The Federal Government has stated that it had directed its lawyers to seek the leave of the Court of Appeal to appeal the ruling of Justice Christopher Butcher of the Commercial Court in London that asked Nigeria to pay $200m security payment into the court’s account while granting request to stay execution in the $9.6bn award in favour of Process and Industrial Development Limited.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who was part of the government’s delegation to London last week disclosed this to reporters in Abuja on Wednesday.
He said the government retained international legal firm of Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP, for the case.
Apart from the $200m, the minister said the government would be able to seek refund of the $250,000 it was asked to pay to P&ID if the appeal succeeded.
Mohammed said contrary to claims by the P&ID and “its cohorts”, the government delegation’s trip to London was a successful one.
Describing the objective of the delegation as an accomplished one, the minister said the firm had every reason to be worried that the $9.6bn arbitration awarded to it had a good chance of being overturned.
His words: “The Federal Government has a good chance of being successful in its impending appeal, otherwise the Commercial Court would not have allowed the appeal.
“Please note that Nigeria will be able to demand a refund of the 250,000 GBP payment to P&ID where the government wins on the appeal. This fact is being hidden by those who have been spinning the London judgment in their own favour.
“On the $200m payment as a condition for the granting of the stay of execution, Nigeria has instructed its lawyers to seek the leave of the Court of Appeal to appeal against that payment.
“Nigerians should remain assured that the Federal Government is taking all necessary steps to strongly avail itself of all defences customarily afforded to sovereign states under the United Kingdom Sovereign Immunity Act to fight and upturn any enforcement of the award.
“In the words of Mr President at the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in New York last week, 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.”
The minister said the Federal Government had succeeded in changing the “false narrative” being peddled by the P&ID both within and outside Nigeria by putting across trying to prove that the company is a fraud.
“For those who may still not understand the gravity of the judgment of the Commercial Court in London last week, let me say that had we lost our quest for a stay of execution and application to appeal in London last week, P&ID would by now be attempting to seize our assets all over the world.
“Remember they boasted before the judgment that they had started compiling a list of our assets which they would attach. But now, that’s an empty boast, thanks to the successes recorded in the court of law and the court of public opinion last week,” Mohammed said.