A former Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Shehu Sani, has again cautioned the Federal Government against falling into another debt trap through the taking of indiscriminate loans from China.
Shehu said while loans from China might be tempting because of low interest rates, the Federal Government should not allow Nigeria to “sink into the deep pit of debt recolonisation.”
Speaking at a seminar on ‘China’s 70 years of rebuilding,’ in Abuja on Tuesday, the former lawmaker stressed that the nation must continue to protect its integrity as a sovereign nation.
Sani said, “We must be very careful about borrowing money indiscriminately. Inasmuch as China is the preferred nation to borrow us money, we should know that when you borrow, it is not a gift.
“Even, if the interest is one dollar or no interest, it is still a loan that has to be paid back. So, we must be very careful not to sink into the deep pit of debt recolonisation.”
The activist pointed out that Nigeria and China shared almost the same history, noting that the Asian giant also respected Nigeria as the largest economy in Africa.
“I think what is most important for us to appreciate is that we share a history with China and they understand our peculiarities and also respect us for our differences and they are not seeking to impose themselves on us, but we should also be able to protect and defend our independence and integrity and continue to relate with China on the basis that we are an independent country,” he counselled.
In his presentation, the Director, Centre for China Studies, Mr Charles Onunaiju, said the nation had a lot to learn from China, adding that Nigeria could also lift millions of its citizens out of poverty as the global economic powerhouse did.
He stated that Nigeria and other African countries could build partnerships with China to foster economic development and growth, insisting that relations with the Asian country should be based on solidarity and cooperation for mutual benefits.
“China stands as a genuine friend of Africa and a friend of the world. Someone asked, ‘Why is China reaching out to the rest of the world?’ but China’s prosperity can only be guaranteed if the rest of the world is prosperous,” the foreign affairs expert argued.