Nigeria's $10 billion dispute with firm to go to trial in UK in 2023

LONDON (Reuters) - Nigeria’s dispute with a British Virgin Islands-based firm over an arbitration award worth $10 billion will go to trial at the High Court in London in January 2023, a spokesperson for the Nigerian government said on Thursday.

The firm, Process & Industrial Developments (P&ID), won a $6.6 billion award from a London court after a 2010 deal for it to carry out a gas project in Nigeria collapsed. The Nigerian government wants to have the award overturned.

The award has been accruing interest since 2013 and is now worth $10 billion, which Nigeria says could cover its health budget 10 times over. It has alleged that the gas deal was an elaborate scam designed to defraud the Nigerian state.

P&ID, a vehicle created for the defunct gas deal, has denied the allegation and accused the Nigerian government in the past of “false allegations and wild conspiracy theories”.

Representatives for the firm did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

The British courts are facing an enormous backlog of work after more than a year of on-off COVID-19 restrictions that have delayed many cases, leading to trial dates being set far into the future.

Reporting by Estelle Shirbon; editing by Jason Neely