UK, Ireland get ultimatum on $9.6b judgment debt
The Coalition of Civil Society Groups has given the British and Irish governments 21 days to reverse the ruling of the United Kingdom Commercial Court awarding $9.6 billion against Nigeria for an alleged botched gas processing contract with Irish firm, Process & Industrial Developments Limited (P&ID).
The ultimatum was given yesterday at the end of the second day of picketing of the two countries’ embassies in Abuja by the coalition where a mammoth crowd of over 5000 youths marched and occupied the diplomatic buildings located in the Central Business and Maitama districts of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Like Monday’s exercise, both envoys again shunned the protesters amid torrents of anti-colonial songs within the premises.Addressing the reporters at their resumed occupation of the high commissions, the president of the group, Etuk Bassey Williams, stated: “ We are giving the British and Irish governments a 21-day ultimatum to act and call the UK court, P&ID and the Irish authorities to order.“If after 21 days and nothing happens, we will come back to occupy the embassies. We will sleep here, cook here and eat here until the judgment is reversed.”
The group said it embarked on the protests to send a strong message to the international community that “Nigeria is not a Banana Republic,” adding that “our request should not be taken for granted.”The marchers commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his doggedness in fighting corruption and refusal to accept the court judgment.They explained that their action was against the backdrop of an ‘attempt’ to re-colonise Nigeria, impoverish its more than 200 million people among other exploitative implications.
The $9.6 billion fine translates to about N2.9 trillion, a figure in the range of the vote captured for capital expenditure in the 2019 federal budget.