As reported by Reuters, Nigerian billionaire, Aliko Dangote’s new fertiliser plant near Lagos will export its first shipment in late June or early July, to Louisiana, while majority of exports from the plant are expected to go to Brazil.
The new plant at the Lekki Free Zone in Lagos State, designed to manufacture three million tpy of urea, will also be able to supply all the major markets in sub-Saharan Africa, Dangote told a virtual economic forum hosted by Qatar.
Many in Nigeria also hope the Dangote plant will help alleviate chronically low crop yields in Africa’s most populous country, which are partly due to insufficient access to fertiliser.
According to the World Bank, Nigeria consumed around 20 kg of fertiliser per hectare of arable land in 2018, compared with 73 kg in South Africa and 393 kg in China. Nigeria’s Central Bank bars the use of its foreign exchange for fertiliser imports as part of a raft of controls aimed at boosting domestic production.
Meanwhile, an Italian appeals court, on Thursday, overturned jail sentences handed down to Nigerian Emeka Obi and Italian Gianluca Di Nardo for their part in a graft case involving Eni (ENI.MI) and Shell (RDSa.L) in Nigeria. In a decision taken behind closed doors but read out to reporters afterwards, the three judges quashed the convictions and said there was no case to answer.
The prosecution itself had asked for the sentences to be overturned after a court in March acquitted the two energy groups in a long-running case revolving around the acquisition of a Nigerian oilfield for about $1.3 billion.
The judges dismissed the charges against the companies and defendants saying there was no case to answer. Obi and Di Nardo, both accused of being middlemen and taking illegal kickbacks, were convicted in a fast-track trial back in 2018 separate from the main one.
They were both sentenced to four years in jail, but had not started to serve them. Under Italian law a fasttrack trial, which is based only on documents with no hearings or witnesses, allows sentences to be cut by a third.
“An unjust sentence by the court of first instance conditioned by a macroscopic violation of the law,” Obi’s lawyer, Roberto Pisano said, referring to the original conviction.
Earlier this month, Italy’s justice ministry ordered an inquiry into the conduct of two prosecutors in the main case involving Eni and Shell. The three judges, on Thursday, also lifted orders seizing assets worth $98.4 million from Obi and over 21 million Swiss francs ($23 million) from Di Nardo