Former President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed joy over the recent victory recorded by Nigeria in the just-concluded arbitration dispute with Process & Industrial Development.
Buhari who stated this while reacting to the win through an article titled: “A matter of principle,” which was made available at the weekend, by Mallam Garba Shehu, the former media aide to the former president, said it would have cost the country about $15 billion if the case was in favour of P&ID.
The former noted that his former Chief of Staff, the late Abba Kyari and the former Minister of Justice and attorney-general of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, were mandated to find a way out of the issue.
A Business and Property Court in London had last week halted the enforcement of the $11 billion arbitration award in favour of P&ID against Nigeria in a case marked CL-2019-000752.
Justice Robert Knowles had in the judgement, held that the process through which P&ID secured a 2010 contract to build a gas processing plant in Calabar, Cross River State, was fraudulent.
Reacting, Buhari said: “Rarely in modern times can so few have tried to take so much from so many. If Nigeria had lost its arbitration dispute with Process & Industrial Development in a London court on 23 October, it would have cost our people close to $15 billion.
“We won, and all decent people can sleep easier as a result. Justice Robin Knowles said Nigeria had been the victim of a monstrous fraud.
“But it was a close-run thing. As the judge said ‘I end the case acutely conscious of how readily the outcome could have been different, and of the enormous resources ultimately required from Nigeria as the successful party to make good its challenge.’
“But ordinary Nigerians never took the decisions that ended up before Justice Knowles. Had Nigeria lost, it would have required schools not to be built, nurses not to be trained and roads not to be repaired, on an epic scale, to pay a handful of contractors, lawyers and their allies – for a project that never broke ground.
“How did it get to this point? How did Nigeria prevail? Was this a one-off, or par for a shabby and distasteful course? What are the lessons for the future?
“The ‘P&ID Affair’ was already firmly set by the time I came into the office in 2015. A company registered in the British Virgin Islands that no one had heard of, with hardly any staff or assets, had won a contract to build a gas processing plant in Cross Rivers.”