Members of Nigeria’s House of Representatives have revealed clauses in a loan obtained by the Nigerian Government from China which concedes the country’s sovereignty to China.
Chairman of the House Committee on Treaties, Protocol and Agreements, Ossai Nicholas Ossai, called attention to it.
The committee discovered that the clauses in Article 8(1) of the commercial loan agreement signed between Nigeria and Export-Import Bank of China allegedly yield sovereignty of Nigeria to China in the $400m loan for the Nigeria National Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure Backbone Phase II Project signed in 2018.
According to a report by ThisDay, the disputed clause in the agreement signed by Federal Ministry of Finance (borrower) on behalf of Nigeria and the Export-Import Bank of China (lender) on September 5, 2018, provides that, “The borrower hereby irrevocably waives any immunity on the grounds of sovereign or otherwise for itself or its property in connection with any arbitration proceeding pursuant to Article 8(5), thereof with the enforcement of any arbitral award pursuant thereto, except for the military assets and diplomatic assets.”
However, Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi has urged the House not to investigate the loans being received by the government, as such probe will jeopardize the chances of the country in getting further loans.
He added that China was observing events in Nigeria and the probe will send a negative message to the Asian country about Nigeria.
He said, “My fear is that if this probe continues, at the end of the day, some sections of the country may suffer. In oversighting, there is what is called national interest.
“But in asking questions on these loans now, it may jeopardize these loans. The Lagos-Ibadan is not completed; the Ibadan-Kano is not completed.
“Let the Government of China not say there is a disagreement in the government on this loan and so we will not give this loan.
“So, I appeal to the chairman to give us from now till December when we are likely to secure the loans. Then, from January, February, you can resume this investigation.”
However, Amaechi’s plea did not pull through as the Committee Chairman mandated the minister to return to the committee on August 17 with other ministers to give details of the contract agreements.
The House also summoned the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed; Minister of Communication, Ali Isa Pantani; and Director General of the Debt Management Office, Ms Patience Oniha.