My attention has been drawn to statements credited to General Muhammadu Buhari’s newly retained Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), wherein the said minister blamed the embarrassing fiasco, that is, the $8.9 billion judgment debt on the preceding Jonathan administration.
Speaking at his resumption at his ministry, Mr. Malami said, inter alia, as follows:
“Nigerians woke up on Friday, August 16, 2019, to the rudest consequences of the underhand dealings of the past administration that has resulted in the award of $9 billion against the Federal Republic of Nigeria by a British court which ruled that Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID) had the right to seize $9 billion in Nigerian assets.”
The above is nothing but a deliberate misinformation by an incompetent administration that is steeped in propaganda and wants to pull the wool over the eyes of Nigerians.
The fact of the matter is that the preceding Jonathan government had no hand in the conception, negotiation and signing of the said P&ID contract. The contract was signed in January of 2010, whereas the Jonathan administration came into being, in acting capacity, on February 9, 2010. The only role that the preceding Jonathan administration played was that of damage control. However, such patriotic efforts were frustrated by Mr. Malami himself, along with his boss, General Buhari.
Yes, the Jonathan administration was involved in negotiating a settlement with P&ID when the company initially went to arbitration. In the first instance, it negotiated down the demand by P&ID for loss of revenue to $1.5bn, then, this was again brought down to about $850m by that government. This was at the tail end of that administration. Negotiations were still ongoing and these were included in the handover notes to the Buhari regime.
However, rather than accede to the counsel of the previous government in the handover notes, the whole matter was messed up by the present government, partly because General Buhari did not have a government in place for 6 months after he was sworn in on May 29, 2015, which meant that Nigeria was not properly represented at the arbitration. It is the suspicion that some officials in this government wanted Nigeria to lose, so that they could be settled by P&ID.
Thereafter, the Buhari government treated the whole issue with levity. Through our informants in the current government, we learnt, that during a meeting Mr. Yemi Osinbajo held with the then Minister for Power, Mr. Tunde Fashola in late 2015, the latter dismissed the court case, saying it was of no significance. In another meeting held amongst Mr. Osinbajo, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu, Mr. Malami and Mr. Supo Shasore, who had obtained an injunction at the Federal High Court against the seat of arbitration, Mr. Malami again treated the case with levity and informed Mr. Shasore and Mr. Osinbajo that another set of lawyers had been appointed to defend Nigeria at the commercial court in London.
Premium Times, a newspaper that was much opposed to the Jonathan administration had, in an investigative report, showed how the current administration deliberately messed up the case in the myopic view that they could use it to spite the previous government.
The Buhari government should stop finger-pointing and start looking for solutions to its own self-induced challenges. It must be aware that it is too late in the day to rewrite history.
Finally, I note that Mr. Malami has said, at the news conference, that he was going to supersede his previous achievements at the ministry of justice.
My take on that is that it will not be very hard to do that since Mr. Malami had little or no achievements to write home about at the ministry. What do Nigerians know him for? Mr. Malami is best known for going to court to stop the Nigerian Senate’s probe into who recalled, reinstated and double-promoted Maina, the pension thief. Is that an achievement? Mr. Malami should not insult our intelligence! He should be better described as Minister for Injustice.
Thinker. #1 Bestselling author of Facts Versus Fiction: The True Story of the Jonathan Years. Avid traveller. Table Shaker. Buhari Tormentor. Exposer of Liars.