by Linda Ikeji
Rotimi Amaechi, the minister of transportation failed to answer a question on why Hong Kong is the third party in the loan agreement between China and Nigeria while appearing on a Channels Television programme.
The anchor who asked Amaechi which country was chosen as the third party for arbitration on the agreement as required by international conventions, had said;
“If you look at convention of this sort of international arbitration when it comes to trade agreements of this nature, there is usually a third party nation in this sense. Which is the third party nation when Nigeria went into this agreement with China?”
Responding to the question, the Minister said;
“What do you mean by that? What third party nation,” before adding that “until there is arbitration, you can’t just assume a third party is.
“What if we don’t go to arbitration? Supposing, by next year, the president gets angry and says, gentlemen, pay off the $400 million that is remaining and that will be the end of that particular loan?”
However when the anchor stated that he is privy to the loan agreement with China, and “it does take Hong Kong as the third party in that sense, and Hong Kong is part of China”, Amaechi queried him on why he is “interested in who is the third party and who is not the third party?”
“Why do you want to assume that we will default. It becomes criminal when a borrower begins to plan on defaulting.
“Why are you not interested in the fact that we have already paid about $98 million; that we meet our obligation every month? So, by the next 10 years that is outstanding, we would have paid the $400 million outstanding.
“Why are you not interested in that? Why are you interested in who is the third party and who is not the third party? And these are standard terms in an agreement. Why?”
When the anchor probed further on why Nigeria allowed China to choose Hong Kong as the third party country, Amaechi responded: “I have answered you.”