The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on Tuesday said he was confident that the Federal Government would upturn the judgment granting Irish firm, Process and Industrial Developments Ltd., $9.6bn damages against Nigeria.
The government urged Nigerians to ignore the “ostentatious claims” by P&ID on compilation of Nigeria’s assets for seizure over the awarded damages.
Mohammed said this in Abuja when he paid a working visit to headquarters of Leadership Newspapers.
Briefing the management and editorial board of the medium on the purported gas contract that led to the judgment debt, Mohammed reassured that government would take legal and diplomatic actions to ensure no asset of the country is annexed over the case.
“You will see that there is a lot grandstanding on the part of the P&ID, especially by the Public Relations consultant it hired.
“As a matter of fact, they are already threatening that they are already compiling the list of assets of Nigeria to attach.
“The truth of the matter is that, even in the judgment, the court said that it cannot start any attachment until the court resumes from vacation.
“We are doing everything possible and we are very optimistic that we will escape any embarrassment of attachment of the country’s assets as a result of this dubious award.
“The Federal Government has taken all necessary steps to ensure that no property of the country is attached by any court.
“Government will leave no stone unturned, legally and diplomatically, to ensure that our asset will not be affected as a result of the judgment,’’ he said.
The minister reiterated that the contract was a scam from inception, with both local and international collaborators whose aim was to deplete the nation’s foreign reserves.
“How can people cometo Nigeria with portfolio, and walk away with about 20 per cent of our entire foreign reserve?
“We believe that both in terms of morality and law, we are confident that we will upturn the judgment.
“It is important to know that the government has also ordered investigations into the transactions because there are strong indications that under handed things went on,’’ he said.
A UK court had in a ruling authorized, P&ID, an Irish engineering and project management company, to seize 9.6 billion dollars in Nigerian assets over the failed gas contract.
The judgment was a fallout of the contract purportedly entered into in 2010 between the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and P&ID, and subsequent award made in July 2015 by an arbitration panel sitting in London in favour of the company.