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AGF denies $6.59 billion default judgment against Nigeria

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Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami

The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN), has denied allegation of a $6.59 billion default judgment against Nigeria in the enforcement proceedings by Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID).

The AGF, however, said a foreign solicitor, Messrs Curtis Maller-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP, engaged by the Federal Government of Nigeria, had filed processes in a United States (U.S.) District Court challenging the $6.59 billion enforcement proceedings against the Federal Government.

Malami, represented at a forum yesterday by the Solicitor-General of the Federation, Dayo Apata, stated this while reacting to a media report that a U.S. District Court had entered a $6.59 billion default judgment against the Federal Government in favour of P&ID in a dispute over the supply of natural gas and processing agreement.He said “what was being taunted as a default judgment was actually a default entry by the court clerk.”

“Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), a defendant has up to 60 days period to answer to a petition filed against it.“Where no response is entered for the defendant, the court clerk, upon application by the petitioner, makes a default entry, which in this case was made on June 5,” he said.

The AGF added that under the FSIA, a default judgment cannot be entered against foreign state like Nigeria except the presiding judge determines so after the petitioner/claimant must have established its entitlement to a default judgment.

Besides, Malami, who noted that the U.S. District Court is still under obligation to determine whether Nigeria is immune from the jurisdiction of the U.S. court under the FSIA, or whether the case before it falls within one of the recognised exceptions, stated that the Federal Government foreign solicitor had on June 12, 2018 filed necessary applications to set aside the clerk’s default entry and to dismiss the entire case on grounds of defective service and lack of personal jurisdiction over Nigeria.

He, therefore, urged foreign investors, who were reported to be sceptical, to ignore the report, adding that the Federal Government was making concerned efforts through legal and diplomatic channels to resolve the issues between the parties in this matter.


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Abubakar Malami
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