* Denies change of counsel
By Alex Enumah in Abuja
The federal government on Wednesday said it has started implementing enhanced strategies geared towards setting aside the entire Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) liability and possible nullification of the contract.
The revelation, which was contained in a statement by the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), is coming less than five days to the November 25 deadline for Nigeria to deposit the sum of $250 million before her appeal against the judgment can be heard.
The statement was signed by Malami’s Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Dr Umar Gwandu, and made available to newsmen in Abuja.
Malami said contrary to reports, under the new strategy, no lawyers were replaced, but more lawyers with specialized skills both locally and internationally were engaged to support the existing capacity and initiate fresh suits with a view to achieve the desired result.
Shedding more light on the fresh move, the minister said: “This time around, it is not limited to a challenge on enforcement proceedings, but extended to setting aside the entire liability and probably the nullification of the contract on the basis of which the award was hinged.”
While repudiating the allegation on replacement of the Nigerian legal team on P&ID, Malami said: “Our lawyers originally engaged have proven to be versatile, competent and effective and constitute our winning team. They have such capacity which we do not doubt in their ability to deliver.
“There was no change of counsel, but enhanced strategy commonly agreed upon which was targeted at getting overall success.”
Malami had described the P&ID contract as a well-organized scam “consciously, deliberately and intentionally orchestrated by some dubious and well-placed Nigerian government officials at the time with some shrewd foreign collaborators to defraud Nigeria and inflict heavy economic and financial loss on Nigeria and its people”.
He vowed that the Nigerian government will not sell out the interest of the country and the Nigerian people in order to satisfy some elements who are consciously out to extort the Nigerian people for their selfish aggrandizement.
“We will not allow fraudulent local and foreign collaborators to rip off the resources of Nigeria for no just cause but merely to be seen as being nice or ‘investor-friendly’,” he reaffirmed.