Jonathan seeks $1bn to fight militants

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IOL pic may29 nigeria goodluck jonathan Reuters Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan. File picture: Afolabi Sotunde

Abuja -

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday sought parliamentary approval to borrow up to $1 billion in foreign loans to fight an insurgency by Boko Haram militants which has claimed thousands of lives in the past five years.

In separate letters to both houses of the National Assembly, Jonathan said there is an “urgent need” to upgrade the equipment, training and logistics of the armed forces and security services help them “confront this serious threat”.

Citing the “ongoing and serious security challenges which the nation is facing, as typified by the Boko Haram terrorist threat”, Jonathan said he is seeking to borrow up to $1 billion.

No date has been set yet for a debate on the president's request and there is no indication of where Nigeria could borrow from.

Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima said last February that Boko Haram was “better armed and better motivated” than government forces - a statement rejected by the military.

Borno in the north-east has been under a state of emergency, along with neighbouring Yobe and Adamawa states, since May last year.

The Islamist rebels seized 276 girls from a secondary school in the Borno town of Chibok more than three months ago, triggering global outrage. Fifty-seven of them escaped, while 219 others are still missing. - Sapa-AFP

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