Godwin Tsa, Abuja
Human rights activist and constitutional lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) has called on the Federal government not to treat the recent British Court order for the seizure of Nigeria’s foreign assets to satisfy a $9billion judgment debt with levity.
Ozekhome who gave the advice on Wednesday, warned that the UK is not Nigeria where court judgment orders are treated with disdain and violated with utmost impunity
In a statement on the subject matter, Ozekhome urged the Federal government to immediately hire experienced legal hands in the UK to stem this impending disaster that would eclipse all Nigerians without exception.
The legal luminary gave the advice in a statement entitled, “The recent British court order of seizure of Nigeria’s foreign assets to satisfy a $9billion judgment debt: The way out,” reads, “Recently, a British court ordered the seizure of Nigeria’s foreign assets to satisfy a judgement debt.
“This sum is surely over N3.2 trillion naira. “This is an order, which, if carried out, will simply cripple Nigeria, whose entire 2019 budget for the whole country which was signed into law only in June is N8.92 trillion only. “The current foreign reserve of Nigeria is about a mere $47.62 billion, with China having the highest foreign reserves in the world, to the tune of $3.6 trillion.
“This is distantly followed by Japan $1.323); Switzerland ($804.323 billion); Saudi Arabia ($487.259 billion), Taiwan, Russia, India ($430.572 billion); Hong Kong, South Korea, Brazil, Singapore, Thailand, Mexico, UK ($164.209 billion).
“The United States of America comes a very distant 18th in the world, with $125.725 billion in foreign reserves.
“The best option thus opens to the Federal government to halt the looming disaster of attaching her foreign assets to the tune of $9 billion is to immediately appeal the judgement and ask the court for a stay of execution.
“To allow execution of the judgement will plunge Nigeria’s already battered, pilfered and mismanaged economy into irreversible doldrums and recession of unimaginable proportions.
“No one should take Lai Mohammed seriously when he boastfully asserted that Nigeria will not surrender any of her foreign assets.
“Really? Did I hear him say “surrender”? “Lai easily and shockingly forgets that the UK is not Nigeria where court judgement orders are treated with disdain, levity, derision and violated with utmost impunity. The judgement creditors will not seek Nigeria’s permission to go after her foreign assets.
“They will not politely ask Nigeria to “surrender” her assets. No. “They will simply use the available, tested and trusted legal option of garnishee proceedings, attach and file all available and known Nigerian bank accounts, assets, monies, properties, etc, wherever they find them in the UK and in any part of the world.
“It is not a matter given to puerile lachrymal effusion, chest-beating, adventurous swashbuckling and grandstanding. It a matter of cold law and facts.
“Let the Federal government hire experienced legal hands in the UK immediately to stem this impending disaster that will eclipse all of us, without exception.”