The house of representatives has resolved to review all the treaties and agreements signed by the Nigerian government to avoid a repeat of the $9.6 billion judgement awarded against the country.
A British court had awarded the damages against Nigeria over claims that the country did not fulfil its own part of 20-year gas supply and processing agreement with Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID).
However, the deal had been criticised by various government agencies including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) now investigating it.
Condemning the $9.6 billion judgement award at plenary on Wednesday, the lower chamber agreed to invite Abubakar Malami, minister of justice, and Timipre Sylva, minister for state for petroleum resources, over the matter.
Moving a motion on the judgement, Julius Ihonvbere from Edo state said its effect would be devastating on Nigeria’s economy.
He condemned Nigeria’s “disregard for contractual agreement” as well as government’s alleged failure to act on the court processes before the final judgement.
He said: “Nigeria has a penchant for disregarding the sanctity of contracts and terms of agreement, coupled with the failure of Nigeria’s representatives in many cases, to carefully scrutinise agreements they sign.
“The agreement was somewhat shrouded in secrecy and dubiously procured as those who ought to know about its existence did not.
“More importantly, the relevant laws in Nigeria for the transaction to be consummated was not applied especially, part IV of the Bureau of Public Procurement Act 2007 which deals with the fundamental principles of procurement.”
He added that rather than properly engage P&ID in the matter, “Nigeria was busy shopping for a favourite forum to plead her case in a court in Lagos”.
He said the issue has exposed the “deep decay in our governance and leadership infrastructure with far-reaching implications for the credibility of the country’s capacity to handle business and legal cases.”
On his part, Luke Onofiok from Akwa Ibom state said: “This debt will put a hole in our budget, this issue will put a hole at a time when we are spending trillions to service the deficits”.
The lawmakers subsequently approved the notion and resolved to set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the matter and report back by September 30.
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