A petition in Peter A. Chiejina and Piccol Nigeria Ltd v. Republic of Nigeria, currently before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, is asking the court to consider the devaluation of Nigeria’s currency. 

The case involves a Nigerian public infrastructure project. Piccol Nigeria Ltd. alleges that the Nigerian government breached its contract with Chiejina, the owner of Piccol, in 2010 when the government delayed payments on the project. An arbitration agreement was reached in 2018 awarding Chiejina funds for outstanding payments. 

The new petition states that the Republic of Nigeria has not yet paid the award and the value of the Nigerian Naira has dropped from .0066 dollars in 2010 to .0033 dollars in 2019. The petition asks the court to use the value of the Naira from 2010 when the government was contractually obligated to pay rather than the value of the Naira at the time of the 2018 arbitration agreement. 

Chiejina asserts that the Restatement of the Law Fourth, the Foreign Relations Law of the United States notes that while dollar-denominated judgments have weakened since the 1990s, courts are still advised to consider the interests of the parties and the practical consequences. The petition also directs the court to the 2018 decision of Leidos v. Hellenic Republic in support of the Restatement Fourth.   

The petition states “A government that delays in honoring its payment obligations should not benefit from the devaluation of its own currency.”  

Read more about this case on Law360 [subscription required]. 

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Madison Wilson

The American Law Institute

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