Nigeria’s Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami has said that the president was committed to protecting the sovereignty of Nigeria as regarding foreign loans.
Malami was reacting to concerns raised by some lawmakers that the terms of some of these loans concedes Nigeria’s sovereignty to China.
Concern was raised over article 8(1) of the commercial loan agreement between Nigeria and Export-Import Bank of China, by the House of Representatives committee on treaties and agreements.
The $400 million loan was obtained for Galaxy Backbone, the government’s information and communication technology (ICT) agency, in 2018.
The clause in question provides 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.”
In a recent interview, Malami said the sovereignty being waived could be as relating to a contractual obligation. He also went on to say that president Buhari is keen on running a people-inclusive government and to the rule of law.
He added that the president has a “dogged determination to guard Nigeria’s sovereignty and its territorial independence.”
“The point of note, as per waiver of immunity is concerned, 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 a sovereign state simpliciter (sic), without affecting the sovereignty of a nation in its own right,’’ Malami said.
“As you might be aware, relevant ministries and agencies will make presentations and receive inputs at national assembly sessions in order to deliberate on the matter.”
“Contentious issues will not only be addressed, but other implications will be analysed with a view to making informed decisions in the best interest of the country and for the betterment of Nigerians,” he added.