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House of Representatives raise concerns over terms of agreement of Chinese loans

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The members of the House of Representatives have raised concerns about the terms of agreement between the federal government and the Chinese government.

The lawmakers say the agreement states that Nigeria will give up part of its sovereignty if the country defaults on repayment.

The House Committee on Treaties, Protocols and Agreements raised the concerns, stating that the loan facilities with China and other such loans need to be reviewed.

The minister of transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi who appeared before the committee on a fact-finding mission regarding the $500 million loan for the Abuja-Kaduna rain project and other projects, cautioned the lawmakers, saying that the wrong signal shouldn’t be sent to the Chinese.

The minister said if not properly handled the Chinese can call off the project which will lead to the abandonment of the project.

The chairman of the panel, Mr. Nicholas Ossai questioned the minister on why the House of Reps weren’t consulted and involved before entering such contracts.

The committee specifically cited Article 8(1) of the agreement, which states “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.”

Hon. Ossai said

Ossai said, “I have also seen from the Ministry of Communications where Nigeria signed off some certain level of its sovereignty if part of the clauses is breached.

“So, when the National Assembly reacts in this manner, to question some level of agreements being entered into by any ministry of this country with any other nation, we have every right to question that; because anything that is going to happen will happen to our generations unborn.”

The minister in response, said it was impractical for the federal government to send all its international contracts to the lawmakers to peruse before they are signed.

The House also invited the Minister of Communications, Dr Ali Isa Pantani; and Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, to provide relevant details on the $500m loan and provide details on the agreement signed between the Federal Ministry of Transport and the CCECC.

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