President Muhammadu Buhari

$9.6bn judgment: Nigerian lawyer demands MoU with P&ID

NEWS DIGEST–A lawyer, Dr Kayode Ajulo, has requested the copies of the Memorandums of Understanding between the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and British firm, the Process and Industrial Development, between June 2007 and March 2010.

He said the invocation of the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2011 followed the award of $9.6bn against Nigeria by a British court and the ongoing fight to reverse the judgment.

The founder of Egalitarian Mission for Africa, a civil rights organisation, in a letter addressed to the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, alleged that due process was not followed before signing the MoU.

Ajulo, who stated that the MoU dated July 22, 2009 for the processing of natural gas in Nigeria, expressed concern that it was a period when the late President Umaru Yar’Adu was in a life-threatening health condition, raising suspicion that due process was not followed.

He said, “Facts gathered showed that due process of law was not followed before signing the Memorandum of Understanding, which made it a hoax and façade in the first place.

“The Public Procurement Act 2007 expressly provides that all public procurement shall be conducted based only on procurement plans supported by prior-budgetary appropriations and no procurement proceedings shall be formalised until the procuring entity has ensured that funds are available to meet the obligations.”

While referring to Section 16 of the Act, he alleged that “the most fraudulent aspect of the ‘illegal’ Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and P&ID is the humongous arbitral award to the latter which in our belief is a sham and an attempt at economic sabotage”.

Ajulo added that his law firm was out to save the Nigerian economy following the $9.6bn award against the country.

The legal practitioner said he had been informed that other MoUs were signed by then-Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr Rilwanu Lukman, during the Yar’Adua government.

He urged Malami to ensure that the MoUs were properly reviewed to salvage the nation’s economy from “any attendant economic crisis that may arise from such agreements”.