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$9bn judgment debt: UK court decides Nigeria’s fate

A firm incorporated in the British Virgin Islands will ask a British court today for the right to seize up to $9 billion of Nigerian government assets – some 20 percent of the nation’s foreign reserves – over an aborted gas project in the Jonathan years.

The case highlights a risk to Nigeria’s foreign assets, potentially clouding its appeal to some investors, Reuters reported.

The request is part of a long-running saga over a 2010 deal in which the Nigerian government agreed to supply gas to a processing plant in Calabar, Cross River state that Process and Industrial Developments Ltd (P&ID) – a little-known firm founded by two Irish businessmen specifically for the project – would build and run.

When the deal went south, P&ID won a $6.6 billion award at arbitration, based on what it could have earned during the 20-year agreement. It now says the total owed has ballooned to $9 billon because of interest accrued since 2013 .

Nigeria has tried to nullify the award, saying it was not subject to international arbitration but British courts rejected the argument.

P&ID is now asking the Commercial Court in London to convert the arbitration into a judgement, which would allow them to try to seize international assets.