The House of Representatives yesterday joined the Senate in approving $1 billion (N165 billion) for President Goodluck Jonathan to purchase military hardware for the fight against extremist group, Boko Haram.
The lawmakers however warned that Nigeria will pay additional N30 billion to service the credit in seven years.
The Senate had on September 25 approved the request made by the president to borrow the amount to tackle the national security challenges.
The House, however, summoned the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to appear before its committees on aids, loans, debt management and finance, and provide them with information regarding the terms and conditions of the loan.
The lawmakers also requested the National Security Adviser (NSA), to provide them with the breakdown of allocations that were appropriated to the Nigerian Air Force, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Department of State Service (DSS), and Nigeria Police.
The decisions were reached during the consideration of the report from Adeyinka Ajayi (APC- Osun)-led committees on aids, loans, debt management and finance, after recommendation by the joint committees’ report.
The report was laid on the floor of the House on Tuesday.
The Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, had last Tuesday issued a week ultimatum to the Committees on Aids, Loans, Debt Management and Finance to furnish the House with a report and recommendations on the president’s loan request.
The house had referred the matter to the joint committee to investigate and advise it on the way forward.
Addressing the house on the matter, Chairman, Committee on Finance, Abdulmumin Jibrin (APC-Kano), said the joint committee was yet to conclude its assignment.
The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN reports that, Mr. Jibrin, however, said the committee had so far discovered that the loan would cost the nation N30 billion to service it in seven years.
He said that the joint committee had already engaged some stakeholders and was still expecting to hold talks with others before submitting its findings.
He said that in the course of the interface with stakeholders, the committee discovered that even the military was at a loss as to how the amount was going to be utilised.
He, thereafter, requested for additional two weeks to enable the committee to conclude work.
Mr. Tambuwal, in his ruling, said that he would only give the committee one week because the issue was urgent and needed to be treated as such.
A public hearing by the committee on the loan on September 30 could not hold due to the absence of Okonjo-Iweala and Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Kenneth Minimah.
Their absence forced the joint committee on finance and loans and debts to postpone the hearing.
This followed the report of the Senate Joint Committee on Finance, and Local and Foreign Debt, on the request.
Rep Isa Lawan, (APC Borno), member represents Guzamala, Kukawa, Mobbar, Abadam federal constituencies of Borno state also yesterday revealed that despite ceasefire arrangement declared by the federal government, so far about eighteen villages in Borno state alone is said to be under the control of the dreaded Boko Haram insurgent,
Lawan who informed the House Wednesday at plenary, said Northern Borno axis was falling into the hands of Boko Haram on daily basis, called on the federal government to rescue the seized territories.
“Some villages in Adabam, Kukawa and Mobbar local government area in the shores of the lake Chad Basin which includes Abadam, Gashager, Jubullam, Doguri, Madai, Shawaram, Kangarwa, Arega, Faliwa, Gogobirni, Ali Jilamari, Mamuri, Kurnawa, Malum Zuberu, Dumba, Kulleram and Bawari are already under the control of the insurgents” he told lawmakers.
He expressed concern that the agriculturally rich areas have been under the control of the Boko Haram insurgents for the past one week,stressing that If urgent action is not taken to rescue the villages, Nigeria will further lose its territory to the Boko Haram insurgents.
“Innocent people are being taken hostage and forced to all kinds of inhuman punishment thereby subjecting them to hunger and starvation as the case in all areas under the control of the insurgents.
“Those Nigerian citizens are being forced to migrate to another country in search of food, shelter and security.” Lawan reported while leading debates.
This is even as Boko Haram insurgents have reportedly launched an offensive in Waga Mongoro village sandwiched between Gwoza town of Borno State and Madagali town of Adamawa state, where they abducted about 45 girls, local sources in the area disclosed.
Peoples Daily could not independently ascertain the veracity of the claim as at the time of filing this report.
Recall that on the night of 14–15 April 2014, 276 female students were kidnapped from the Government Secondary School in the town of Chibok in Borno state, Nigeria.
As of October 22, 2014, more than 200 students were still missing.