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Buhari gives insights on Nigeria’s $15 billion victory over P&ID

Buhari calls for unity, support for leaders

Former President Muhammadu Buhari, said Nigeria could have incurred $15 billion loss if it had not won the legal battle against Process & Industrial Development Limited (P&ID). The fee, equivalent to ₦ 12 trillion at ₦ 801.75 per dollar quoted on FMDQ, could have been redirected towards critical infrastructure projects and various other essential endeavours.

Buhari disclosed this, Sunday, via X, a social media platform formerly known as Twitter, highlighting the importance of this victory and the potential financial implications had the case been lost.

“Rarely in modern times can so few have tried to take so much from so many. If Nigeria had lost its arbitration dispute with Process & Industrial Development in a London court on 23 October, it would have cost our people close to $15 billion,” Buhari’s post read in part, “But ordinary Nigerians never took the decisions that ended up before Justice Knowles. Had Nigeria lost, it would have required schools not to be built, nurses not to be trained and roads not to be repaired, on an epic scale, to pay a handful of contractors, lawyers and their allies – for a project that never broke ground.”

The dispute with P&ID dates back to 2010 when the Nigerian government entered into an agreement with the firm, in which P&ID promised to construct a gas processing plant within the country. However, the project never materialised, leading P&ID to seek compensation for lost profits. The legal battle culminated in P&ID being awarded a substantial sum, including accrued interest.

However, Robert Knowles, Justice of the Business and Property Court in London delivered a pivotal ruling on Monday, October 23. He declared that the contract secured by P&ID was fraudulent, raising questions about the legitimacy of the entire process.

Read also: Chronicle of Nigeria’s $11bn P&ID legal showdown

In response to these developments, Buhari recalled his administration’s efforts in 2015 to ensure a fair hearing in the dispute. He acknowledged that P&ID, which was owned by Irish intermediaries familiar with the intricacies of the Nigerian market, had been granted the contract to build the gas processing plant in Cross Rivers State.

The former president also elaborated on the circumstances leading to the legal battle, pointing out that the previous administration under Goodluck Jonathan was unable to supply the required gas, resulting in the project’s non-completion. He said, “The ‘P&ID Affair’ was already firmly set by the time I came into office in 2015. A company registered in the British Virgin Islands that no one had heard of, with hardly any staff or assets, had won a contract to build a gas processing plant in Cross Rivers. The company was owned by Irish intermediaries who knew Nigeria well and had done business in everything from healthcare to fixing tanks.”

Buhari further explained, “Nigeria was in court in London, trying to talk down liability and costs. Back at home, fixers were looking to work out a quiet settlement. This is often the way a lot of contracts end up in dispute. P&ID won a settlement in 2017 of USD6 billion, with compound interest,