Jonathan searches for $1bn to fight Boko Haram

Posted by News Express | 16 July 2014 | 3,005 times

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President Goodluck Jonathan has requested for immediate approval of one billion dollars by the National Assembly to tackle insurgency and terrorism in Nigeria’s northeast.

In a letter to the Senate, read by the President, David Mark on Wednesday, President Jonathan said the money would be used to upgrade the equipment of the Nigerian Armed Forces.

President Jonathan stressed that there was an urgent need to upgrade the equipment, training and logistic of the country’s Armed Forces and Security services to enable them confront the serious threat posed by Boko Haram sect more forcefully.

For this reason, President Jonathan said he is seeking the concurrence of the National Assembly for external borrowing of not more than one billion dollars, including government to government arrangement for this upgrade.

The request by the President is coming almost two months after the military said inadequate finance was crippling soldiers’ efforts in tackling the current Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast and other security challenges.

The Chief of Accounts and Budget, Nigerian Army Headquarters, Major-General Abdullahi Muraina, made the observation at the opening ceremony of a training programme for the Nigerian Army Finance Corps, Warrant Officers and Senior Non-Commissioned Officers held in Jaji, Kaduna in May.

He said that the increasing dynamic environment, coupled with continued technological development in Nigeria and neighbouring countries had spurred the Army to place high premium on efficiency, proficiency and professionalism of officers and soldiers.

This, he said, required more funding to achieve needed result in the fight against the terrorist group.

He suggested that the government should evolve other means of funding and supporting military operations, other than the normal budgetary allocations.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen Kenneth Minimah, believes that the current security challenges have left serious demands on the Nigerian Army’s resources.

“We know that funding is fundamental to contending with the security challenges. Success in this pursuit therefore calls for prudent and efficient management and application of available funds,” he told reporters at the training programme.

Although the Defence Ministry has always received the highest allocation in the past budgets, the Nigerian Army authorities are insisting that such allocations are still a far cry to meet up with its constitutional obligations of securing the nation’s territory.

•Text courtesy of Channels TV.

Source: News Express

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