Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan has sought the National Assembly, NASS, approval to borrow $1 billion (N168 billion) to fight Boko Haram.
In a letter sent on Tuesday and addressed to the Senate President, David Mark, Mr. Jonathan spoke about the need for external borrowing to enable the upgrade of security equipment in order to fight the insurgency that is currently bedevilling Nigeria, particularly the North East.
Mr. Jonathan said the $1 billion will also be used to train the military and other security officers.
“You are no doubt cognisant of the on-going and serious security challenges which the nation is facing, as typified by the Boko Haram terrorist threat. This is an issue that we have discussed at various times”
“I would like to bring to your attention, the urgent need to upgrade the equipment, training and logistics of our Armed Forces and Security services to enable them more forcefully confront this serious threat.
“For this reason, I seek the concurrence o the National Assembly for external borrowing of not more than $1 billion dollars including government to government arrangements for this upgrade,” Mr. Jonathan said in the letter.
He said he was counting on the steadfast support of the legislators on the borrowing of the money.
The external borrowing comes amid criticisms and questions of the management of Nigeria’s defence budget, which gulps as much as 20 per cent of the entire budget.
The Nigerian government justifies the about N1 trillion spent on security on the growing insecurity situation in the country.
However, the military and security officials are still considered ill-equipped to tackle Boko Haram insurgency.