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China Loans: Leave Jonathan Out – Reno Omokri Warns Amaechi

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China Loans: Leave Jonathan Out - Reno Omokri Warns Amaechi

Reno Omokri has warned Rotimi Amaechi not to drag former President Goodluck Jonathan into the controversy on the loans obtained from China.

Naija News recalls that the House of Representatives had last week summoned Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation; Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning and Alhaji Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, over a loan agreement with China, which contained the waiver clause.

Article 8(1) of the commercial loan agreement signed between Nigeria and the Export-Import Bank of China, according to the House of Representatives, concedes Nigeria’s sovereignty to China.

The lawmakers had picked holes in the $400 million loan agreement for Nigeria National Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Infrastructure Backbone Phase II Project, signed in 2018.

Also condemning moves to secure loans from China, Katch Ononuju, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), accused Amaechi of perpetrating fraud under the guise of securing funds for railway projects.

The PDP chieftain called on the Minister of Transportation to resign

But reacting in an interview with Channels TV, Amaechi said the loan being referred to by the PDP chieftain was actually taken by ex-President Jonathan.

The former Rivers State governor described calls for his resignation was unnecessary.

Amaechi said: “There’s a gentleman who went to AIT, and said ‘oh I should resign’ and I wonder which university he graduated from, certainly not University of Port Harcourt,” Amaechi said.

“He said I should resign. Resign from what? Are you saying those projects weren’t executed? Is there no Kaduna-Abuja railway?

“By the way, he said he is PDP; that loan was taken under President Goodluck Jonathan’s government.

“The loan he’s talking about — the Kaduna-Abuja railway — was signed by the President Goodluck Jonathan government.”

Reacting on Wednesday, Omokri said although Jonathan took loans from China, the former president did not sign away the country’s sovereignty.

He said: “Rotimi Amaechi is as usual, being deceptive. It is his stock in trade. For the avoidance of doubt, it is true that the Jonathan administration also took loans from China. However, it is false that that government signed away Nigeria’s sovereignty to China while taking those loans.

“The loans which were suspected to have surrendered Nigeria’s sovereignty away were taken by the Buhari administration.

“The specific loan in question, which is suspected of signing away Nigeria’s sovereignty to China was signed on September 5, 2018, between the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Finance and the Export-Import Bank of China.

“It may be recalled that Nigeria’s total foreign debt on May 29, 2015, when then President Goodluck Jonathan handed over power to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, was ₦12 trillion, of which a total of $7.02 billion out of the ₦12 trillion was foreign debt.

“As at June 2020, Nigeria’s total debt was ₦28.63 trillion, of which a total of $22 billion out of the ₦28.63 trillion is foreign debt.

“Rotimi Amaechi is therefore counselled to defend himself and his government, without dragging past administrations into the matter.”

Ogbolu George is a graduate of Mass Communication from the University of Benin. He loves politics, is a movie addict and a die-hard Arsenal fan. George is a Senior Content Creator at Naija News.