Comment on P&ID case: I defamed nobody, says Seun Kuti
Nigerian Afrobeat singer, Seun Kuti, said he did not defame anyone over his Instagram comment on the Process & Industrial Developments (P&ID) Ltd. case.
Kuti, addressing the controversies around his comments at a news conference in Lagos, expressed his readiness to meet Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), Principal Partner to BA LAW LLP over the libel and defamation of character suit instituted against him.
“I called the press here today to carry them along and be with me as the eyes and ears of the Nigerian people.
“I didn’t call the press to be on my side but to monitor this issue to the end, to educate Nigerians to open their eyes,” he said.
Kuti, son of late afrobeat legend, Femi Anikulapo-Kuti, denied ever committing any libel or defamation of character against Ayorinde or anyone in his Instagram post on Oct. 31, 2023.
Rather, he said that he only read out the judgment of Justice Robin Knowles of the Commercial Courts of England and Wales, which ruled in favour of Nigeria in the enforcement of a $11 billion P&ID arbitration award in his social media handle.
He expressed surprise over the suit for defamation of character and libel “when the 140 pages court judgment was already in the public domain”.
Kuti also wondered why the legal practitioner could sue him in Oyo State when both parties involved in the case are residents of Lagos.
Affirming his stance on his comment, Kuti emphasised that he received the Nigeria Police invitation on the matter, which he intended to honour on Thursday “physically, unwaveringly and without chickening out”
The case, according to Kuti, is expected to come up for hearing in Oyo State on Jan. 24.
Kuti, however, expressed the confidence in the judiciary, insisting that justice would prevail at the end of the day.
He noted that no one could silence him and other Nigerians on the case.
Kuti further commended the Federal Government for appealing the earlier ruling, which awarded $11 billion in damages to P&ID, saying that the judgment was unprecedented.
He said: “This is the first of its kind in the world. This case caused serious arbitration system in the United Kingdom, but didn’t make much impact in Nigeria. No one is talking about it.
“Nigerians must know that we are all children of sacrifice and we need to speak out on behalf of our people.
“What I did in the entire case is to read out the judgment as delivered by the UK court. I read the entire 140 pages of the judgment and whatever I said emanated from the judgment.
“But, Ayorinde who represented Nigeria in the case has taken me to court for libel and defamation of character. He also reported me to the police.
“The Nigeria Police is not an attack dog of anyone and I stand by the things I have said on the case. I am ready to meet him in the court.”
Kuti reiterated his earlier statements was borne out of patriotism and expressing his unwavering dedication to the principles of transparency and justice.
He expressed his unwavering commitment to supporting initiatives that foster the betterment of the country, promising to continue advocating for the values he believed were a vital for the growth and progress of Nigeria.
Recalled that Ayorinde through his law firm had denied purported allegations made by Kuti that its principal partner leaked documents to the P&ID company that sued Nigeria.
Ayorinde had dismissed Kuti’s alleged claims as false, misconceived and of no substance, maintaining that no corruption charges were ever brought against him by any court or tribunal in relation to the P&ID case.
The firm had said it was weighing legal options, including possible civil and criminal actions against Kuti and his sponsors.
Recalled that In January 2010, P&ID, a Virgin Islands-registered company founded by two Irish business partners, signed a Gas Supply and Processing Agreement (GSPA) with Nigeria to develop a processing plant in Calabar, the Cross River State capital.
However, the deal failed in August 2012 and the company sought a $5.96 billion compensation from Nigeria with arbitration proceedings against the country at the London Court of International Arbitration.
After five years of intense legal battle, Nigeria emerged victorious on the 23rd October, 2023, in its case against P&ID Limited, which had sought the enforcement of an $11 billion debt in its favour.
Justice Knowles had in October 2023, ruled in favour of Nigeria in the enforcement of a $11 billion P&ID arbitration award.
According to the judge, the award against Nigeria by the company was obtained by fraud.
“In the circumstances and for the reasons I have sought to describe and explain, Nigeria succeeds on its challenge under section 68. I have not accepted all of Nigeria’s allegations.
“But the awards were obtained by fraud and the awards were and the way in which they were procured was contrary to public policy,” Justice Knowles had ruled.