Maritime Law expert and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Olisa Agbakoba, has expressed concern over the nature of bilateral agreements Nigeria signed with China during President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent visit.
While the Presidency counted the blessings of the trip to include the attraction of over $6 billion investments to Nigeria’s wobbling economy, Mr. Agbakoba noted that there is not enough information in the public about Buhari’s state visit to China.
According to him, he would have preferred a situation where more information is made public on what the bilateral agreements signed with China entails.
The former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, said he was also worried about the legal framework surrounding some of the agreements reached.
“I am concerned that such a complicated process was finished in one week. I’m concerned as to whether it was actually finished.
“I’m concerned about what legal framework was used because in international trade there are two frameworks; multilateral, under the WTO which this is not, or bilateral investment negotiations. So I don’t know if this is bilateral investment or simply bilateral trade.
“These are very important clarifications because they carry different consequences”, Mr Agbakoba said.
The human rights activist also faulted China’s request for Nigeria not to deal with Taiwan because of their new bilateral agreement.
The pro-democracy activist fumed: “Who are they to say that to a sovereign country like Nigeria that we cannot deal with Taiwan? I find that offensive and contrary to the status of Nigeria as one that wants to occupy the seat of Africa in the Security Council”.
While acknowledging that Nigeria has a lot to learn from the China economy, Mr. Agbakoba said Africa’s largest economy has to first develop a national plan.