Process & Industrial Developments, a natural gas company, won a court ruling on Friday in London that may force the FG to pay it about $9 billion, potentially the largest financial liability in Nigeria’s history. The oil firm, which is backed by a Cayman Island-based hedge fund, was awarded $6.6 billion in an arbitration decision over a failed project to build a gas processing plant in Calabar. With interest payments, the sum now tops $9 billion, about 20 percent of Nigeria’s foreign reserves. The decision by the court converts the arbitration award to a legal judgement, which would allow P&ID to try and seize international assets. The company’s lawyer Andrew Stafford said the firm is committed to vigorously enforcing its rights and intends to begin the process of seizing Nigerian assets in order to satisfy this award as soon as possible. Lawyers representing the Nigerian government, however, argued that the award should not be enforced because England was not the correct place for the case, and even if it were, the amount awarded was “manifestly excessive.” The country’s solicitor general, Dayo Apata, said that the Nigerian government would appeal the decision.
Customs officials raided a warehouse in Lagos on Friday where cartons of codeine, tramadol, and other illegal drugs worth ₦5 billion were kept. A suspect has been arrested. Three weeks ago, the agency in collaboration with the National Administration of Food Drug Administration and Control destroyed a 48×40 foot container filled with controlled drugs worth ₦146billion at a destruction site in Ogun State. Last year, Nigeria banned the import and production of the codeine, tramadol among other medicines-turned-street-drugs after the BBC released “Sweet Sweet Codeine,” a documentary that showed pharmaceutical-company staff selling large amounts of cough syrup to undercover BBC reporters. The government claimed the ban was the result of an internal investigation and not related to the BBC report.
17 sailors, nine Chinese and eight Ukrainian, were abducted from two ships that were attacked while they were anchored off Douala port in Cameroonian. The attacks took place on Thursday, making it the latest act of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. A Cameroonian security official said that Cameroon’s security forces had launched a search for the kidnappers. Russian news agency TASS quoted a statement by Russia’s foreign ministry as saying that three of the kidnapped sailors were Russian nationals. Many Ukrainians also hold Russian citizenship. The Gulf of Guinea, whose coastline stretches in a huge arc from Liberia to Gabon, is notorious for piracy as well as oil theft, illegal fishing and human and drugs trafficking. According to Noel Choong, a spokesman for the International Maritime Bureau, one of the ships was a multipurpose German-owned ship that flew the flag of Antigua and Barbuda. The other vessel was a Liberian-flagged bulk carrier managed in Greece with a Greek owner.
President Buhari has asked the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Babatunde Fowler, to explain the discrepancies in tax collected by the agency since 2015. Fowler, whose tenure expired on Saturday, was asked to explain differences between the budgeted collections and actual collections for the period 2015 to 2018. In the query stamp-dated 8 August, the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, said the presidency “observed significant variances between the budgeted collections and actual collections for the period 2015 to 2018.” The FIRS under Fowler, since 2015, has not been able to meet collection targets, a different trend from the preceding years. The breakdown of the collections showed that 2015, FIRS set ₦4.7 trillion targets but was only able to make ₦3.7 trillion in the actual collection. In 2016, 2017 and 2018, the target collections were ₦4.2 trillion, N4.8 trillion and ₦6.7 trillion but the actual collections were ₦3.3 trillion, ₦4.0 trillion and N5.3 trillion, respectively.