Here is the full text of the statement issued Friday night by Mr. Dayo Apata, a senior advocate of Nigeria and Solicitor-General of the Federation, following a ruling by Justice Butcher of the UK Commercial Court that an Irish company P&ID can seize Nigeria’s assets worth $9 billion, over a failed gas supply agreement with the Nigerian government:
PROCESS & INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT LIMITED V. FGN
1. Please recall the dispute that led to Arbitration between Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) and Process and Industrial Development Ltd which arose from a 20 year Gas Supply and Processing Agreement (GSPA) entered in 2010 between FGN (through the Ministry of Petroleum Resources) and P & ID in respect of an accelerated gas development project in Nigeria’s OMLs 67 and 123. P&ID never began the construction of the project facility although it alleges it incurred about $40 Million in preliminary expenses.
2. P & ID’s claim in the arbitration proceedings was mainly for loss of profit for the entire twenty-year term of the GSPA, initially claiming the sum of US$1.9 Billion and later increasing its claim to US$5.9 Billion.
3. The Arbitral Tribunal on 31st January 2017 rendered its Final Award against the Ministry of Petroleum Resources in the sum of US$6.597 Billion together with pre-award interest at the rate of 7% per annum effective from 20th March 2013 and post award interest at the same rate till date of payment.
4. In granting the huge arbitration award against Nigeria the tribunal decided the following:
i. that the project would operate at 93% uptime during the twenty year of the GSPA despite the well-known risks of operating such a project in the Niger-Delta.
ii. that the average price of Natural Gas Liquids (the main revenue earner for P&ID assuming the GSPA had been implemented), should be based on an average oil price in excess of $100 per barrel over the twenty-year life of the project;
iii. to apply a discount rate to P&ID’s supposed lost profits of 2.65 %, the same interest rate paid on United States treasury notes thereby adjudging P&ID, a start-up company that never commenced any physical work on the project but planned to operate in the midst of the Niger-Delta crisis, using a novel and unproven technology, a virtually “risk free” investment.
5. Upon the Award, P & ID commenced recognition and enforcement proceedings of the arbitration award against FGN in March 2018 in both the United Kingdom (“UK”) and the United States of America (the “United States”).
6. The FGN is duly represented in the proceedings in the United States by the Law Firm of Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP which also represented it in the UK proceedings of which judgement was given on 16th August, 2019 in favour of the P&ID to commence enforcement proceeding against the FGN assets in the UK.
7. Recall further that this matter was inherited from the previous Administration by the present one. Upon inheriting this matter, this Government engaged the renowned US Law Firm of Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP to defend the interest of the FGN. The Law Firm has taken step to defend the proceedings in the United Stated by urging the District Court to dismiss the P&ID application for enforcement of the award on the ground that Nigeria as a sovereign state has an absolute right to obtain an authoritative determination of its sovereign immunity. The FGN therefore demanded that the jurisdictional issue must be conclusively resolved before Nigeria may be required to litigate the merits of P&ID’s petition.
8. P&ID has variously challenged Nigeria’s position urging the District Court to direct Nigeria to file both its jurisdiction and merit defenses as a consolidated defense so that the proceedings may be disposed of by the District Court summarily.
9. The FGN has however pursued the validity of its jurisdictional defense as a preliminary matter which must be conclusively resolved prior to any consideration of the merit argument up to the Court of Appeal.
10. In a ruling on 9th October 2018, the District Court granted a stay of proceedings pending a determination of the appeal.
11. P&ID has also subsequently filed motions to have Nigeria’s appeal certified as frivolous and to have proceedings in the District Court continue pending determination of the appeal at the Court of Appeal.
12. On 1st November 2018, the US District Court issued a decision in favour of FGN denying P & ID’s further attempt to certify Nigeria’s appeal as frivolous and denied P&ID’s attempt to lift the stay of proceedings.
13. On 15 February 2019, the Court of Appeal issued a decision in favour of FGN by dismissing P&ID’s motion requesting the court to dismiss Nigeria’s appeal for lack of jurisdiction or to summarily affirm the scheduling order of the District Court.
14. The proceedings therefore are currently on-going in the United States and the FGN will ensure that its interest and that of the people of Nigeria are vigorously defended.
15. As regards the recent Judgment of the English Court of 16 August 2019, the Federal Government’s Counsel have been instructed to pursue an appeal on the judgment of the English Court dated 16 August, 2019 and at the same time seek for a Stay of Execution of the said judgment.
