CHINESE LOAN: Reps insist on Review, seek clarification over sovereignty clause



The House of Representatives Committee on Treaties, Protocols and Agreements has invited the Ministry of Justice to shed light on the sovereignty clause in Nigeria’s loan agreement with China.

The Chairman of the committee, Nicholas Ossai, disclosed this on Tuesday at the sitting of the panel, which is investigating external loans and commercial agreements signed by Nigeria.

Also on Tuesday, there were indications that the committee members were divided as some of the lawmakers faulted the approach of the chairman.  It was gathered that some members felt that the chairman was going to an area that did not concern the panel.

The lawmakers included members of the Peoples Democratic Party, who feared that the manner the probe was being conducted would expose deficiencies in loans the PDP governments took when the party was in power between 1999 and 2015.

Ossai digging into issues beyond his mandates – Aggrieved lawmaker

An aggrieved member, who spoke to one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity after the committee sitting, said Ossai was digging into issues beyond his mandates.

The lawmaker said, “Was he asked for oversight transport/works/ICT committees? The referral is about the contents of agreements. If they are inimical to our wellbeing and our overall sovereign interest, the proper person to invite is the AGF (the Attorney General of the Federation (Abubakar Malami, SAN). He did not call him.

“All the directors of legal services of all the ministries, departments and agencies are (members of) staff of the Attorney General of the Federation office. Why didn’t he (Ossai) call the AGF?

“When Mr President sent a  request for loan approval, it was referred to the Committee on Loans Aids and Debt (Management). The committee brought its report, including the agreements and terms. It was discussed and approved by the Committee of the Whole. So, is Ossai now investigating the decision of the entire House and by extension the National Assembly too? Even most of the loans were taken by the PDP.”

I won’t stop probe, we must renegotiate dangerous clauses – Ossai

But speaking to one of our correspondents after the committee’s short sitting on Tuesday, Ossai vowed to continue with the probe and conclude it.

Ossai said, “On Tuesday (next week), we are meeting. I will not soft-pedal on this issue. I’m going all out. To me, I feel Nigerians should be protected. Those clauses, we must make sure today they are renegotiated. We cannot say because you want to take loans, you will hold Nigerians by their jugular.

“Even when we approve loans, the second arm of the passage is a prayer that they will bring the details of those agreements to the National Assembly, which they have never brought.”

The chairman had on Monday described the sovereignty clause in the Chinese loan as dangerous.

At Monday’s sitting, a member, Oluwole Oke, disagreed with Ossai.

The Federal Government had on Monday confirmed the controversial clause relating to the sovereignty of Nigeria.  According to both the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, and the Ministry of Transportation, the clause is a global standard in bilateral agreements.

The committee, at its sitting on Tuesday, suspended its investigative hearing till Tuesday.

Ossai, who led members of the panel into the venue about one hour behind schedule, called for the adjournment after the opening prayers.  Ossai said the lawmakers needed to scrutinise the documents already presented to the committee, while the panel would also demand explanations from the Federal Ministry of Justice.

He said, “You are aware that I, as the chairman of this committee, will not ambush my colleagues in terms of new documents submitted. We need to digest most of these documents and go through the documents clause by clause.

“There is also an important office in this country that has been part of the negotiating team, which is the Ministry of Justice. The Ministry of Justice has been reached. They need to be part of this because of the revelations that are coming up now on most of these clauses. And these are the people who were supposed to have seen the clauses embedded in the documents. So, we also need the Ministry of Justice to be able to interface with them.

“More importantly, we also need the Minister of Finance, who was supposed to be here. The ministry signed most of these agreements with other countries.

“So, I am seeking the indulgence and the permission of my committee members to begin to look at this issue and probably adjourn for one week, to enable us to digest this matter and re-invite the honourable ministers that are here and those that are not here, so that we can conclude this matter as soon as possible so that we can make our recommendation to the National Assembly.

The committee, therefore, resolved to adjourn till Tuesday.


1. Meanwhile, ex-diplomats, economists and financial experts on Tuesday disagreed over loans Nigeria obtained from China for rail projects.

2.  While some of the experts allayed fear over sovereignty clause in the loan, others said Nigeria should be careful when taking Chinese loans.

3.  In an interview in Lagos, an economist and Chairman of the Foundation for Economic Research and Training, Prof. Akpan Ekpo, said Nigeria should be extremely careful when taking Chinese loans.

4. On his part, a former President, Association of National Accountants of Nigeria, Dr Sam Nzekwe, said there was a preference for Chinese loans because they were cheaper, easy to get but lack transparency.

5. He said,  “Chinese people are not like American people who look into the activities of the country to make sure there is no fraudulent activity there.

6. “If America or the World Bank is giving you a loan, they want to make sure the amount is correct and make it difficult to do back-hand business.  “But the Chinese government does not care, what they know is that they want to continue to grow their economy.

7. “American or European countries ensure they do clean transactions, that is why they don’t want to go there and borrow because they will prescribe ethical steps you must pass to get the loans.”

8. The President, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Mr Bayo Olugbemi, in an interview recently says, “I don’t know whether it is true that our sovereignty has been pledged for the loan, but if it is true, we need to review the terms of the loans very well.  It should be a win-win thing.”

9. No law permits China to seize govt institutions, says Bolaji Akinyemi.  But a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof. Bolaji AKinyemi,  said no international law permitted China to seize any Nigeria’s institutions on account of default in loan repayment.


Friends, Jesus is coming soon.  If you have not yet received Him as Lord and Saviour, I plead with you to do it now.  

If you are ready to surrender your heart to Christ, say this prayer: 

Heavenly Father, I come to You in the name of Jesus Christ.
I believe that Jesus died for my sins and rose again for my justification. I repent of my sins and ask for forgiveness. I ask Jesus to come into my heart and reign as my Lord and Saviour.  

I receive Him by faith, I am born again!


Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post