Top officials of the Federal Government held a meeting on Monday to discuss the government’s response to the $9.6bn judgment entered against Nigeria in favour of Process and Industrial Developments by a United Kingdom court.
The meeting, which was presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari, came as the economic implications of the controversial judgment on Nigeria gained national and international focus.
The meeting ended at about 3.50pm, but the officials refused to grant interviews.
Lai Mohammed was the first to come out of the venue but he quickly walked away as reporters approached him.
The Senior Special Assistant to the VP on Media and Publicity, Mr Laolu Akande, too refused to speak, insisting that Mohammed would address the public at the appropriate time.
When asked what the agenda of the meeting was, Akande said he was not “authorised” to speak because the matter on the agenda was a referral to the VP by President Buhari.
However, some of the participants at the meeting confirmed off record that the meeting discussed the $9.6bn.
Participants at the meeting were largely members of the Economic Management Team of the government and other officials.
They included the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed; Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed; Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr Timipre Silva; Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Festus Keyamo; and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr Melee Kyari.
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele; and the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr Ibrahim Magu, were also at the meeting.
One of them said the Federal Government’s lawyer in the case, who was based in the UK, was part of the meeting, adding that he gave “an update on the case.”