By Victoria Ojeme
The Chinese Foreign Ministry, on Monday, denied that China had any clause in its loan contracts ceding Nigeria’s sovereignty to China.
Recall that last week members of the House of Representatives claimed they had uncovered clauses in a loan obtained by Nigeria from China that conceded Nigeria’s sovereignty to China.
But the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, had said he was ashamed that people can’t understand that the clause ‘waiving sovereignty’ in China’s loan agreement with Nigeria is only a contract term, a sovereign guarantee that assures payback according to the terms and conditions of any loan.
Amaechi made the clarification while answering questions about the loan controversy on a TV programme.
He had also explained that the Nigerian government has the capability to pay back loans collected for the construction of rail projects within the stipulated period of 20 years.
However, explaining the Chinese loan on Monday, its Foreign Ministry, in a statement, said: “We follow a ‘five-no’ approach in our relations with Africa:
“No interference in African countries’ pursuit of development paths that fit their national conditions; no interference in African countries’ internal affairs; no imposition of our will on African countries;
“No attachment of political strings to assistance to Africa; and no seeking of selfish political gains in investment and financing cooperation with Africa,” the ministry quoted President Xi Jinping, as saying at the FOCAC Beijing Summit in 2018.
The Foreign Ministry said: “China is committed to enhancing investment and financial cooperation with African countries based on their needs to help them improve infrastructure and extradite socio-economic development.
“By funding infrastructure and other areas that lag behind for short of money, we have helped the relevant countries break bottlenecks, enhance their capacity for independent development, realise social and economic sustainable development, and improve people’s livelihood.
“Such cooperation has delivered tangible benefits to African countries and peoples.
“In the process, China always gives full consideration to debt sustainability and seeks mutually-acceptable proposals through equal and friendly consultations.
“That is the fundamental reason behind the enormous popularity of China-Africa cooperation in Africa.”