NASS Probing May Jeopardise Chinese Infrastructure Loans – Amaechi

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The Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi warned that the Chinese authorities may not sign the $5.3 billion Ibadan-Kano rail line loan if the Parliament continues to investigate the agreement.

This happened during an investigative hearing into some of the agreements signed between Nigeria and China, where Amaechi responded to various questions on the ongoing modernisation of railway projects being implemented by the Federal Ministry of Transport.

According to an agreement signed by Federal Ministry of Finance (Borrower) on behalf of Nigeria and the Export-Import Bank of China (Lender) on 5th September, 2018, Article 8(1) of the agreement, 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.”

Chairman, House Committee on Treaties and Agreements, Hon. Ossai Nicholas 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. Whether we get it from China or not is immaterial.

“The most important thing is that we must save and protect our people as regard agreements, because most of the agreements that have been signed, the National Assembly has no knowledge (of them). Even the details embedded in those agreements are not forwarded to you when demanding counterpart funding.

“You don’t have the details, clause by clause, in line with the Act that established DMO. We need to know those details even before going to sign such agreements. But those details are not provided to the parliament. So, we have the right to question them.”

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