Reps to Probe $9.6bn Judgement

By Adedapo Adesanya

Following the $9.6 billion judgement awarded against Nigeria by a British court, the house of representatives has resolved to review all treaties and agreements signed by the Nigerian government in order to avoid another occurrence.

Business Post reported that a British court had awarded damages against Nigeria over claims that the country did not fulfil its own part of 20-year gas supply and processing agreement with Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID).

At Wednesday’s session, members of the lower chamber said that both Abubakar Malami, minister of justice, and Timipre Sylva, minister for state for petroleum resources, would be invited over the matter.

The House of Reps members revealed that it will set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the matter and report back by September 30.

Moving a motion on the judgement, Julius Ihonvbere from Edo state said its effect would be devastating on Nigeria’s economy.

He said: “Nigeria has a penchant for disregarding the sanctity of contracts and terms of agreement, coupled with the failure of Nigeria’s representatives in many cases, to carefully scrutinise agreements they sign.

“The agreement was somewhat shrouded in secrecy and dubiously procured as those who ought to know about its existence did not.

“More importantly, the relevant laws in Nigeria for the transaction to be consummated was not applied especially, part IV of the Bureau of Public Procurement Act 2007 which deals with the fundamental principles of procurement.” The lawmaker said.

He added that rather than properly engage P&ID in the matter, “Nigeria was busy shopping for a favourite forum to plead her case in a court in Lagos”.

He also said the issue has exposed the “deep decay in our governance and leadership infrastructure with far-reaching implications for the credibility of the country’s capacity to handle business and legal cases.”

Commenting on the issue, Luke Onofiok, one of the lawmakers representing Akwa Ibom state said: “This debt will put a hole in our budget, this issue will put a hole at a time when we are spending trillions to service the deficits”.

The deal had been criticised by various government agencies including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) which reports say have launched an investigation into the case.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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