The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has condemned what it described as the new form of economic colonialism foisted by China and occasioned by toxic and enslaving loan agreements with Nigeria.
The group also blamed President Muhammadu Buhari, accusing him of attempting to foist a situation whereby most Nigerians will not be able to opt-out of the future and slave labour camp of China.
Recall that the House of Representatives Committee on Treaties, Protocols, and Agreements, chaired by Nicholas Ossai had on Tuesday discovered a clause in a Chinese loan contract that supposedly puts Nigeria’s sovereignty at risk in the event of default.
The contract in question was a 2018 loan for $400 million from the China Exim Bank to build Nigeria National Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Infrastructure Backbone Phase II Project.
The chairman of the House committee also said there are agreements signed by the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy where the country’s sovereignty will be breached if it defaults in the agreements.
The group noted that generally, there are global concerns about the alleged fraudulent, irregular, and underhand features of Chinese loan contracts with some African countries, which had resulted in a new form of economic colonialism foisted by the Asian giants.
It noted that since all Chinese loans are tied to infrastructural developments, some of the African nations have had to forfeit their stakes in the infrastructure, which they used as collateral after they defaulted.
“One of the most cited examples of alleged debt-trap diplomacy by China is a loan given to the Sri Lankan Government by the Exim Bank of China to build the Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port and Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport,” HURIWA said.
HURIWA, in a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, noted that Nigeria has obtained 17 Chinese loans to fund different categories of capital projects, and Nigeria will still be servicing the Chinese loans till around 2038, which is the maturity date for the last loans obtained in 2018.
It pointed out that Nigeria owes China about $3.1 billion, more than 10% of the $27.6 billion external debt stock.
HURIWA thinks that Nigeria would not be able to clear these debts basically because the country lacks accountability, transparency, and responsibility to refund the loans.
HURIWA noted that when it comes to loans, Nigeria has failed to implement the three factors in its engagement with the Chinese.
“What it means is that we lack the ability and we don’t have the headroom anymore to repay because our independent revenue has been strangulated by our enormous debt hanging over the Federal Government as it stands now,” the group said.
Also, it said that the increasing Chinese loan is an indication that the nation has not considered the history of Chinese loans.
“Out of 64 countries that host the Chinese Belt and Road initiative projects, 20 have gone under distress and 8 are about to lose their sovereign debt sustainability if they should take any further loan. If that was supposed to be a good guide, it means Nigeria needs to be very careful with this type of loan contract which threatens our sovereignty.
“More worrisome is that the Nigerian Government is currently facing a legal battle to overturn the judgment of a United Kingdom Court that awarded a $9 billion debt payment in the Process and Industrial Development deal (P&ID),” HURIWA noted.
The rights group said that the basis for its concern stems from the figures presented in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy from the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning.
According to HURIWA, the figure shows that while Nigeria spent a total sum of ₦943.12 billion in debt servicing in the first quarter of 2020, the Federal Government’s retained revenue for the same period was only ₦950.56 billion.
It noted that already, a quarter of Nigeria’s N10.3 trillion (proposed) 2020 budget, that is N2.5 trillion, goes to debt servicing. The budget is still being considered by federal lawmakers.
“This chain barely allows cash to get into the hands of the recipients; rather, the loans are offered in the form of projects.
“Most of the funds given out actually go back to them by way of supplies, construction contracts with all the equipment brought over from China itself.
“Therefore, we are by this Statement demanding that the Nigerian Government should within the next 72 hours pull away from the toxic and enslaving loan agreement with China, which threatens our sovereignty.
“Failure to do so, in our capacity as a prominent Civil Rights Advocacy Group and in a bid to advance the single agenda of building a formidable and economically strong united Nigeria in general and the future of our youths in particular, we will mobilize civil rights advocacy groups in Nigeria to challenge this new form of economic colonialism foisted by China and signed off by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration in court.
“Additionally, we shall write to the United Nations and China to dissociate the entire youths from such a thievery being arranged by the APC led Federal Executive Council of Nigeria, as well as consider protests to the Embassy of China in Abuja if the enslaving loan agreement is not discontinued.
“Similarly, we call on the United Nations to conduct plebiscite on the loan request while warning that if the loans are received and the clause on forfeiture of sovereignty is not legally voided, then it will motivate millions of Nigerians to begin Self Determination agitation or the dissolution of Nigeria.
“We blame President Muhammadu Buhari for attempting to foist a situation whereby most Nigerians will not be able to opt-out of the Future and slave labour camp of China, which is what the loan agreement is all about. A stitch in times saves nine,” HURIWA said.
2023 Presidency: Zoning can’t stop Tinubu – Ex-Minster
A former Minister of Works and National Chairman of South West Agenda for 2023, Senator Dayo Adeyeye, has restated that the truth that the quarter has produced the president withinside the beyond won’t forestall it from clinching the presidential price price tag if the All Progressives Congress zoned the price price tag to the South.
