The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has criticized former president Olusegun Obasanjo for attacking President Muhammadu Buhari over his decision not to assent to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, for which a signing session was recently held in Kigali.
Nigeria along with ten other nations refused to consent to the Agreement while about forty-four other countries signed it.
Olawale Omotaje, CACOL Media Coordinator, recalled that the NLC and MAN had expressed fear that the agreement would negatively slow down the pace of the nation’s industrial take-off and turn the country into a dumping ground for other nations’ industrial products.
A statement on Thursday by the body wondered why Obasanjo would be urging the President to reverse himself and sign the Agreement before it would be too late for the country.
“This dooms day alarm is just characteristic of the former President whenever he is on prowl to implement errands for his various overlords across the globe,” the group said.
“CACOL, on the contrary ask Mr. President to remain resolute on his decision and should not be cowed by forces that are intent at controlling Nigeria’s huge market without given considerations for bad consequences to the country.
“Nigeria is not just contending with economic stagnation but has been consciously de-industrialised by policies imposed by neo-liberal organisations like WTO and ACFTA that advocates trade liberalization policies. Many industries in the country folded up and relocated to neighbouring countries because of lack of relevant infrastructural facilities.
“A vintage example of how these platforms manipulate member-states was the smuggling of the “ rule of origin” clause snare. This requires that when an African country that is cover by the Agreement sell some products in the Nigeria for example, the attendant tariffs would go to the originating country.
“Therefore, a member state like Burundi can get cheap products from China or Europe and, package same in its name and bring to Nigeria without any hindrances. This does not only rob the country of potential revenues but would be harmful to the nation’s industries and economic plans.
“We urge all Nigerians to stand behind Mr. President in rejecting this harmful Agreement to sell the country into second slavery and retard our industrial development in perpetuity.”