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Osinbajo, ministers, others meet over judgement to seize Nigeria’s $9.6 billion

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Nigeria’s vice president Yemi Osinbajo Monday afternoon is in a meeting with the country’s ministers over the ruling of a British court to award Process and Industrial Developments Ltd (P&ID) the right to seize some $9 billion (N2.9 trillion in the official exchange rate of N305/$) in assets from the Nigerian government.

Our correspondent said the outcome of the meeting could determine Nigeria’s action on the court ruling.

A British judge had given a tiny private firm the nod to seize more than $9 billion in assets from the Nigerian government over a failed natural gas deal. The amount represents one-fifth of the foreign reserves held by Africa’s largest economy.

The decade-long dispute pits an unheralded firm founded by two Irish business partners against an energy-rich but a politically-troubled nation of 200 million people.

The 2010 deal between the Process and Industrial Developments Limited (P&ID) company — widely reported to be registered in the British Virgin Islands — and the Nigerian government was meant to be a win-win for both sides.

It sued the Nigerian government for breaching the agreement by failing to provide the gas — or install the promised pipelines.

An arbitration tribunal in London awarded the firm $6.6 billion (5.9 billion euros) in damages in January 2017.

P&ID said the accrued interest of $1.2 million a day had pushed that amount to more than $9 billion — about one-fifth of Nigeria’s declared foreign reserves of $45 billion.

After the court ruling, the Irish gas firm blamed President Muhammadu Buhari’s government for the nation’s precarious situation in the matter.

P&ID, the current administration failed to take a conciliatory stance and was negligent in the processes leading to the confirmation of the award by the English Court.

While the Nigerian government was yet to react to the allegations, a coalition of civil society groups marched outside the British embassy in Abuja in protest asking the court to rescind its ruling.

“We will not submit to second slavery,” a protester said. “We will not submit to the second colonisation. We will not allow some entities to come and take over our commonwealth or defraud our dear nation Nigeria.”


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