The Federal Government of Nigeria has said it is ready to negotiate with the Process and Industrial Developments Ltd over a judgment by a United Kingdom court granting the firm seizure of $9.6bn in Nigerian assets.
The judgment was based on a contract between the Federal Government and the P&ID signed in 2010.
Lai Mohammed, The Minister of Information and Culture, who feature on Good Morning Nigeria, a live breakfast programme of the Nigerian Television Authority, on Thursday, said government was willing to meet with the P&ID to come up with a “reasonable” agreement.
“We are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that this judgment is set aside. I want to assure Nigerians that there is absolutely no imminent threat to seizure of our possessions because even the UK courts said they cannot begin any attachments until the courts are back and there will be further hearing on the matter.” Lai Mohammed said.
He further said “We are even willing to sit down with the P&ID and negotiate. We are ready to take this matter to the highest diplomatic, level legal and otherwise — because we think it is just unfair and unconscionable. You don’t inflict this kind of injury on a country and its people for your selfish reasons.
“The government is doing everything possible to get self-execution and to set aside this award. But at the end of the day, we need to sit down with the P&ID and arrive at something that we think is reasonable for all the parties.”
The minister said the contract and, ultimately, the penalty awarded against Nigeria would not have been possible without the help of some “unpatriotic” Nigerians.
“One thing is clear: he continues without insider collaboration, we would not have reached this sordid path. Clearly, the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources had enough competent experienced personnel to know that this kind of contract cannot be entered into without involving the NNPC and the IOC.
“That is why, until this investigation is completed and concluded, we will not be able to know exactly what happened. But on the surface, I think it was a sham ab initio and the actors knew where they were going. The P&ID has engaged some Nigerians to do their dirty job for them.”
Lai Mohammed also deprived of the allegation that the Federal Government did not diligently defend the case leading to the award of $9.6bn judgment debt against Nigeria over a botched gas contract.