- P&ID Instructs Lawyers to Start Identifying Nigeria’s Assets
Following the over $9 billion arbitration fine against the Federal Government of Nigeria, P&ID has instructed its lawyers to start identifying Nigeria’s assets overseas.
According to an e-mail issued by the Irish firm, the company is currently focusing on identifying assets that could be seized to enforce the recent judgment by a British commerce court.
In the email released by P&ID’s representative, Mr John Ehiguese, the firm said, “We cannot confirm specifics. However, the P&ID’s legal team is working diligently to identify and target assets that may be used for enforcement of the tribunal award.”
“There have been many successful enforcement cases against sovereign states in the past.”
“In the case against Argentina, creditors detained an Argentine naval vessel; in the case against Venezuela, there was the seizure of state-owned oil cargo. There is a wide range of potential assets.”
Still, P&ID hope the president Buhari led administration will enter into a negotiation with the company in order to avoid further disruption to economic outlook and investment sentiment.
It stated, “The real question is: is the Nigerian Government willing to enter good-faith negotiations? The ball is now in the court of the Buhari Administration to demonstrate a mature, good-faith approach to a resolution; their legal arguments have been completely rejected.
“In the meantime, the P&ID will look to seize Nigeria’s assets in the UK to enforce the award as soon as possible. The company’s current focus is vigorously enforcing the award.
“The onus is on the Nigerian government and the Buhari Administration to demonstrate a mature, good-faith approach to a resolution.”
Last week, the Central Bank of Nigeria said it would defend Nigeria’s external reserves against any court judgment and immediately commence a process to appeal the judgment.
The over $9 billion is equivalent to 20 percent of Nigeria’s current foreign reserves and has raised doubt among potential investors on Nigeria’s viability to survive a 20 percent plunge in its already weak reserves.
The yield on Nigeria’s bonds rose to over 14 percent last week, yet investors undersubscribed for FGN bonds for the first time in two years as they are demanding an even higher yield for taking more risk by holding Nigeria’s assets despite current headwinds.
The Irish firm, however, accused Buhari administration of engaging in smear campaign instead of a good-faith approach to permanent resolution after almost 20 years.
It said, “Instead of accepting responsibility or pursuing a negotiated settlement, the Buhari administration has regrettably chosen to continue its campaign of misinformation and misdirection, including wild allegations against the English judge and commencing a sham investigation.
“This approach is not constructive, and will not help to resolve the situation. The P&ID will begin enforcing its legal rights, including the seizure of Nigerian assets in the UK.”