The minister of information, Lai Mohamed has said the federal government is ready to negotiate with Process and Industrial Developments Limited (P&ID) to avoid paying the $9 billion fine a British court imposed on it.
The court, on August 16, 2019, gave P&ID (see full judgement) the go-ahead to seize Nigerian assets worth $9 billion as a result of the failure of the government to fulfil its end of a deal it entered into with the company.
In 2010, P&ID had entered into a 20-year gas and supply processing agreement (GSPA) with the federal government to build a state-of-the-art gas processing facility in Calabar, Cross River State.
The deal required the government to build a gas supply pipeline to P&ID facility.
But the organisation which said after spending several years preparing for the project, the Nigerian government failed to build a pipeline or secure supply of gas as stipulated in the agreement, headed to the court.
Speaking on NTA breakfast programme on Thursday, Mohammed said the government knows the consequences of such payment on the economy, and is ready to negotiate with P&ID and find a way out.
“We’re leaving no stone unturned to resolve this matter. We are ready to sit down with them and negotiate what is reasonable to all parties. You don’t inflict this kind of injury on a country and its people,” he said.
“First eleven would be engaged to take over the case. We are making wide consultations on the matter. Nigerians can be rest assured that everything is being done to make sure that the country is not shortchanged in this case.”
He said the government would do everything within its power to ensure that those involved are exposed and prosecuted.
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“The contract itself was not justifiable and I know that the EFCC, Ministry of Justice and other bodies investigating the contract will come up with facts on how the whole thing was done. The government will not sleep until this matter is resolved in a manner that will not injure the interest of Nigeria,” he said.
“The P&ID have the resources to hire the best PR agencies in the world to spread this falsehood. And without internal collaborators, external conspirators will not succeed. We will find those involved in this scam, either inside or outside government. The Ministry of Justice has enough experts to know that this would not be in the interest of our country. On the surface it was a scam ab initio and the actors knew where they were going.”
He said the country had learnt lessons, explaining how the government of President Muhammadu Buhari consulted widely before signing the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).