Treat economic saboteurs as criminals, says public analyst

Lagos, A public affairs analyst, Mr Jerry Amao, says any erring Nigerian found guilty of negligence or economic sabotage, which could bring the country into disrepute, should be treated as criminal.

Amao said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) on Saturday in Lagos.

He also recommended that, henceforth, any government official found wanting in decision-making should be held responsible for any financial breach against the Nigerian government.

The consultant was reacting to the Oct. 23 victory by Nigeria, at a London High Court which set aside the arbitration award of January 2017 by PandID, a British Virgin Islands company against Nigeria.

He added that punitive action on any untoward act against the country should be countered with force.

According to him, those in position of responsibility and decision-making must, henceforth, be held liable for any misdemeanour and answerable for their actions.

‘’The tribunal identified several instances where key recommendations concerning the arbitration were not acted upon by the officers responsible, including Ministers of Justice and of Petroleum Resource.

‘’The court has come to Nigeria’s rescue this time, but it is clear from the judgement that if the heads of the relevant ministries had performed their duties effectively, this case might not have arisen at all,” Amao said.

The consultant opined that the court was ‘’very critical’’ of the Gas Supply and Purchase Agreement, (GSPA) to supply gas to a PandID project that was to be located in Calabar, Cross River State.

‘’One of the major lessons from the case is that the nation must ensure that contracts entered into by government are prepared by competent and experienced legal and other experts.

‘’The court was very critical of the GSPA and the obligations that Nigeria assumed under the contract,’’ the expert noted.

Recall that the country was triumphant in a London Court which set aside the arbitration award obtained in January 2017 by the British firm against Nigeria.

Originally, the award was about $6.6 billion but rose to about 11billion as of the date of the final judgement because of interest.

The PandID had instituted the suit against Nigeria before the arbitral tribunal, alleging a breach of agreement for the supply of gas to a project to be located in Nigeria’s Cross River State.

However, Nigeria was able to, successfully obtain leave of the London High Court in September 2020 to appeal against the tribunal award, the hearing which lasted eight weeks between January and March.(NAN)

Source: News Agency of Nigeria