A former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode has thrown his weight behind the controversial Chinese $400 million loan obtained for Galaxy Backbone, Federal Government’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) agency, in 2018.
The House of Representatives panel on July 29 raised the alarm over clauses described as “lethal” by the panel in article 8(1) of the commercial loan agreement between Nigeria and Export-Import Bank of China purportedly conceding Nigeria’s sovereignty to China.
Upon this, the house treaties committee summoned Isa Pantami, communications minister; Zainab Ahmed, finance minister, and Patience Oniha, director-general of the Debt Management Office (DMO), to appear before it on August 17.
Fani-Kayode on August 7 tweeted “People say China will take over Nigeria’s sovereignty if we fail to pay back their loans. China has denied this but even if they wanted to do so it can NEVER happen. Seizing assets for non-repayment of loans is one thing but taking over a nation’s sovereignty is another.
“You cannot take over another country’s sovereignty without a war. They would have to kill us all first before they can take over our nations sovereignty & independence. They would have to come here, conquer us by force of arms, remove our flag & raise theirs over our territory.”
According to him, “I repeat this will NEVER happen. We may not have their wealth, strength, technology, knowledge or fire power but we have GOD and those of us that are decent & patriotic would DIE fighting for our nation, our dignity, our self-respect, our people & our motherland.
“No nation can take over another’s sovereignty without a fight, no lion can take over another’s territory and pride without a bitter and ferocious struggle and no man can take over another’s house or home without a bloody and cataclysmic conflict.
“We may not be perfect & we may have many problems as a people but we must never forget that we are still a nation of 200 million citizens who are bold, resilient, strong-willed & irrepressible. No nation, no matter how big or powerful, can intimidate us. We are too big for that.
“I am not a supporter of the taking of loans from China and I have always opposed it. I have consistently called on the Buhari administration to stop taking such loans and the fact that they went ahead and did so on several occasions is disturbing and unacceptable.
“However, that does not mean that our nation will lose her sovereignty if we fail to pay back. No matter what Nigeria will always be free and we will NEVER lose our sovereignty to a foreign power. Let the whole world burn to cinders and ashes first!” he added.
Throwing more light on the loan, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation, had on August 1 explained that the clause ‘waiving sovereignty’ in the loan agreement between Nigeria and China was only a contract term, a sovereign guarantee that assures payback according to the terms and conditions of any loan.