BusinessDay

$9bn court ruling: P& ID may seize Nigeria’s UK assets, oil cargoes, others

Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID) has commenced moves to identify Nigerian assets that can be seized which may include the country’s oil cargoes, in response to a British court ruling two weeks ago that gave the Irish gas company, P&ID, permission to seize Nigerian assets worth $9 billion.

P&ID confirmed the move in a document reportedly sent to industry sources, that it had initiated moves to identify Nigeria’s assets that could be seized in the process of enforcing the decision of an arbitration tribunal which was recently converted to a court judgment.

In the document, the firm hinted at the possibility of Nigeria forfeiting its oil cargoes or naval vessels in a bid to recover the $9 billion. The representative of P&ID, John Ehiguese cited the Argentinian and Venezuelan experiences as similar cases of assets seizure.

“In the case against Argentina, creditors detained an Argentine naval vessel; in the case against Venezuela there was the seizure of state-owned oil cargo. There is a wide range of potential assets,” P&ID said.

P&ID added, “In the meantime, the P&ID will look to seize Nigeria’s assets in the UK to enforce the award as soon as possible. The company’s current focus is vigorously enforcing the award.

However, the Irish company did not rule out the possibility of a alternative resolution of the fine, which has the potential of wiping out 20 per cent of the country’s foreign reserves.

The company in an email response to one of our correspondent’s questions said the onus was upon the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to show good faith and enter into reasonable negotiations.

It stated, “The real question is: is the Nigerian Government willing to enter good-faith negotiations? The ball is now in the court of the Buhari Administration to demonstrate a mature, good-faith approach to a resolution; their legal arguments have been completely rejected.”

Recall, Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), said the Federal Government was making moves to stop execution of the judgment ordering Nigeria to pay $9 billion to P&ID.

“I am not scared at all. Since the news about the judgment broke, we have been discussing with our counsels, and they have advised that there are sufficient and strong grounds on the basis of which we could file a stay of execution and also an appeal against that judgment,” Emefiele told journalists on the sidelines of a retreat for newly the appointed ministers at the Presidential Villa, Abuja before their swearing-in last week.

 

DIPO OLADEHINDE

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