The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has disclosed that the loan the Nigerian government got from China for the rail projects across the country will be paid back within 20 years.
In a statement released on Saturday August 1, the former Governor of Rivers state disclosed that China is the only country giving out loans with a low interest rate of 2.8 per cent.
The statement read;
“The trade agreement between Nigeria and China, the ministry of transportation does not take loan, everything about loan is directed to the Ministry of Finance, so, I couldn’t have signed any loan because I don’t take loan.
“What I signed is what is called commercial contract, which is contract between the Federal Government and CCECC as a contractor, the contract between Nigeria and China is usually signed by the ministry of finance.
“Whether is the ministry of finance that signed it or the ministry of transportation, the issue is that nobody will give you loan free of charge.
“There must be an agreement and such agreement must contain some terms, that doesn’t mean that you are signing away the sovereignty of the country, no country will sign out its sovereignty.
“What clause 8 says is, I expect you to pay according to those terms we have agreed, if you don’t pay, don’t throw your immunity on me when I come to collect back the guarantee that was put forward, that is all.
“We are paying the loans. In the same National Assembly sitting, they were told that of the 500million dollars loan, we have paid 96 million dollars already, Nigeria is already paying.
“And the 500 million dollars was not taken by us, it was taken by President Goodluck Jonathan in his term and that clause was there.
“Nigeria has the capacity to pay back for the period of 20 years at 2.8 per cent, which country will give you that loan? Secondly, these loans are not given to us, they are paid directly to the contractors.
“Once they sign that the job has been done, they pay the contractors and that has never happened before and this project are in place. Are they trying to rubbish the fact that there is a railway from Abuja-Kaduna?
“There is no loan in Nigeria, either internal or external that is not approved by the National Assembly, none. Chinese government will not even give you a loan without an approval by the National Assembly because if they give you a loan without the approval from NASS that is no loan.”
Amaechi further stated that the loan is needed to boost infrastructural development across the country and only assets constructed with such loans will be taken back in case there is a default in repayment.
“What you do is you give a sovereign guarantee and that guarantee is the immunity clause they are talking about.
“When we say, I give you a sovereign guarantee and we get immunity clause, the immunity clause is that, if tomorrow I am not able to pay and you come to collect the items we have agreed upon, that these are the items that am putting down as guarantee, I can waive my immunity and say no you can’t touch it am sovereign country.
“So, they are saying, if you are not able to pay, don’t stop us from taking back those items that will make us recover our funds. So, is China our father that will give us money for free?
“It is a standard clause in every agreement whether is America we signed it with, whether is Britain, any country would want to know that they can recover their money.
“Anybody that is saying he doesn’t know what a sovereign guarantee or immunity is, too bad for the person, because it simply means in trade that I am not giving you this loan free of charge.
“Just like you go to the bank to collect a loan, the moment you don’t pay they go after your assets you put down, that is all about the clause, the Chinese can never come and take over Aso rock and become President or Minister.
“And if the assets you put down become depreciated then you negotiate which assets they can go after. Chinese will never take over what was not constructed with the loan.
“The Chinese is just asking us to show them the evidence that we will pay back, which is the immunity clause. If we don’t pay, they can take back their assets.”
Commenting on the Zambian experience, Amaechi reiterated that the Chinese government will never take over infrastructure that was not constructed from the money taken. He also disclosed that the federal ministry of finance has started paying back some of the loans.
“They are meeting the requirements, at any point in time that we need to pay, we’ll pay. 1.6 billion dollars was taken to fix Lagos to Ibadan, we are asking for 5.3 billion dollars to fix from Ibadan to Kano.
“3.2 billion dollars to fix Port Harcourt to Maiduguri, then Lagos to Calabar which is about 11.1billion dollars, if those things were done when we had money, the infrastructure will be here today? The answer is no.”
US 2020 Election: Trump calls mail-in voting a ‘scam”
US President, Donald Trump, has called mail-in voting a “scam” during a press conference on Friday September 17, blasting the voting system in which states send mail-in ballots directly to voters due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
More than half of all Americans are expected to vote through the mail this presidential election, though over 40 percent of Americans voted by mail in the 2016 and 2012 general elections, according to the Election Assistance Commission.
