By Emmanuel Afonne
Some Civil Society Organisations in the country have warned against plans by some unpatriotic groups to blackmail the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, following the 9.6 billion dollars judgement obtained by Process and Industrial Developments Ltd (P & ID).
The CSOs – Guardians of Democracy and Development (GODD) in conjunction with Transparency and Accountability Initiative against Corruption (TAIC) and five other groups gave the warning during a news conference in Abuja on Friday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that P & ID recently won a suit filed in 2014 at the Arbitration Tribunal in UK, against the Federal Government granting it the right to seize $9.6bn in Nigerian assets after the collapse of a Gas Sales and Purchase Agreement (GSPA).
But Mr Solomon Adodo, Convener of GODD, who briefed the press alongside Malam Suleiman Musa, Executive Director, TAIC, said the alleged blackmail was to pave way for a hasty implementation of the $9.6 billion judgement.
“As a Civil Society Group deeply concerned about entrenching transparency and accountable leadership in the quest for economic growth and democratic stability, we have keenly followed the trajectory of events pertaining to the gas processing contract entered into between the Federal Government of Nigeria and P & ID.
“In all of these stages the matters that unfolded have been factually clear for any discerning mind to know the origins and processes of the contract.
“Irrespective of the glaring facts about the said contract and subsequent judgement, we have got wind of a bluntly determined attempt by hired unpatriotic civil society groups to blackmail the person of the Attorney General of the Federation – Mr Abubakar Malami SAN.
“This is in a bid to pass the buck and pave way for the hasty implementation of the 9.6 billion dollars judgement premised on a sham lawsuit filed at a Court in the UK.
“Furthermore, a cursory check will reveal that several other parties were integrated into the contract with clearly defined roles and to the extent that their roles could affect the outcome of the contract.
“It is no hidden fact that some of these sub-parties to the contract pulled out on the course of time leading to the failure of the said contract,” Adodo said.
According to Adodo, Malami’s name should not in a way be mentioned in the said deal since the contract was signed in January, 2010 when Mr Michael Quinn of P & ID and Mr Rilwanu Lukman, the then Minister of Petroleum Resources were the ones responsible.
“It should be stated in clear terms that Abubakar Malami was not the Attorney General and Minister of Justice neither did he have any role to play in the said contract.
“It is therefore mischievous to accuse Mr Malami of sabotaging the Federal Government’s effort whereas he was not there from onset.
“Our findings reveal that some civil society groups have been allegedly penciled down and to be used to distract the Honorable Attorney General of the Federation while frustrating the efforts of the Federal Government to amicably arrive at a more plausible solution which will create a soft landing for Nigeria.
“Available records show that the trump card of P & ID has been to consistently dig up mud and smear the image of any individual occupying the Office of Attorney General of the Federation.
“We therefore use this medium to discountenance civil society groups before they embark on their binge of mischief against the Nigerian State.
“We herein sound the alarm that they are not just intent on coming for the head of Malami but are determined to grab Nigeria by the jugular so long as this case and the fairy judgement of 9.6 billion dollars is concerned.”
Adodo, therefore, called on Nigerians to be vigilant against such groups while giving the Attorney General of the Federation the support he deserves in order to get a better negotiation for our country.
He said that the country would resist any group or individual who sets out to frustrate the efforts of the government. (NAN)