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FG moves to appeal judgement on $9 billion Nigerian assets forfeiture

The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) has declared its preparedness to appeal Friday’s judgment delivered by an English court in favour of Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID).

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The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) has declared its preparedness to appeal Friday’s judgment delivered by an English court in favour of Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID). The court gave the company an order to seize Nigerian assets worth $9 billion. 

The Solicitor-general of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Dayo Apata, disclosed this in a statement issued on Friday through FG’s twitter handle, few hours after the judgement was delivered. 

The details: The Federal Government explained the reason for its appeal, stating that it would pursue an appeal against the judgment of the English Court dated 16 August 2019 and at the same time seek for a Stay of Execution of the said judgement. 

[READ ALSO: Why UK official warned investors against investing in Nigeria]

While the firm has declared the immediate execution of the court order which may gulp 20% of Nigeria’s foreign reserves, the FG disclosed it was making vigorous efforts to defend its interest in this matter and would not relent in exploring every viable options in doing so. 

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Read the full statement below: 

Please recall the dispute that led to Arbitration between Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) and Process and Industrial Development Ltd which arose from a 20 year Gas Supply and Processing Agreement (GSPA) entered in 2010 between FGN (through the Ministry of Petroleum Resources) and P & ID in respect of an accelerated gas development project in Nigeria’s OMLs 67 and 123. P&ID never began the construction of the project facility although it alleges it incurred about $40 Million in preliminary expenses. 

P & ID’s claim in the arbitration proceedings was mainly for loss of profit for the entire twenty-year term of the GSPA, initially claiming the sum of US$1.9 Billion and later increasing its claim to US$5.9 Billion. 

The Arbitral Tribunal on 31st January 2017 rendered its Final Award against the Ministry of Petroleum Resources in the sum of US$6.597 Billion together with pre-award interest at the rate of 7% per annum effective from 20th March 2013 and post-award interest at the same rate till date of payment. 

[READ MORE: British Firm Offers FG Olive Branch Over Contract Dispute]

In granting the huge arbitration award against Nigeria the tribunal decided the following: 

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  •  that the project would operate at 93% uptime during the twenty-year of the GSPA despite the well-known risks of operating such a project in the Niger-Delta. 
  • that the average price of Natural Gas Liquids (the main revenue earner for P&ID assuming the GSPA had been implemented), should be based on an average oil price in excess of $100 per barrel over the twenty-year life of the project; 
  • to apply a discount rate to P&ID’s supposed lost profits of 2.65 %, the same interest rate paid on United States treasury notes thereby adjudging P&ID, a start-up company that never commenced any physical work on the project but planned to operate in the midst of the Niger-Delta crisis, using a novel and unproven technology, a virtually “risk free” investment. 

 Upon the Award, P & ID commenced recognition and enforcement proceedings of the arbitration award against FGN in March 2018 in both the United Kingdom (“UK”) and the United States of America (the “United States”). 

 The FGN is duly represented in the proceedings in the United States by the Law Firm of Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP which also represented it in the UK  proceedings of which judgement was given on 16th August 2019 in favour of the P&ID to commence enforcement proceeding against the FGN assets in the UK. 

Recall further that this matter was inherited from the previous Administration by the present one. Upon inheriting this matter, this Government engaged the renowned US Law Firm of Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP to defend the interest of the FGN.  

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 The Law Firm has taken a step to defend the proceedings in the United Stated by urging the District Court to dismiss the P&ID application for enforcement of the award on the ground that Nigeria as a sovereign state has an absolute right to obtain an authoritative determination of its sovereign immunity.  

 The FGN, therefore, demanded that the jurisdictional issue must be conclusively resolved before Nigeria may be required to litigate the merits of P&ID’s petition. 

 P&ID has variously challenged Nigeria’s position urging the District Court to direct Nigeria to file both its jurisdiction and merit defenses as a consolidated defense so that the proceedings may be disposed of by the District Court summarily. 

 The FGN has however pursued the validity of its jurisdictional defense as a preliminary matter which must be conclusively resolved prior to any consideration of the merit argument up to the Court of Appeal. 

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In a ruling on 9th October 2018, the District Court granted a stay of proceedings pending a determination of the appeal. 

P&ID has also subsequently filed motions to have Nigeria’s appeal certified as frivolous and to have proceedings in the District Court continue pending determination of the appeal at the Court of Appeal. 

On 1st November 2018, the US District Court issued a decision in favour of FGN denying P & ID’s further attempt to certify Nigeria’s appeal as frivolous and denied P&ID’s attempt to lift the stay of proceedings. 

On 15 February 2019, the Court of Appeal issued a decision in favour of FGN by dismissing P&ID’s motion requesting the court to dismiss Nigeria’s appeal for lack of jurisdiction or to summarily affirm the scheduling order of the District Court. 

The proceedings, therefore, are currently on-going in the United States and the FGN will ensure that its interest and that of the people of Nigeria are vigorously defended. 

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As regards the recent Judgment of the English Court of 16 August 2019, the Federal Government’s Counsel has been instructed to pursue an appeal on the judgment of the English Court dated 16 August 2019 and at the same time seek for a Stay of Execution of the said judgment. 

In view of the above, please be informed that the Federal Government of Nigeria is making vigorous efforts to defend its interest in this matter and would not relent in exploring every viable option in doing so. 

Samuel is an Analyst with over 5 years experience. Connect with him via his twitter handle

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Coronavirus

FG approves N8.49billion to procure COVID-19 testing Kits, others

The fund is to procure 12 items in various quantities to strengthen the testing for COVID-19.

