A judge in London said on Friday he would grant a firm called Process and Industrial Developments Ltd (P&ID) the right to seek to seize some $9 billion in assets from the Nigerian government over an aborted gas project.
The company was awarded $6.6 billion in an arbitration decision over a failed project to build a gas processing plant in Calabar. With interest payments, the sum now tops $9 billion – some 20% of Nigeria’s foreign reserves
The judge’s decision, issued on Friday, converts the arbitration award to a legal judgement, which would allow P&ID to try to seize international assets.
Lawyers representing the Nigerian government argued the award should not be enforced because England was not the correct place for the case, and even if it were, the amount awarded was “manifestly excessive.”
Mr Justice Butcher of the Commercial Court rejected these arguments and said he would “receive submissions from the parties as to the precise form of order appropriate.”
A spokesman for Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari directed requests for comment to the Ministry of Justice, which did not immediately respond. The law firm representing the Nigerian government in London also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.