….Urges Nigerian judiciary to protect our value System
By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – The presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 general elections, Peter Obi, has said that the judgement delivered on Monday by Justice Robin Knowles of the Commercial Courts of England and Wales, stopping the enforcement of the award which was initially in favour of P&ID, offers veritable lessons to Nigerians in general, and our judiciary in particular,”
This is coming as Obi has challenged the Nigerian judiciary to protect the nation’s value system and embrace change in the dispensation of justice.
In a post on his X account (formerly known as Twitter) on Wednesday, the former Anambra State governor said a truly just and fair New Nigeria is possible if our judiciary embraces the spirit and message of change.
He congratulated Nigeria for her victory in the $11bn Process & Industrial Developments (P&ID) Limited arbitration award.
With the judgement delivered on Monday by Justice Robin Knowles of the Commercial Courts of England and Wales, Nigeria succeeded in stopping the enforcement of the award which was initially in favour of P&ID.
According to the judge, the award against Nigeria by the company was obtained by fraud.
In his reaction to the judgement, Obi congratulated the nation on the victory.
“Thankfully, the case was decided in the United Kingdom, a nation known for its respect for the rule of law and where the judiciary delivers justice freely and fairly to the people. This, therefore, offers veritable lessons to Nigerians in general, and our judiciary in particular,” he wrote.
“Every lawful society is built on a strong system of justice and every democratic society exists on the principle of the rule of law. In handling the identity crisis, electoral disputes, and many high corruption cases that have bedeviled our nation, the judiciary has a bounding duty to protect our dear nation’s value system.
“Nigeria won its bid to overturn an $11 billion damages bill involving the controversial P&ID deal, yet similar, or even greater amounts, have gone unaccounted for in Nigeria, and the culprits are freely walking the streets.
“I urge our public office holders, in different arms of government, to understand that we have no other nation but Nigeria and we all, are bound to work together for the development of our nation.
“As we have gladly received justice in a foreign land, may we learn to give justice to our countrymen so that our nation can enjoy peace, progress, and unity. A truly just and fair New Nigeria is possible if our judiciary embraces the spirit and message of change.”
In January 2010, the P&ID signed a Gas Supply and Processing Agreement (GSPA) with Nigeria to develop a processing plant in Calabar, the Cross River State capital but the deal failed in August 2012 and the company sought a $5.96bn compensation from Nigeria with arbitration proceedings against the country at the London Court of International Arbitration.
In January 2017, the arbitration said Nigeria breached the contract and ordered the country to pay the company $6.6bn with interest starting from May 2013. Before the verdict, the interest fixed at seven percent ($1m daily) had accumulated to over $11bn.
Subsequently, Nigeria filed an appeal against the enforcement of the award and the court granted the relief sought by the country in September 2020. The Nigerian side argued that there was enough evidence that the contract and the arbitration award were procured by fraud.
The Nigerian side thereby urged the court to set the award aside, saying that some individuals in the case were being tried for money laundering and graft.