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President Muhammadu Buhari's full speech at China-Africa Extraordinary Summit on June 17, 2020

The federal government has approved N8.49 billion to procure 12 items in various quantities to strengthen the testing for COVID-19 by Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

The approval was given during the 11th virtual meeting of the Federal Executive Council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday.

The approval was based on a memorandum presented to the council by the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire.

He was joined at the post-FEC press briefing by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; and the Minister of Environment, Muhammad Mahmood.

He explained that the approval was made to further equip the NCDC to respond appropriately to the community transmission phase of the pandemic.

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Coronavirus

COVID-19: Russia to start mass inoculation of vaccine this month as it insists on its safety

The vaccine is said to be undergoing Phase 3 trials, which is the final stage.

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COVID-19: J&J starts vaccine trials on humans after success on monkeys

Russia has announced that it was going to start mass vaccination of the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine this month before the completion of clinical testing. This is just as it waved off concerns by the international community and some scientists about the safety of the vaccine.

These views were made known by the Russian Health Minister, Mikhail Murashko, on Wednesday, August 12, 2020, during a press briefing.

The Health Minister in his statement said, ‘’Western colleagues, who can sense the competitive advantage of the Russian drug, are trying to express some opinions that are completely unjustified in our view. This vaccine is a platform that is already well-known and studied,” he said, adding that other countries have developed antidotes under accelerated testing programs.’’

READ MORE: COVID-19: WHO warns there may never be an immediate solution to the virus

Murashko also said that the authorities plan to start inoculating medical workers and other risk groups within 2 weeks on a voluntary basis while pointing out that the vaccine will be made available to the general public from October.

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Nairametrics had reported yesterday that the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, in a televised meeting, announced that Russia has registered the first COVID-19 vaccine in what they see as a propaganda coup amid the global race for the development of a vaccine against the coronavirus disease.

This announcement has raised a lot of international concerns with the German Health Minister, Jens Spahn, saying on Wednesday, that Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine has not been sufficiently tested, adding that the aim was to have a safe product rather than just being first to start vaccinating people.

He said in a radio chat that it’s not about being first but rather about having an effective, tested and safe vaccine.

Experts have expressed their concerns over Russia’s decision to grant approval before the final trials of the vaccine have been completed.

READ MORE: WHO gives condition for approving Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine as the vaccine gets a name

He said that as much as he will be pleased to have a good vaccine for the virus, he pointed out that the Russians are not disclosing much about this vaccine.

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This vaccine which is developed by Gamaleya Institute in collaboration with the Defence Ministry and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), is said to be undergoing Phase 3 trials, which is the final stage.

However, a World Health Organization (WHO) database still lists the vaccine as still only in Phase 1 trial, which is the earliest stage.

The RDIF said that it can produce over 500 million doses of the new vaccine in a year in 5 countries, just as it disclosed that a minimum of 20 countries are currently interested in having access to these vaccines.

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The WHO had earlier revealed that it is currently discussing with Russia and pointed out that in granting prequalification of the vaccine, a detailed review of data from clinical trials will be required.

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Economy & Politics

FG completes 11 projects to drive Digital Economy

The government has been pushing the Digital Economy in a bid to diversify economic productivity.

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FG completes 11 projects to drive Digital Economy, FG orders NIPOST to stop cash transactions , Pantami moves to ban automatic voicemail service by telcos  , Why Nigeria’s Data woes may not end soon , Pantami reacts to CBN’s ATM fee cut, keeps mute on directive to cut data cost , Pantami condemns FIRS move to collect stamp duty, MTN, Airtel, others disregarding Pantami’s voicemail, data directives on all front , FG warns State governments against RoW charge increase, FG reiterates commitment towards implementing broadband strategy ,FG reiterates commitment to 75% broadband penetration in 5 years 

The Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy announced that it has completed 11 projects to drive its Digital Economy programme.

This was announced by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, during the phase 2 commissioning of Nigeria’s Digital Economy drive.

The Nigerian Government has been pushing the Digital Economy in a bid to create growth and diversify economic productivity in the nation, starting with the Digital Economy drive which was added to the portfolio of the Ministry of Communications.

READ MORE: Nigeria’s broadband penetration rises, yet internet remains slowest in the world

Nairametrics reported last month that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) also approved the creation of a Digital Economy Department, which will be responsible for promoting the digital economic agenda of the federal government. The department will renew the commission’s strategy for delivering its programmes and policies, and give the necessary push to promote the national digital economy.

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The projects were launched with the supervision of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and would be operated by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA) Nigerian Postal Services (NIPOST ) and The Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) and would be located nationwide.

READ ALSO: NCC issues 10 new VAS licences in 2019, projects market to hit $500 million 

The 11 projects are:

  1. Emergency Communications Centre (ECC) llorin, Kwara State.
  2. Emergency Communications Centre (ECC) Calabar, Cross River State.
  3. School Knowledge Centre (SKC), Gombe State.
  4. Information Technology Innovation Centre, Kogi State.
  5. Tertiary Institution Knowledge Centre (TIKC), Delta State.
  6. New Neighborhood Post Office, Delta State.
  7. Remodelled National Mail Exchange Centre, Bayelsa State.
  8. e-Health/Data Sharing Centre, Bauchi State.
  9. Virtual Examination Centre, Borno State.
  10. Information Technology Capacity Building Centre, Jigawa State.
  11. Information Technology Capacity Building Centre, Imo State.

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