Several states, including Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah, and Washington, automatically send out mail-in ballots to all state residents for the general election.
But due to the Coronavirus pandemic, California, Nevada, New Jersey, Vermont, and Washington D.C. will automatically mail out ballots to all residents for the 2020 election.
“They’re sending out tens of millions of ballots to everybody, people that didn’t expect them. People are getting inundated with ballots, they’ll be showered with ballots,” Trump said Friday.
“Everybody in this room knows it’s a scam,” the president continued, gesturing to the White House press pool. “They are never going to be able to count them.”
It’s a disaster, everyone knows it,” Trump told reporters before adding that the U.S. Postal Service was not to blame for the 2020 primary election mishaps, when hundreds of thousands of ballots went uncounted .
“Where are these ballots going? Who’s sending them? Who’s signing them?” Trump asked, attempting to show why he thinks voting through the mail is insecure.
“I think it’s going to be a terrible time for this country and we are counting on federal judges to do a great constitutional job.”
Recently, Trump cynically stated that 80 million Americans would receive mail-in ballots as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, a figure he alleges will invalidate the 2020 election results.
Kosovo gives Trump highest honor in the country for his role in historic peace deal with Serbia
Kosovo has given US President Donald Trump, its highest honor on Friday, September 18, for his role in a historic peace deal agreed with Serbia earlier this month.
Kosovo President Hashim Thaci awarded Trump the country’s Order of Freedom “for his exceptional contribution for the freedom of Kosovo and the strengthening of Peace and reconciliation in the region.”
According to the president, the award is given to those who made significant contributions to defending Kosovo’s freedom.
President Thaci also said he was giving Presidential Medals of Merit to National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien and Richard Grenell, who served as intermediaries during the talks.
The award comes after Trump oversaw the signing of the agreement between Serbia and Kosovo earlier this month, which normalizes economic relations between both countries.
The deal also sees Kosovo recognizing Israel, and Serbia agreeing to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The deal was signed by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo’s Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti in front of Trump in the Oval Office with Trump describing it as a “major breakthrough.”
Trump even received a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. Magnus Jacobsson, a member of the Swedish Parliament, said he was nominating Trump along with Serbia and Kosovo “for their joint work for peace and economic development, through the cooperation agreement signed in the White House.”
For those who don’t know the history between Kosovo and Serbia, Kosovo had declared independence from Serbia in 2008, nine years after NATO conducted an airstrike campaign against Serbia in a bid to end the brutal persecution of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.
After Kosovo’s declaration of independence, most Western countries recognized Kosovo’s independence but Serbia, Russia and China did not.
Without thugs, APC will be beaten silly in Edo – Governor Wike
Governor Nyesom Wike has commented on the upcoming governorship election in Edo state.
The Rivers state Governor in an interview on African Independent Television (AIT) on Thursday September 17, alleged that the All Progressives Congress (APC) is hoping to win the election by manipulating the result.
Wike who is also the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) campaign council on Edo governorship election, stated that the APC “will be beaten silly in the governorship election” if there are no thugs spearheading electoral malpractices.
“The IG has said they will not give room to any thugs, to any miscreants, and it is our prayer that is done. If that is done, APC will be beaten silly in this election. If what IG said is carried out, you will see that APC will not near – the only hope they have is to manipulate the security agencies.
“Remember what happened in my case and if you take the case of Rivers state, it was very clear, and the way I see APC going, the desperation is so much and the only hope APC has today is to use security agents, is to manipulate the process.
“Our own business is to let our people know, if you know the police are [compromised], we will not allow it. We want to believe in them but however, don’t slip, don’t slip, make sure you follow them bumper to bumper.
“Make sure you monitor what is happening. Let one policeman tell you that after they have declared results in this unit, that you cannot as an agent, follow that result to the collation centre. That is not correct.
“In some cases, you see security agents coming to even beat the agents of the opposition party. It is not something that anyone will come and tell me that you have assured me that nothing will happen.”
On governance in Edo state, Wike said;
“Everybody knows, go to Edo, they don’t do publicity. They do their thing quietly. It may be different from ours.
“Last time I went to Ogbemudia stadium, it was nothing to write home about, but go and see Ogbemudia stadium today. He has built all the high courts, he showed me.”