Why Nigeria should be weary of China’s Greek gift


Since the Buhari-led administration came on board in 2015, Nigeria has gradually deepened its economic ties with China, cementing it with President Muhammadu Buhari attendance at the Forum on China and Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Beijing, and meeting with the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping.

During the visit, the Nigerian delegation was able to sign 13 deals worth $10bn during the summit out of 25, with more to be signed by the Nigeria Investment Promotion Council and the Attorney General and Minister of Justice of the Federation.

Some of the projects include 3050 Megawatts Mambilla hydro-power project, $328m ICT Infrastructure Backbone Phase II (NICTIB II) project.

Recall that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in May also signed a currency-swap agreement worth $2.4 billion with People’s Bank of China (PBoC), to boost commercial ties and reduce the need to use dollar in their bilateral trade.

However, observers argued the interest of China in Africa is another form of colonization, appealing to ignorance and selfish interests of African leaders, Nigeria inclusive.

More importantly, in all these loans, no single dollar cash was handed over to the countries involved. In all cases, China will execute & build the projects (as is being done in our Abuja metro line project), using Chinese materials, equipment, technicians, etc that are all imported from China.

Today, the Chinese are offering mouthwatering deals to Africa, both in cash transactions and the outmoded or rather defunct barter trade which seem very attractive on the outlook but dangerous in reality.

Instances abound where these leaders signed the deals with China thinking they were granting consent to genuine terms but the whole thing just morphed into modern day colonialism.

For instance, China is now proposing to take over the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport should Zambia Government fail to pay back its huge foreign debt on time.

Greece handed China a national asset last year on default, and European Union took measures to stop any further member country from Chinese loans.

Zimbabwe is the second African country to default and will soon hand over a national asset.

Lamu port in Kenya, which was constructed by China on a Chinese loan of $16 billion, will see Kenya default in 3 years’ time and the biggest port in east Africa and adjoining towns will be handed over to China for 99 years.

Meanwhile countries who have realized the implication of accepting China’s terms have opted out.  Philippines this year cancelled all Chinese aids. The president was in Isreal last week for new partnership in arms.

Malaysia canceled Chinese speed train loan contract this year and opted for a costlier Japanese electromagnetic rail. Because all Chinese grants requires collateral with state critical assets.