Senate summons Malami, others

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The senate has summoned attorney-general of the federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, over the judgement secured by the Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID) against Nigeria.

It asked officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to appear alongside Malami.

The lawmakers took the decision after adopting a motion brought before it under Matters of Urgent National Importance, by Michael Bamidele (PDP, Ekiti).

While moving the motion, yesterday, Bamidele said there was the need for the AGF to brief the Senate on the matter.

The lawmaker said the issue was an important one that required the attention of the National Assembly.

The motion was adopted after it was put to a voice vote by Senate President Ahmad Lawan. The House of Representatives had last week also resolved to invite the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, for questioning.

P&ID claimed it entered a contract to build a gas processing plant in Calabar, Cross River State, with the Federal Government, but that the deal collapsed because the government did not fulfill its own end of the bargain.

In August, the UK’s Business & Property Courts granted P&ID’s request to enforce a 2013 award against Nigeria by a three-member arbitration tribunal.

The tribunal relied on the Arbitration Act 1996 (England and Wales) and the Nigerian Arbitration and Conciliation Act 2004.

Malami has assured that Nigeria will do “whatever it takes” to protect its economy from a more than $9 billion arbitration claim over a failed gas project, saying the government will not rule out a settlement with a firm registered in the British Virgin Islands.

“We will do whatever it takes to ensure the protection of the interests of the Nigerian government and the Nigerian people.”

Asked if the country would be open to an out-of-court settlement, Malami said he was not ruling out any possibilities though Nigeria had not been approached formally by P&ID.

Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, also on the delegation, said he expected most assets would not be affected but said the government was assessing for vulnerabilities.

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