The Chinese Foreign Ministry has reacted to the ongoing debate about a clause in a Chinese loan to Nigeria, which allegedly cedes Nigeria’s sovereignty to China in the even of default.
The Chinese government through the ministry denied that China had any such clause inserted in its loan contracts with Nigeria. The 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.”
The House of Representatives members had 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 dismissed the claim, saying that what the lawmakers were touting as a discovery was just a contractual term.
He said, while answering questions about the loan controversy on a TV programme, 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.