By Raphael Oni
The Federal Government has again reiterated that China loans will not lead to the country losing its sovereignty to China. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama said all the loan agreement with China was entered into with clear eyes.
The government make this clarification on the hill that some people in the social media is spreading the rumor that Nigeria will soon loose her sovereignty to China because of loans.
Besides, Onyeama said the loans obtained from China are within the capacity of the government and the country has the intention of paying back.
The Minister clarifies this in a chat with the media ahead of China-Nigeria 50 year’s diplomatic relations in February. He said there was nothing indicating that the country’s sovereignty was at stake in all agreement entered into with China.
In the words of the Minister, “Well I have nothing to say about that because it doesn’t exist and it is not an issue at all, there is no question of Nigeria losing its sovereignty to China. What I think you are getting out is of course what some people are concerned about or express some concern and reservations that somehow countries incurring huge debts, because China they claim making it easy for this countries to get loans and the result will be that these countries will never be able to pay back these loans and China sorts of have all kinds of provisions within these agreements that would essentially means that these countries will become almost colonies of China and so on and so forth. But that is not the case at all with Nigeria.
Onyeama said ,”We borrow under sorts of a very clear terms what we can manage and with every intention of being able to pay back our loans and so forth. And it wasn’t any different from our relationship with other countries in the past where we have incurred loans and we negotiate around them, we paid back, we haven’t lost our sovereignty to any country in the past through borrowings.
“And there is nothing at all in our contracts, in our agreements and MoU’s with China that will lead to us losing our sovereignty.
“When we signed these agreements as I said, we signed them very sort of clear sightedly and know how much we can take and how much we can pay back, so a responsible borrowing not an irresponsible borrowing.”
On 50 years of China-Nigeria relations, Onyeama said both countries have lots of areas of convergence of views that has seen the development of Nigeria’s foreign policy being in tune with China on a lot of very important issues.
He said that in terms of trade, the relationship had benefited the Chinese the most. He said trade relations have been skewed in favour of China due to the rapid economic development it was able to achieve in the last 50 years.
“I think the trade relation has really been influenced by the rapid economic development of China. China has in the space of 50years transformed itself from a poor developing country into a rich superpower and China has become the factory of the world, producing most of the manufactured goods of the world and Nigeria has been no exception. So there has been a large importation of all kinds of manufactured goods from China.
“China has also developed expertise in a lot of areas especially in building and so forth. So they have constructed, conveyed a depth, constructing huge projects, things such as dams, airports, stadiums, roads, trains, really, all kinds of capital intensive projects. China has become very good technically and also very competitive economically,” he said.
He however added, “So Nigeria has also benefited from this Chinese expertise in infrastructure development. They are engage in Nigeria in the building of dams, airport, roads, rail and other capital intensive industries, so obviously that has increased the level of trade; but also as I said other manufactured goods and products that have been coming to Nigeria from China.”