Nigeria yesterday took the battle to quash the bid by Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) to claim the $9.6 billion arbitral award a London commercial court affirmed for it as future earnings it lost over an alleged breach of a Gas Supply and Processing Agreement (GSPA) between the two parties, to the world stage.
President Muhammadu Buhari, in his speech at the United Nations, described the arbitral award of $6.5 billion to P&ID, which due to interest accretion has now risen to $9.6 billion as at the last calculation, as a scam and an attempt to defraud the country.
P&ID, an Irish company, had recently obtained the judgment from the British court to secure $9.6 billion from Nigeria as a penalty for alleged breach of contract between the company and Nigeria in 2010.
The president, whose speech was emailed to journalists in Nigeria, told the global body that the swift reaction of Nigeria to the attempt by the company to rob it of its billions of dollars was a clear message to other international criminal groups.
“This is true in the battle against violent extremism, against trafficking in people and drugs and against corruption and money laundering. The present Nigerian government is facing the challenges of corruption head-on. We are giving notice to international criminal groups by the vigorous prosecution of the P&ID scam attempting to cheat Nigeria of billions of dollars,” he said.
Buhari also lamented other international criminal activities, including murder in New Zealand, xenophobia and related crimes in other countries, blaming such grievous crimes on the failure of “tech companies” in various parts of the world to live up to their responsibilities.
“The world was shocked and startled by the massacre in New Zealand by a lone gunman taking the lives of 50 worshippers. This and similar crimes which have been fuelled by social media networks risk seeping into the fabric of an emerging digital culture.
“Major tech companies must be alive to their responsibilities. They cannot be allowed to continue to facilitate the spread of religious, racist, xenophobic and false messages capable of inciting whole communities against each other, leading to loss of many lives. This could tear some countries apart.
“Organised criminal networks, often acting with impunity across international borders, present new challenges where only collective action can deliver genuine results,” he stated.
Buhari thanked the UNGA for the honour accorded to Nigeria by giving the most populous black nation the opportunity to produce its current President; assuring it that Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, who ascended the office on September 17, would not let it down.
“Nigerians are truly grateful and shall endeavour to live up to the expectations and responsibilities thrust upon us. Ambassador Muhammad-Bande is an experienced and seasoned diplomat and I am confident that he will prove to the international community his suitability for this most demanding assignment,” he added.
Buhari also called on the international community to take interest in the development of Africa, saying that a developed Africa will not be a thorn in the flesh of advanced countries but will rather be friends with them and serve as a partner in progress.
According to him, Africa is bestowed with rich and immense resources, which when explored by investing in the continent, would lead to productivity and outputs that would be beneficial to the entire world.
He, therefore, pleaded with advanced countries to take advantage of the enormous resources in Africa for the benefit of the entire world.
“A developed Africa will not be antagonistic to industrialised countries but will become friends and partners in prosperity, security and development.
Prosperous Africa will mean greater prosperity for the rest of the world. A poor Africa will be a drag on the rest of the world. Is this what the international community wants?
“A coordinated multilateral effort should be set in motion to utilize and maximize the use of the enormous resources on the African continent for the benefit of all nations. Investing partners will be able to recoup their investments manifold over time.
“Current attempts to help develop Africa by industrial countries are un-coordinated and plainly incremental. We have the skills, the manpower and the natural resources, but in many instances, we lack the capital – hence my plea for industrial countries to take a long-term view of Africa, come and partner with us to develop the continent for the benefit of all,” he said.