When also asked about the minimum volume being sold to dealers and at what rate, Arokoyo said, “One million litres is the minimum and the rate is okay considering what other major tank farms are selling, which is why people are trooping to the refinery now.

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“The price ranges between N1,250/litre and N1,300/litre depending on the volume you are buying. This is good news for Nigerians because in the last few weeks the price of diesel hovered between N1,600 and N1,700/litre.

“But in many locations across the federation, the prices are beginning to drop due to the emergence of products from that refinery and as the products are being dispatched since last Wednesday. Now you can get AGO (diesel) in some stations at N1,400/litre.

“Some are even doing N1,350/litre now and I want to believe that in a couple of weeks to come, we should see more reduction in the price of the product as more products from the plant hit the market and spread very well across the country.”

On whether the company informed dealers when it would start releasing petrol into the market, Arokoyo replied in the affirmative.

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“They (Dangote refinery) said it (petrol) will be available between now and May, which is next month. We are optimistic about this, because PMS is largely used by Nigerians,” the oil marketer stated.

A senior official at Dangote refinery confirmed the sale of diesel to marketers, as the source noted that Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, would soon be released to the market.

“The product (diesel) is everywhere and they (marketers) are accessing it with ease. The product has been on sale to marketers since last week and the transactions have been better.

“The price of the product in various locations of the country will come down, and it is already coming down in many parts of Lagos since we started releasing products to marketers,” the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to lack of authorisation to speak on the matter, stated.

The Dangote refinery has faced a series of hurdles as it strives to release refined products into the market after it was officially inaugurated by former President Muhammadu Buhari in May last year.

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Recall that on February 8, 2024, The PUNCH reported that indications emerged that lingering regulatory approvals stalled Dangote Petrochemical Refinery’s plan to release aviation fuel (Jet A1) and diesel for sale in the Nigerian market in January.

The report had stated that weeks after the January 31 timeline set by the management of Africa’s largest refinery to begin sale of its petroleum product in the local market, the refinery was still battling to cross the hurdles of the several layers of regulatory approvals.

It stated that the development came after the refinery began the production of refined petroleum products at the expansive facility.

On January 12, 2024, Dangote refinery announced that it had commenced the production of Automotive Gas Oil, popularly called diesel, and aviation fuel or JetA1.

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Aliko Dangote, in a statement issued by his firm at the time, thanked President Bola Tinubu for his support, encouragement, and thoughtful advice towards the actualisation of the project.

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Dangote also thanked the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, NMDPRA and Nigerians for their support and belief in the historic project, as he revealed that the facility would pump out diesel and aviation fuel in January, subject to regulatory approvals.

He said, “We thank President Bola Tinubu for his support and for making our dream come true. This production, as witnessed today, would not have been possible without his visionary leadership and prompt attention to details.

“His intervention at various stages cleared all impediments thereby accelerating the actualisation of the project. We also thank the NNPC, NUPRC and NMDPRA for their support. These organisations have been our dependable partners in this historic journey.

“We also thank Nigerians for their belief and support in this project. We have started the production of diesel and aviation fuel, and the products will be in the market within this month once we receive regulatory approvals.”

The refinery, Africa’s largest with a nameplate capacity of 650,000 barrels per day, was built on a peninsula on the outskirts of the commercial capital Lagos.

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Nigeria has for years relied on expensive imports for nearly all the fuel it consumes but the $20bn refinery is set to turn it into a net exporter of fuel to other West African countries, in a huge potential shift of power and profit dynamics in the industry.

Dangote exports products

The commencement of diesel sale in Nigeria by the plant is not actually its first refined products sale, as TheHeute reported in February that the refinery issued tenders to sell two fuel cargoes for export.

This was actually the first from the new refinery, as the report stated that this was confirmed by trading sources with knowledge of the matter who spoke to Reuters at the time.

Nigeria has for years relied on expensive imports for nearly all the fuel it consumes but the $20bn refinery is set to turn it into a net exporter of fuel to other West African countries, in a huge potential shift of power and profit dynamics in the industry

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Reuters had stated in its report that Dangote declined its request for comment. The oil firm also remained mute to several enquiries by TheHeute at the time.

The report stated that the first cargo was 65,000 metric tonnes of low-sulphur straight run fuel oil, which Dangote awarded to Trafigura, which was due to load at the end of February, three of the sources said, according to Reuters, as it added that Trafigura declined to comment at the time.

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At least one refiner said they had been offered the cargo by Trafigura without elaborating further.

The second tender was for about 60,000 tonnes of naphtha, three other sources had stated. Two of them added that the tender closed on February 15. Loading details were not immediately available at the time.

Sources had also told Reuters that the refinery was preparing to deliver its first fuel cargoes to the domestic market within weeks.

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The two fuels on offer were typical products of running light sweet crude through a crude distillation unit in a refinery without further upgrading capacity.

The refiner began buying crude in December last year and Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited has been the main supplier.

Dangote has also purchased some US oil and reportedly received two million barrels of US WTI Midland in early March, according to LSEG and Kpler ship tracking.

Dangote sells diesel

Meanwhile, the National Vice Chairman of IPMAN, Hammed Fashola, also confirmed that Dangote refinery had commenced the sale of diesel to marketers.

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However, Fashola said IPMAN had yet to start receiving diesel from the private oil refining company.

“Yes, it is correct (that Dangote has started selling diesel), but not yet to IPMAN. Some marketers are already getting allocation, we are still waiting for our own. We’ve put in our request, and I am very sure that at the appropriate time, they will call us,” Fashola stated.

On the current price of diesel, he said, “In filling stations now, diesel ranges from N1450, N1500 to N1600, depending on the location”.

Fashola noted that Dangote’s diesel would have a positive effect on the price of the product, saying “at least there would be a difference from the imported one”.

While saying there was no financial commitments made yet, he expressed confidence that the independent marketers would fuel from Dangote this month.

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“No financial commitments made yet, but we’ve put in our papers to make known our intentions and our requests. When they issue allocation, then we can talk of financial commitments,” he stated.

Meanwhile, a diesel distributor in Ogbomoso, Oyo State, Kayode Lawal, said the pump price of diesel is now between N1420 and N1500 as of Tuesday.

Also, an attendant in Badagry Lagos State, Bose Opeyemi, told our correspondent that the product now sells at the rate of N1,395 in some parts of Badagry, Lagos State, while some sell at N1,450.

In Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, Saheed Babalola, who is a quarry agent, also said he got a litre of AGO at the rate of N1,45O

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