The former Minister opined that former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, remains the best and the right man to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari after bowling out in 2023 based on experience and political networks.
Adeyeye spoke in Ado Ekiti on Tuesday during the official launching of the South West Agenda (SWAGA) 2023, a political platform rooting for the presidential aspiration of the former Lagos State Governor.
Adeyeye added that the APC leaders must respect the zoning of lresidency to the South in 2023, as a mark of respect for the silent agreement within the party at inception in 2013.
Adeyeye said: “And if the ticket comes to the South, the fact that the Southwest had produced the President before won’t prevent the Yoruba race from getting the APC ticket.
2023: APC governors kick against zoning.
“You could all remember that the late President, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was from Katsina State and when the ticket went back to the North in 2007, they picked President Muhammadu Buhari from Katsina. They didn’t say his state had produced President before.
“What we need in Nigeria is someone like Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who knows everybody. Someone who has planted and nurtured people across all the zones. Someone, who believes in making stars to unite Nigeria,” Adeyeye said.
Also , the former Senator representing Ekiti South Senatorial District, Senator Tony Adeniyi, alleged that members of SWAGA in Ekiti were being harassed and intimidated by APC members loyal to Governor Kayode Fayemi , saying these barrage of embarrassment must stop in the interest of APC.
“Before SWAGA was formed, we had ‘Tokan Tokan’ and original ‘JKF’, which are outfits loyal to Governor Fayemi.
“Is it an offence to associate with one of the foremost Nigerians like Tinubu? We are being treated here in Ekiti like orphans in the Sahara desert . We are being intimated and harassed by people who had contributed nothing to APC.”
Also, in his short lecture at the event, a Professor of Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos , Prof. Yemi Oke, said he came to fraternise with the group as a Yoruba man , who believes in the Southwest agenda for the 2023.
2023: Any Yoruba Christian presidential candidate will lose – Islamic group warns
In his speech entitled: ‘Nigeria at a Crossroad, What Option for the Southwest Geopolitical Zone’, Prof. Oke, described Tinubu as the most qualified to lead Nigeria after President Buhari, so that all the faultlines and cleavages can be amended for national unity.
Commending Tinubu for working hard to sustain the country’s democracy, the Chairman, Inter-party Advisory Council in Ekiti, Hon. Ife Iyaniwura, said Tinubu has become a strong political stakeholder that people respect in the country.
“Asiwaju has been a phenomenon. He has shown it.”
Open Grazing: I’m a herdsman but I ranch my cattle – Benue Varsity lecturer
A member of the Academic Staff Union of University, ASUU Benue State chapter, Dr Ogi John has declared support for ranching of cattle in the country.
Recall that following the incessant clashes between farmers and herders across the country, many prominent Nigerians called for a ban on open grazing.
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State in May 2017, signed the Open Grazing Prohibition Bill into law as a measure to tackle the farmers and herders crisis in the state.
Open Grazing: Why Nigerian govt should support ranching – Okowa
Similarly, governors in the Southern part of the country unanimously opted for ranching in a bid to end the insecurity in the region.
John Ogi, a senior lecturer in the university made his stance known in a post on his official Facebook page after visiting one of his farm in Anuja.
He said ranching remains the global standard of rearing cattle.
The post reads, “I am 100% in support of ranching, that’s the global best practice. I own cows and I ranch them, cattle business is a private business and cow owners must learn to protect their animals from destroying other peoples farm.
“Sunday visit to one of our farms in Abuja, part-time civil servant, full-time agro businessman”.
Students of Rivers State College of Health block major roads, protest poor amenities
Students of the Rivers State College of Health Sciences and Technology on Tuesday, blocked the mile four axis of the Ikwerre street in Port Harcourt in protest towards bad simple services withinside the institution.
The protest prompted a heavy gridlock across the area, forcing motorists to apply opportunity routes. The college students who defied an early morning downpour to level the protest are disturbing for the availability of water and energy of their hostels through the institution’s control. Some of the leaders of the protest, who spoke with us additionally decried “non accreditation of a few guides presented withinside the institution,”leaving them jobless after graduation.
A protester said,, “have a take a observe the building, it’s far simply pleasant out of doors however whilst you cross in, its rubbish. The region is water logged, there has now no longer been mild for over weeks now not to mention water”. “So college students are sincerely stranded. Just to wash and feature their garments ironed has been a massive problem. “So we’re calling at the Rivers State authorities to return back and assist us.
The control of the college has failed us. “We are paying a massive quantity of costs right here however you can not see the impact withinside the control of the college”.
The college students threatened to hold the protest till their needs are met. Efforts to attain the institution’s provost proved abortive as his cellular strains had been unreachable.
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