Galaxy Backbone rebuts reports alleging loan deal conceding Nigeria’s sovereignty to China

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Galaxy Backbone has refuted some media reports alleging that a $400 million loan agreement signed in 2018 for the funding of the Nigeria National Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure Backbone Phase II Project could lead to Nigeria conceding her sovereignty to China.

The publicly owned technology company dismissed the reports as false and a misrepresentation of the deliberations it had had with the House Committee on Treaties, Protocol and Agreements.

“In the about 30 minutes engagement between Galaxy Backbone and the House Committee members, the issue of clauses in loan agreement and their potential implications for the Nigerian sovereignty never came up for discussion. The Committee requested for and received updates on the loan bothering on amount involved, maturity date and counterpart funding,” said Galaxy Backbone in an official statement it released in Abuja this week.  

Some of Nigeria’s major national media had expressly referred to a disturbing clause in the loan agreement with China. See the clause below as quoted by the media and a host of several online blogs.

“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.”

But Galaxy Backbone has expressed shock in its statement refuting the substance of the claims in the media reports. Read its full statement below.

GALAXY BACKBONE IS THE TECHNOLOGY IMPLEMENTING AGENCY OF THE NICTIB PHASE II LOAN TO NIGERIA

Our attention has been drawn to recent reports carried by some media organisations on the alleged discovery by the Federal House Of Representatives (HoR) Committee on Treaties, Protocols & Agreements on some identified clauses in the ‘$400m’ loan for the National Information and Communications Technology Infrastructure Backbone (NICTIB) Phase II project which, according to the report, could threaten the sovereignty of our country Nigeria. The said report is not only mis-leading to the reading public but was never a true reflection of the deliberations in the session that Galaxy Backbone had with the Committee on Treaties, Protocol and Agreements.

Galaxy Backbone (GBB) would like to categorically state that NICTIB Phase II project is a sovereign loan of National scope and for National Infrastructural development in the area of ICT National Broadband between the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning) and China Exim Bank, representing the Republic of China. Galaxy Backbone is only an implementing agency under the supervision of Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy to oversee the full implementation of this project. It is important to note that NICTIB Phase II project is one of the projects in the National Borrowing Plan recently approved by the National Assembly and is yet to commence. It is therefore unlikely and out of place to have insinuation that the National Assembly will raise such allegations.

Nigeria’s Federal House Of Representatives has through its Committee on Treaties, Protocols and Agreements, which is currently reviewing the nation’s loan agreements with nations across the world, on the 28th of July, invited the Federal Ministry of Communications & Digital Economy (Supervisors of Galaxy Backbone, the implementing agency) to discuss the loan agreements in respect of NICTIB phase II and its project implementation.

In the about 30 minutes engagement between Galaxy Backbone and the House Committee members, the issue of clauses in loan agreement and their potential implications for the Nigerian sovereignty never came up for discussion.

The Committee requested for and received updates on the loan bothering on amount involved, maturity date and counterpart funding.

The attributable loan agreement on NICTIB Phase II, like any other sovereign loan is packaged by relevant and capable legal authorities/institutions of Nigeria which, definitely isn’t Galaxy Backbone.

Galaxy Backbone as the technology implementing agency of NICTIB Phase II loan and Nigeria ICT Broadband facilitator for National development is committed to the full implementation of the NICTIB phase II project which at its completion, will deepen the Broadband penetration in Nigeria and improve the Internet and Network Communications experience of not just agencies of government, but of the entire nation.


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