A British Court has delivered a judgment against the Nigerian Government for breach of contract and has awarded damages of $9.6 billion in favour of Process & Industrial Development (P&ID). A judgment against the Nigerian Government is a judgment against all Nigerians.
In 2010, Nigeria signed a contract with a British firm; Process & Industrial Development (P&ID). The aim of the contract was to end the gas flaring in the Niger Delta region and convert the gas to electricity that would be beneficial to communities. The Nigerian Government did not look to see whether such services can be delivered by Nigerians. And if Nigerians could not deliver such services because of lack of infrastructure and other reasons, why could they not empower and train Nigerians, as well as provide the necessary infrastructure to enable Nigerians to do this. This would have increased our local content, our wealth generation, and our competitiveness in the global market, thereby also increasing the quality of life for citizens and on a grand scale, the economy of the country.
According to the terms of the contract, Nigeria was to provide a 20-year supply of unrefined gas for a plant that the company would build in Calabar, Nigeria. The raw materials would be supplied for free and P&ID would profit from the by products (butane and propane).
Nigeria had a dispute with P&ID and this led to the cancellation of the contract. P&ID however claimed that they had spent 40 million dollars in the planning phase. P&ID then got an award in against Nigeria in 2017. The Nigerian Government, on the other hand refused to pay the sum nor appeal the judgement. WHY?!
In March 2018, P&ID went to a Commercial Court in England to enforce the arbitral award. The Nigerian Government still did not acknowledge service till October, 2018. Again, Why?
Presently, P&ID has obtained a judgment in August 2019 that awarded $9.6billion against Nigeria. $9.6billion which is N3.5 trillion is a lot of money that would leave us in huge debt. In our budget for 2019, our total revenue is N6.9 trillion while our total expenditure is N8.3 trillion. How then can we afford to pay N3.5 trillion damages?
If the Nigerian Government fails to overturn the judgment, enforcing this judgment would affect Nigeria’s economy. It would also repel foreign direct investment in the country.
This shows us that our work as citizens does not end after our leaders have been elected. In fact it just began. Our Government has to be transparent and accountable to the citizens. We need to lend our voices to the issues of Governance in Nigeria. We need to keep our leaders in check.