Nigerian president wants $1bn loan to fight Boko Haram

July 17, 2014 - 12:41:27 am

ABUJA: Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday sought approval from parliament to borrow up to $1bn abroad to help the armed forces tackle the security threat posed by the Islamist insurgent group Boko Haram.

Meanwhile, gunmen riding on motorcycles kidnapped a German national yesterday in northeast Nigeria, police said, in the latest violence to hit the area which has come under repeated attacks from Boko Haram militants.

A German foreign ministry spokesman told AFP he “was aware of the case” but declined to comment further. 

Jonathan, facing intense criticism at home and overseas for his government’s failure to curb a spreading campaign of violence by the Islamist militants, made the request for funds in a letter read to Nigeria’s Senate and House of Representatives.

His government is accused by critics of not doing enough to protect civilians in Africa’s biggest economy and oil producer from Boko Haram, which has killed thousands and abducted hundreds since launching an uprising in the northeast in 2009.

“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,” Jonathan said in the request, read to deputies by the leaders of the Senate and House.

“For this reason, I seek the concurrence of the National Assembly for external borrowing of not more than $1bn,” the president said, adding this would be used to upgrade the equipment, training and logistics of the security forces.

Nigeria’s parliament was expected to debate the borrowing request at a time when international attention on the Boko Haram insurgency has increased since the abduction by its militants in mid-April of more than 200 schoolgirls. They remain missing. AGENCIES