LAST week’s turn of events in a Nigerian court over the Process & Industrial Development Limited, P&ID, group appears to have given some ray of hope to the distraught band of Nigerian public policy executives who have responsibility for salvaging the nation from the scandalous transaction and the subsequent judgement debt. But it is still too early to celebrate.
However, the Federal Government has gone further than the court verdict to launch an international campaign against P&ID. President Muhammadu Buhari, at the recent United Nations General Assembly, UNGA, called the contract and judgement debt “scams to fleece Nigeria”.
Also, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, was part of a team which included the Central Bank, CBN, Governor, Godwin Emefiele and the Inspector- General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, which travelled to London last week for the legal battle to see if the judgement could be quashed.
We commend these flurry of efforts led by the Commander-in-Chief, Buhari. Nigeria cannot simply afford to pay such sum when the country has continued to borrow from home and abroad to ensure the continuation of effective governance.
What most discerning observers would like to see is the value of the domestic legal ‘victory’ delivered by a Federal High Court Judge, Justice Edward Ekwo, in the international space where the judgement debt was imposed.
The real question is, how do we get the judgement debt quashed in the international courts? After that, we must come back home and investigate all Nigerians who played roles in this scam. These include officials of the Petroleum Ministry, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, OAGF, from the Yar’ Adua regime till date, along with their private sector cohorts.
Those found culpable of complicity or failure to pursue this case before the original minor judgement debt was imposed must be punished for economic sabotage.
This investigation should not be allowed in the hands of the AGF because he and some elements of the Buhari administration are being accused of negligence of duty. We would like the relevant Committees of the National Assembly to investigate this issue through a public hearing, inviting all who have questions to answer.
We do not align ourselves with the decision of the AGF to set up a panel on P&ID case. Those who might be parties to a case must never be allowed to investigate others.
They will leave themselves out though they might be culpable. This is an issue of utmost national interest and should be handled without fear or favour to anyone involved.
We hope the powers that be would learn from this episode and from now henceforth, take proper care not to mortgage the future of Nigerians at the altar of selfish aggrandisement.