16. In view of the above, please be informed that the Federal Government of Nigeria is making vigorous efforts to defend its interest in this matter and would not relent in exploring every viable option in doing so.
Dayo Apata, Esq.
Solicitor General of the Federation and
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Abuja.”
JUST IN: Boko Haram Strikes In Chibok, Sets ‘Many Houses’ On Fire
Suspected Boko Haram terrorists are currently attacking Korongilum, a community in Chibok local government area of Borno State.
A resident told the TheCable that the insurgents came into the community around 6pm, shooting sporadically and setting many houses on fire.
“People were just returning to their houses from the farm when the insurgents came in,” the resident said.
“They came in through Forfor, and our people are running for safety as we speak.”
A military source said troops from the Nigerian Army’s 28 task force brigade and 117 battalion, both headquartered in Chibok, are already on their way to Korongilum.
“In fact, the brigade and the battalion commanders are the ones leading soldiers to the attack,” the source said.
TheCable’s effort to reach Sagir Musa, army’s spokesman, for comment on the attack proved abortive as his telephone line was out of reach.
We’ll Lift Visa Ban On Nigeria If… — US
The United States has declared that the visa ban placed on Nigeria and other countries was a temporary measure.
The US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Leonard, said the visa ban could be resolved between the two countries if the Nigerian government meets certain conditions.
The US ambassador said that Nigeria needed to meet information sharing goals before the decision would be reversed by the US government.
She said this during a visit to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige in Abuja on Tuesday.
The ambassador said the ban was based on US concerns over needs for information sharing and not about character definition.
Leonard said that students visa were not included in the ban.
The ambassador said the immigrant visa ban does not affect people who are currently resident in the United States.
She also said the ban does not cancel the status of anyone who is currently in the United States.
The US ambassador said: “I need to clarify something for you here, the immigrant visa ban does not affect people who are currently resident in the United States.
“It does not cancel the status of anyone who currently is in the United States.
“What Secretary Pompey said was something that was meant to be temporary.
“And it is about problems with information sharing which are investigable, achievable and resolveable and we look forward to Nigeria in a very short time being able to meet those information sharing goal so that the decision can be reviewed.”
The US ambassador noted that Nigeria was blessed with the ingenuity to diversify its economy, noting that the industrious endowment of many Nigerians home and abroad.
According to her, these were ingredient that should be employed to tackle unemployment.
“I think for Nigeria, you have an interesting story about diversification of your economy and prosperity of your economy and it is people.
“You know Nigerians are so well known at home and abroad for their industriousness.
“You know you hear about how much of the activity in the informal sector. So I wonder how you think about capturing that entrepreneurial spirit and to bringing it into the formal sector in service and to enhance employment,” she added.
Ngige said the inclusion of Nigeria in the list of countries under the US travel ban was a shock to the country.
The minister described the ban as unwarranted because of the contribution of Nigerian professionals to the US economy.
The Minister said: “Some of these Nigerians are medical doctors, engineers and people with high level of proficiency in oil and gas fields.
“They were all part of the Nigerian residents in the US and it came to us as a rude shock when the US government banned Nigerians and put us in the list of those countries whose residency status have been cancelled.”
Ngige urged the US ambassador to discuss the visa ban issue with her home government in order to reach an understanding and have it reversed.
The Minister told the US ambassador that more than 70 per cent of Nigerians living in the US were highly skilled professionals who contributed billions of dollars yearly to US economy while sending equally impressive amount to Nigeria.
He used the opportunity of the visit to seek for collaboration and assistance of the US in the area of poverty eradication and child labour. He said Nigeria would not demand for money from the US but other forms of assistance.
“We have called on the US Department of Labour to assist and we have given them a list of what we need.
“We are not asking for monetary assistance and we are not asking for American cash but we need technical assistance and logistics like vehicles for those in the inspectorate division to be able to carry out their functions.
“We call on US to help us build schools in those areas where child labour is endemic. You also help in setting up clinics and executing its own empowerment programmes in those localities,” the minister added.
JUST IN: IGP Seeks Algeria’s Support To Combat Terrorism, Insurgency
Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, has appealed for Algeria’s support to combat insurgency and terrorism in the country.
Adamu made the appeal when he received a delegation of the African Police Organization (AFRIPOL) General Assembly led by its President and Inspector General of Police of Algeria, H. E. Khelifa Ounissi, at the Force Headquarters in Abuja.
More to follow…