Chinese Loan: Nigerian Sovereignty Not At Stake - Malami

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The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami have disclosed that under President Buhari administration Nigerian sovereignty is secured when concerning the foreign loan.

The AGF said this in reaction to some claim by some section of lawmakers that some clauses in the Nigerian loan deal with China suggested conceding the country’s sovereignty to the Chinese government.

The members' House of Reps committee on treaties and agreements had particularly raised concern over article 8(1) of the commercial loan agreement between Nigeria and the Export-Import Bank of China.

The loan of $400 million was obtained for Galaxy Backbone, the government information and communication technology (ICT) agency, in 2018.

The said clause stated that “The borrower (Nigeria) hereby irrevocably waives any immunity on the grounds of a 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, in an interview with THISDAY, Malami said the sovereignty being waived could be as relating to a contractual obligation.

Malami added that in addition to running a people-oriented administration, President Buhari is committed to the rule of law including international conventions and extant laws, this is all in an effort to protect Nigerian sovereignty as he swore to protect.

He reiterated that the point to reflect is as per waiver of immunity is a concern, is the fact that it could either be an immunity of sovereignty of a nation or in the alternative waiver of sovereignty as it relates to a contractual obligation, which in effect entitled a party to the contract to have their contractual right enforced on the assets of sovereign state simplicity (sic), without affecting the sovereignty of a nation in its own right,’’

The AGF reminded the newsmen that since relevant agencies and Ministries will be present to make some presentations and receives imputes at the national Assembly debate in other to contribute their own on the matter.

He reaffirmed that no loan deal is finalized without being properly scrutinized.

He assured Nigerians that all gray areas would be properly studied and their implications to the best interest of the country before final agreements are signed, he said.

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