Renowned human rights activist and lawyer, Olisa Agbakoba, has dismissed the criticisms trailing the loan agreement signed between Nigeria and China which said to be a threat to the country’s sovereignty.
The House of Representatives, last week, raised alarm over a clause of the loan pact which was signed by the Federal Ministry of Finance on behalf of Nigeria and the Export-Import Bank of China on September 5, 2018.
Agbakoba has, however, backed the Federal Government, saying that such clause is only a standard insertions in financial deal of such magnetude.
Agbakoba agreed, adding that the appropriate term for the clause is “a waiver of immunity clause” and that it is a standard contractual provision.
An extract from Agbakoba’s reaction in thenationonlineng.net reads:
“There is a lot of confusion, hot air about the sovereign immunity clause. There is nothing about a sovereign immunity clause.
“The standard clause that is introduced when two sovereigns are doing business – like China and Nigeria – or a non-sovereign and a sovereign are doing business is for the sovereign debtor, such as Nigeria, to have her credit assessed.
“Now, look at Nigeria or Africa’s credit rating generally. Africa’s credit rating is sub-optimal. No bank in Nigeria will give a loan unless there are assurances of it being repaid.
“If you’re the governor of a state, the bank manager will ask: ‘If I give you a loan, will you not invoke your immunity?’ and you say no. Then the manager will say, ‘Let us have it in the contract that in the event you default, you will not invoke your immunity.
“So, it’s actually a waiver of immunity clause, not a sovereign immunity clause.”