Malami: Buhari committed to safeguarding Nigeria’s sovereignty amid dusts over Chinese loans/

The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has stated that President Muhammadu Buhari remains committed to safeguarding the country's sovereignty amid dusts over Chinese loans.

Buhari had come under attacks from some quarters in the recent times over the country's towering debt profile and some clauses attached to them which many said threaten Nigeria's sovereignty.

One of such was the recent loan agreement between Nigeria and Export-Import Bank of China.

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”.

The House of Representatives, among others, had expressed concern over the development. 

But speaking an interview with THISDAY, Malami said the sovereignty being waived could be as relating to a contractual obligation.

He noted that Buhari is committed to the rule of law, including international conventions and extant laws, in its “dogged determination to guard Nigeria’s sovereignty and its territorial independence”.

His words: ‘’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.

‘’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."