Nigerian President Seeks US $1 Billion to Fight Boko Haram InsurgencyJuly 18, 2014 in Nigeria
Days after Nigerian President sought approval from parliament to borrow up to US $1 billion (£580 million) abroad, in order to help the armed forces tackle the security threat posed by Boko Haram, Nigeria’s National Assembly has broken up for a two-month recess, effectively meaning that approval for the loan will have to wait until at least September.
On Wednesday, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan submitted an urgent request to borrow US $1 billion abroad to help the armed forces tackle the security threat posed by Boko Haram. In his statement to Parliament, which was read to deputies by the leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives, the President stated “you are no doubt cognizant of the on-going and serious security challenges which the nation is facing as typified by the Boko Haram terrorist threat,” adding “for this reason, I seek the concurrence of the National Assembly for external borrowing of not more than $1 billion.” The president noted that this loan would be used to upgrade the equipment, training and logistics of the security forces and that such a loan could include a “government to government arrangement,” however he did not name any specific foreign country.
Nigeria’s parliament was expected to debate the issue at a time when Boko Haram’s five-year insurgency has gained international attention. However with the summer recess, both chambers of Parliament are not due to sit again until the end of their annual recess in September. While sources have indicated that it would normally take several days for such a loan to be approved the President’s request is likely to raise some questions as Nigeria’s 2014 budget already includes nearly US $6 billion in security spending while the government is facing allegations put forth by former central bank governor, Lamido Sanusi, who has stated that billions of dollars of oil revenues are failing to reach the national treasury. Once Parliament is back in session, both the lower and upper houses will debate the loan request. It will then pass the request to the committee and then back to the chamber for approval. If however the chambers differ on the request, a joint committee will be formed in order to reach an agreement on the amount the loan should be set at.
While Nigeria’s military is currently receiving training, advise and intelligence support from allies, including Britain, France, Israel and the United States, it is still struggling to counter the almost daily raids, frequent kidnappings and targeted bomb attacks carried out by Boko Haram militants. President Jonathan’s government has also been accused of not doing enough to protect civilians from such attacks.