The Federal Government 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.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who spoke 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.
Mohammed said, “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 assets 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.
“We are even willing to sit down with the P&ID and negotiate. We are ready to take this matter to the highest level — legal, diplomatic 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.
Mohammed said, “One thing is clear: 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.”
He also denied 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.
The minister alleged that the award was unprecedented, unjustifiable and an attempt to inflict economy injury on Nigeria and its people.
He said, “It is not true that we did not defend it or we were not represented. The contract was entered into in 2010 and from the records made available, there were three arbitrators.
“The arbitrators were the parties to be nominated by the company, the other by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources while the two of them will agree on the third arbiter.
“Nigeria was represented on the arbitration by the former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Bayo Ojo (SAN).’’
Mohammed added that the government went into negotiations with the company after the award in July 2015 by the arbitration panel sitting in London.
He, however, added that the effort was futile.
The controversial contract was about a Gas Supply and Processing Agreement entered in 2010 between the Federal Government through the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the P & ID.
It was in respect of an accelerated gas development project in Nigeria’s Oil Mining Leases 67 and 123.
A dispute later arose on the contract between the two parties, with P&ID claiming that Nigeria failed to make wet gas available as stipulated in the GSPA.
The P&ID approached an arbitration panel in London for resolution, claiming to have incurred about $40m preliminary expenses on the project.
NBA Closely Monitoring Edo Election, Says Aikpokpo Martins
The Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) says it is closely monitoring the activities leading to the governorship election in Edo State.
NBA First Vice President, John Aikpokpo-Martins, disclosed this on Thursday during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily in Abuja.
He explained that the body is satisfied with the peaceful manner political actors have conducted themselves so far.
“The NBA does not have the resources to follow up from the beginning to the end. As an association, this particular team was set up to observe from tomorrow till the election will be over; that is to say to the announcement of the result.
“However, we have been watching and observing all that is going on. For now, we are satisfied to the extent that the parties have conducted themselves very well, they have campaigned hard,” he said.
Speaking on the possibility of violence in the polls, the legal practitioner said there have been allegations of “threat to violence but not actual violence yet.”
The NBA leader said the allegations and counter-allegations do not automatically translate to violence on the election day.
Aikpokpo-Martins, who is also an indigene of Edo State, said the state does not have a history of violence in previous elections.
Although he admitted that the political atmosphere is tensed with the “temperature very high,” he is however optimistic of a peaceful conduct of the exercise on September 19.
“The security is very tight now. There are a lot of soldiers, a lot of policemen on the streets. I am very sure that will dissuade merchants of violence from going out to disrupt the election in a violent way,” he said.
His remarks come two days after the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate and incumbent governor, Godwin Obaseki embraced his main rival and contender in the poll, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The duo beaming with smiles warmly hugged each other, an indication that they have decided to toe the line of peace and avoid unnecessary bloodshed in the election.
Obasanjo’s Comment: Not Every Criticism Should Give You Sleepless Nights – Adesina
Mr. Adesina who on Wednesday made the comment in reply to recent criticism by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The former president while delivering a speech titled ‘Moving Nigeria Away from Tipping Over’ at a consultative dialogue attended by various socio-cultural groups, said Nigeria is falling apart under Buhari.
At the consultative dialogue attended by members of various groups, including Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum, Northern Elders Forum, Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo, and Pan Niger Delta Forum, Obasanjo noted that the country is becoming the world capital of poverty.
He said, “I do appreciate that you all feel sad and embarrassed as most of us feel as Nigerians with the situation we find ourselves in,” Obasanjo said. “Today, Nigeria is fast drifting to a failed and badly divided state; economically our country is becoming a basket case and poverty capital of the world, and socially, we are firming up as an unwholesome and insecure country.
“And these manifestations are the products of recent mismanagement of diversity and socio-economic development of our country. Old fault lines that were disappearing have opened up in greater fissures and with drums of hatred, disintegration, and separation and accompanying choruses being heard loud and clear almost everywhere.”
Reacting to comments by the former president, Mr Adesina said all criticisms must be thoroughly looked at to ascertain what value they add to discussions around moving the nation forward. He, however, argued that “not every criticism should give one sleepless night”.
According to Adesina, there is no government that Obasanjo has not criticized.
“Obasanjo has criticised every government since the Shehu Shagari government that succeeded him in 1979. The only government he has not criticised is the Olusegun Obasanjo government”.
The media aide added that Obasanjo has a right to air his opinions, he, however, stressed that it is in the Buhari government’s right to take the former president’s reproval or dismiss them as mere claims aimed to detract from a performing administration.
Earlier in the week, the Presidency asked former President Olusegun Obasanjo to help in proffering solutions to the problems plaguing the country instead of being Nigeria’s “divider-in-Chief.”
While reacting to the recent outburst by Obasanjo that Nigeria is becoming a failed state, the Presidency in a statement on Sunday, called on him to quit critiquing the President Muhammadu Buhari government.
“In his most recent statement, former President Olusegun Obasanjo attempts to divide the nation while President Muhammadu Buhari continues to promote nation-building and the unity of Nigeria,” the presidency said.
“The difference is clear. From the lofty heights of Commander-in-Chief, General Obasanjo has descended to the lowly level of Divider-in-Chief (to adapt the coinage of Time).”
Obasanjo, according to the Presidency, should “once again sheath the sword and rest the pretentiousness about the Messiah that has (mis)led him to pronounce often wrongly, as he disastrously did in the 2019 elections, about the life and death of Nigerian governments.”
It restated that Buhari’s comments on West African leaders sticking to their constitutionally allowed terms is for the good of the region.
While accusing Obasanjo of a failed attempt at elongating his tenure when he was in office, the Presidency called on him to stop the “mushrooming of a poisonous atmosphere of ethnic and religious nationalism.”
“Surely, he must have disappointed many of his local and foreign admirers by showering commendations on a few extremist groups who have vowed to shun the invitation to the National Assembly to participate in the process of a constitutional amendment,” the presidency added.
Ondo PDP Accuse APC Of Attacking Party’s Campaign Team
As the political campaign rallies towards the October ten 2020 governorship election commence in Ondo State, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the State has accused the ruling All Progressives Congress(APC) of attacking the campaign team of its governorship candidate, Eyitayo Jegede in Oba-Akoko in Akoko South West Local Government Area of the state.
A press statement made available to newsmen in Akure, the state capital by the Head of Media, Research, Eyitayo Jegede Campaign Organisation, Samuel Fasua partly reads:
“No fewer than five persons sustained varying degrees of injuries Today, Wednesday, September 16, 2020, when, quite unexpectedly, the convoy of Ondo State governor, Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu stormed Oba-Akoko in Akoko South-West and started attacking the campaign team of Mr. Eyitayo Jegede, the PDP governorship flagbearer.
“As at now, no fewer than three vehicles in the convoy of Jegede have been badly damaged, while Jegede himself is being held hostage inside the palace of the monarch of Oba-the Oloba, by gun-totting hoodlums suspected to be agents of the governor.
“Curiously, Akeredolu was sighted inside the convoy while the attacks lasted, while police operatives in the location simply vacillated and looked on in the face of the orgies of madness.”
Fasua in the statement laments that the continued attacks of APC thugs on PDP supporters in the state in recent times are threatening the peace of the state.
The statement appeals to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Inspector General of Police to intervene before the situation gets out of hand.
“We earnestly call on President Muhammadu Buhari and the Inspector-General of Police to urgently wade in, to save the lives of members of the public who are being prevented by the powers-that-be in Ondo State from belonging to political parties of their choice.” the statement ended.
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