President Goodluck Jonathan has asked the National Assembly to grant him approval to borrow $1 billion to further the fight terrorism in the country.
The president conveyed his request in a letter addressed to the leadership of both arms of the National Assembly.
He explained that the sum will be used to upgrade the equipment of security agencies in order for them to effectively combat acts of insurgency threatening the existence of the country.
The letter reads in part: “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…for this reason, I seek the concurrence of the National Assembly for external borrowing of not more than $1 billion dollars including government to government arrangements for this upgrade.”
According to him, part of the loan will also be used to train the military and the personnel of other security agencies.
In recent years witnessed by increased insurgency, Nigeria’s defence budget has been at a sustained height of about N1 trillion, but the result of this huge spending has been minimal.
Security operatives deployed to the battlefield continue to lament that they are not well equipped to face the insurgents who brandish all sorts of modern war equipment and technologies, a situation that has led to low morale among troops.
However, some political commentators are of the opinion that while there is need to properly equip security forces to effectively discharge their duty of protecting lives and properties, the timing may not be right.
The fear is that the money if approved at the moment could be used to sponsor the President’s unannounced aspiration for a rerun election.