Nigeria has been ordered to pay $ 9.6 billion, or 20 percent of its foreign exchange reserves, to Process and Industrial Developments Ltd, in a dispute between the two parties over an abortive gas project. In a decision handed down by a London court on Friday, the company was granted the right to seize assets from Nigeria.

The sum is colossal for a project that never saw the light of day! The English court delivered its verdict, Friday, August 16, in the dispute between the federal state of Nigeria to the company Process and Industrial Developments Ltd. (P & ID). The company was given the right, according to a London court decision, to seize more than $ 9 billion in assets from the Nigerian state.

The verdict follows a first arbitration decision in which Nigeria was sentenced to pay $ 6.6 billion to P & ID in the same litigation. With interest payments, the sum reached $ 9.6 billion, or about 20 percent of Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves, according to Reuters estimates.

The court’s decision converts the arbitration award into a judicial decision, which allows P & ID to seize Nigeria’s assets or international assets to recover its rights. ” P & ID is determined to enforce its rights vigorously and we intend to begin the capture process of Nigerian assets to meet this recognition as soon as possible “, told Reuters Andrew Stafford, the firm Kobre & Kim, who represents P & ID.

An abortive gas project at the base of litigation

The case dates back to 2010, the time of former President Goodluck Jonathan. At the time, the Nigerian government signed a contract with P & ID, owned by Irish businessmen (Michael Quinn and Brendan Cahill), for a gas project in Calabar, Cross River State, in the United States. southeast of the country.

The industrial complex is expected to be built and operated by the company for the production of energy, including propane, ethane and butane, which will be sold on the international market by P & ID, which specializes in the chemical industry. The project never saw the light of day because of the Nigerian government’s failure to meet certain commitments, including the construction of some transport infrastructure.

In 2012, P & ID initiated an arbitration procedure on the failure of the transaction. The company eventually wins the case and pays $ 6.6 billion by the Nigerian government for damages. An amount that P & ID could have earned if the 20-year agreement had been honoured.

The Nigerian government challenged the arbitration and at the London trial, its lawyers pointed to the territorial incompetence of a lawsuit in England. They also pointed out that even if they did, the amount allocated was ” manifestly excessive “. Arguments rejected by the English justice that condemns Nigeria to pay the amount due, or failing that, to see some of his property and assets, including in England, seized by order of the court.