Stay away from Nigeria, Buhari doesn't obey law, court orders, ex-British minister tells investors - Breaking News in Nigeria today 247 | TheWatchNGR


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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Stay away from Nigeria, Buhari doesn't obey law, court orders, ex-British minister tells investors

Stay away from Nigeria, Buhari doesn't obey law, court orders, ex-British minister tells investors

A former Secretary of State for
International Development of the United Kingdom, Priti Patel, has warned
investors to be wary of investing in Nigeria.

In an op-ed for City A.M.,
Patel, who is a member of the British parliament, claimed that President
Muhammadu Buhari was not in the habit of obeying law and court orders.

Patel cited the case of a firm owned by
two Irishmen, which got a contract in Nigeria in 2010, adding that
Buhari, upon assuming office in 2015, cancelled the contract.

Patel claimed that the firm’s efforts to
get compensation through the court were also frustrated as Buhari
refused to obey court decisions made in favour of the foreign firm.

Patel said, “In Nigeria, the unhappy
experience of the firm founded by two Irishmen, Process and Industrial
Development, is a case in point, and demonstrates the risk that
businesses will face in Nigeria.

“In 2010, P&ID signed a 20-year
contract with the Nigerian government to create a new natural gas
development refinery, but the project fell through after the Nigerian
government reneged on its contractual commitments.

“Upon taking office, President Buhari promptly cancelled a compensation settlement.

“Since Buhari reneged on this deal,
P&ID has undertaken legal efforts to affirm a tribunal award, first
decided in London. It also made several attempts in court to force the
Nigerian government to respect its obligations.

“The most recent court decision at a
London tribunal confirmed that the Nigerian government owes P&ID
almost $9bn for the initial breach of contract, loss of income,
additional costs, and interest accrued after five years of non-payment.

“However, the Nigerian government has
continued to flout international law and convention, and it refuses to
respect the various court decisions.

“Investors must consider this long-running scandal and weigh this obstinacy against Nigeria’s mishandled economic potential.”

He added, “Nigeria is ranked 145th in
the world for its ease of doing business, which demonstrates the risks
of investment into Nigeria.”

Responding, the Director-General, Lagos
Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Muda Yusuf, said it was not right for
Patel to make such a generalisation about investing in Nigeria.

Yusuf said, “I don’t think people should
rely on that kind of statement in order to make a decision on whether
to invest or not. What is most important to an investor is the
opportunity that exists to make profit in an environment,” he said.

Also, the Managing Director, Footprints
for Africa, Mr Osita Oparaugo, called on the Federal Government to erase
the poor perception of foreign investors about the Nigerian business

He said, “When an agreement is signed,
the government must stick to it. There should be continuity of
government programmes because lack of continuity in government
programmes creates uncertainty.”

On its part, the opposition Peoples
Democratic Party said it was unfortunate that Buhari had given the
country bad image abroad, with his alleged penchant for disobeying court

A presidency source said Patel’s claims were being analysed by government.

However, the Presidency described Patel
warning as “lacking in substance and devoid of merit in empirical
evidence established by facts.”

The President’s Senior Special Assistant
on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, in a statement said, “Her claim
is a fabrication that cannot be supported by the facts on the ground.”

“Nigerian has recognised the rights of
investors, both local and foreign, as enshrined in our constitution,
which states clearly that no investment can be taken from its owners
without recourse to the law. Given the constitution, you don’t even need
international protection for assets held in this country.

“Beyond this, we have established a
proper climate of investment on account of which, the nation has gained
24 points of excellence in the global ease of doing business index.”

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