PORT HARCOURT/Nigeria: Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, has again, allayed the fear that China may soon invade the country to take over critical national assets to settle Nigeria’s sovereign debts.
In a statement made available to media houses, Eze, who had earlier lent his voice against the viral misinterpretation of the loan clause to serve some whimsical interests said, there is need for proper public enlightenment and understanding of the subject to save Nigerians the unnecessary trending kerfuffle.
Recall that China has also come out to deny any clause on the loan agreement transferring Nigeria’s sovereignty to her. This was made known by the Chinese foreign Ministry where the country denied imposing it’s will on the internal affairs of African countries. The statement equally debunked the rumour that China seeks selfish political gains in her development supports to African countries.
Going forward, Chief Eze said the loan amount in controversy which stands at $500 Million is critical to the funding and completion of the 2000 Kilometers Port Harcourt – Maiduguri rail project (Eastern Rail Line), which he said is of cardinal importance to the city of Port Harcourt and the rest of the South/East.
The party Chief opined that the project which connects Port Harcourt, Owerri, Nnewi, Anambra, Awka and Abakeliki also links Gombe and Yobe and will only provoke speedy economic acceleration. Chief Eze said halting the loan will amount to sheer wickedness and unfairness because the project, when completed, will generate jobs in massive hundreds to people of the South/East and some part of the South/South, improve the economies of states and generate revenue to the Federal and state governments of the South-East region, as well as Port Harcourt Yobe, Gombe and Maiduguri.
In further pacifying the panicky mode which citizens have been thrown into by the fictitious interpretation of a clause inserted in the loan agreement, the party chief said it is an Internationally and legally recognised standard of practice and referred Nigerians to his previous publication on the subject matter for better clarification, stressing that the country is safe and her sovereignty unshaken and intact.
Eze noted with grief, the high-tech politics playing-out to frustrate the plan of the APC led Government to revive the rail system within the three key regions of the country that could aid the country to revive it’s economy.
Without any doubt, every Nigerian is fully aware that the South South is the main sustainer of the economy of Nigeria through her resources, mainly Oil, while the South East is the major purveyor and engine oil through which the economy is sustained as the hub of the commercial activities of this Nation with the North East as the Food Basket of the country which if harnessed will not only feed the entire populace, but will also provide other means of raising resources apart from oil to sustain the economy and enhance sources of livelihood.
The importance of these regions that provides major resources that sustain the economy of this country and to the overall being of Nigeria need not be overemphasized so with few member of a cabal plotting to deny these regions the required loan to facilitate the provision of modern rail system already provided for the South West and some parts of the North Central and North West is not only unpatriotic but sheer wickedness.
One need not consult an economist to imagine the monumental loss Nigeria particularly, these regions will incur should this plot to deny these regions a modern rail system sees the light of day.
Eze highlighted that the South East is the commercial hub of Nigeria and require proper transport system to thrive economically. He posited that it will remain easier and cheaper to smuggle shoes from Aba to Cameroon than any part of the North East without the railway system in the East. Eze expressed worries that the Igbos suffer all kinds of losses including robbery attacks, too much payment to police and customs in moving containers from Lagos to the East.
He reiterated that the East remains the largest producers of Palm oil in West Africa and to transport palm oil containers from East to other parts of Nigeria by road is a business killer plot.
He said any Nigerian patriot will definitely sob for the South South, South Eastern and North Eastern Regions, should the Chinese Loan to revive the rail system in these regions turns out a failure.
Eze appealed to the National Assembly not to fall into the hands of the enemies of the regions and support the Buhari’s Administration in its efforts to fulfill the APC Pledge to the Easterners by approving the Loan required in this regard.
Should this plot scale through, the party Chief said, the Easterners and North Easterners will understand who their enemies are; not President Buhari, not Amaechi but the cabal that wants to destroy Nigeria if their unholy plot to govern Nigeria come 2023 fails.
Similarly, the party chieftain quoted the Debt Management Office as saying that the total value of loans taken by Nigeria from China as at March 31, 2020, was $3.121 billion. This represents only about 3.94% of Nigeria’s total public debt of $79.303 as at March 31, 2020. Furthermore, in terms of external sources of funds, loans from China accounted for 11.28% of the external debt stock of $27.67 at the same date. He said the report appropriately points that China is not a major source of funding for the Nigerian Government.
According to Eze and the DMO report, the afore-mentioned loans are concessionary loans, with interest rates of 2.5% per annum, tenor of 20 years, and a moratorium of 7 years.
He said Nigerians could get further details about the loan terms from the DMO website.
Further quoting the DMO, Chief Eze said total loans from China is $3.121 and are project-tied and listed some to include: The Nigerian Railway Modernization Project (Idu-Kaduna section), Abuja Light Rail Project, Nigerian Four Airport Terminals Expansion Project (Abuja, Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt), Nigerian Railway Modernization Project (Lagos-Ibadan section), and Rehabilitation and Upgrading of Abuja-Keffi- Makurdi Road Projects.
As stated by the DMO, Eze said the impacts of these loans are not only evident but visible. For instance, the Idu-Kaduna Rail line has become a major source of transportation between Abuja and Kaduna.
Also, the new International Airport in Abuja, has improved air transportation for the populace, while the Lagos-Ibadan rail line will ease traffic on the busy Lagos-Ibadan expressway.
He called on Nigerians to support President Mohammadu Buhari and the Transportation Minister, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, to deliver more dividends to the Nigerian people.