An elementary definition of the word “sovereignty” as explained by my government teacher in secondary school is a state’s ability to control its affairs without any influence or interference from other states. Every independent state enjoys a right of sovereignty, which may range from territorial sovereignty, legal sovereignty, political sovereignty, popular sovereignty and, of course, economic sovereignty. Nigeria began to enjoy these rights after her emancipation from British rule and independence in 1960.
With the sweeping covid-19 outbreak, which undoubtedly is the highest threat to the human race, there is no gainsaying that the greatest form of sovereignty right now is economic sovereignty; as the paramount concern of every state at this moment is circled on how to develop and control its monetary system or economy in order to provide a better fighting chance for its citizens, with the aim of surviving for the future.
Sadly, while the leaders and think tanks of other countries are busy developing strategies and policies to enable their citizens survive today and live for tomorrow, Nigerian leaders are deliberately driven to ensure that Nigerians who do not die today are shackled tomorrow by China through economic slave chains.
Recently, the House Committee on Treaties Protocol and Agreements of our National Assembly raised a curious question on whether a certain clause affixed in a commercial loan agreement that was executed between the Federal Ministry of Finance (at the behest of Nigeria) and the Export Import Bank of China in 2018 does not pose a threat to our immunity, since the clause in the agreement has the potential of enslaving the economic, legal and political sovereignty of Nigeria if Nigeria defaults in her obligations owed to the Republic of China under that agreement.
Article 8 (1) of the agreement states in part that “the borrower hereby irrevocably waives any immunity on the grounds of 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.”
Interpreting the above clause bluntly, it is safe to say that some members of the present executive arm of government have ignorantly mortgaged Nigeria’s future and sovereignty, with an exception to military and diplomatic immunity.
The excuse that Nigeria would only have to default before the powers of the said clause may become operational is immaterial, baseless and highly myopic. However, if we must entertain such an excuse, then I dare to ask, when has Nigeria ever repaid its debt without defaulting? Never! The records are there to speak for themselves. We default and fall into the merciful hands of lending countries or international communities who, at times, are magnanimous enough to cancel our debt.
At this point, with the deadly clause of article 8 (1), it is only God that can save Nigeria’s total sovereignty from the impeding. China, our future colonial master is waiting.
High Chief Peter Ameh, is the Secretary Steering Committee Opposition Coalition (CUPP).