The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said this while featuring on a Television Continental’s programme, ‘This Morning.’
Mohammed claimed that whenever it was observed that the nation’s foreign reserves were increasing, some people who he described as “vultures” would conspire and decide how to deplete the reserves.
He said the “international scammers” could not have succeeded in their bid if they did not get enjoy the cooperation of some Nigerians.
He said the Federal Government’s desire to unravel those behind the deal was what informed President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent directive to the relevant agencies to probe the contract.
Mohammed said, “Anytime the foreign reserves of the country are rising, there is always this attempt by vultures that will come with one scam targeting the reserves.
“It is also important to state here that these international scammers would not have succeeded without the collaboration of the people within.
“That is why the Federal Government is beaming its searchlight on this particular contract to unravel those behind the move to inflict economic injury on Nigeria and its people.”
Stating that the Federal Executive Council as constituted at the time of signing the contract in 2010 did not approve the contract as required by law, the minister added that the Ministry of Petroleum Resources which signed the contract had no technical knowledge to execute a gas contract.
Meanwhile, while seeking self-execution to set aside the judgement, the minister on Thursday said the Federal Government was willing to meet with P&ID to negotiate the agreement.
Mohammed said this on “Good Morning Nigeria,” a live breakfast programme of the Nigerian Television Authority.
“We are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that this judgement is set aside. I want to assure Nigerians that there is absolutely no imminent threat to the seizure of our assets because even the UK courts said they couldn’t begin any attachments until the courts were back and there will be a further hearing on the matter.
“We are even willing to sit down with the P&ID and negotiate. We are ready to take this matter to the highest level – legal, diplomatic and otherwise – because we think it is just unfair and unconscionable. You don’t inflict this kind of injury on a country and its people for your selfish reasons,” he said.
The minister on Tuesday at a press conference in Abuja said President Buhari had directed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the National Intelligence Agency and the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to conduct a thorough investigation into the contract.
He said the President’s decision to probe P&ID and its activities was based on the fact that the Federal Government suspected a foul play in the contract.
He said, “We want to set the record straight that the Federal Government views with serious concerns the underhanded manner in which the contract was negotiated and signed.
“Indications are that the whole process was carried out by some vested interests in the past administration, which apparently colluded with their local and international conspirators to inflict grave economic injury on Nigeria and its people.”