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$9.6bn debt: Our asset will not be affected, FG assures Nigerians



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Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has urged Nigerians to ignore the ostentatious claims by the Process and Industrial Developments Ltd. (P&ID) on compilation of Nigeria’s assets for attachment over a 9.6 billion dollar judgment debt.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the call in Abuja when he paid a working visit to the headquarters of the “Leadership’’ Newspaper in Abuja.

Briefing the management and editorial board of the medium on the purported gas contract that led to the judgment debt, the minister reassured that government would take legal and diplomatic actions to ensure no asset of the country is annex over the case.

“You will see that there is a lot grandstanding on the part of the P&ID especially by the Public Relations consultant it hired.

“As a matter of fact, they are already threatening that they are already compiling the list of assets of Nigeria to attach.

“The truth of the matter is that, even in the judgment, the court said that it cannot start any attachment until the court resumes from vacation.

“We are doing everything possible and we are very optimistic that we will escape any embarrassment of attachment of the country’s asset as a result of this dubious award.

“The federal government has taken all necessary steps to ensure that no property of the country is attached by any court.

“Government will leave no stone unturned, legally and diplomatically to ensure that our asset will not be affected as a result of the judgment,’’ he said.

The minister reiterated that the contract was a scam from inception with both local and international collaborators who aimed at depleting the nation’s foreign reserves.

‘`How can people come into Nigeria with portfolio, and walk away with about 20 percent of our entire foreign reserve.

“We believe that both in terms of morality and law, we are confident that we will upturn the judgment.

“It is important to know that the government has also ordered investigations into the transactions because there are strong indications that underhanded things went on,’’ he said.

A UK court had in a ruling authorized, P&ID, an Irish engineering and project management company, to seize 9.6 billion dollars in Nigerian assets over the failed gas contract.

The judgment was a fallout of the contract purportedly entered into in 2010 between the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and P&ID, and subsequent award made in July 2015 by an arbitration panel sitting in London in favour of the company.