Despite issues raised by many about the need for Nigeria to borrow the sum of $1 billion to tackle security challenges in the country, the Senate Thursday gave President Goodluck Jonathan the go ahead.
The approval came after the lawmakers considered the report of the Joint Committees on Finance, and Local and Foreign Debts on the loan request at plenary in Abuja.
Presenting the report on the floor of the Senate, Chairman of the Committee on Finance, Sen. Ahmad Makarfi (PDP-Kaduna)said the facility was not a cash loan but supply of military hardware to be paid over seven years.
According to him, the loan will attract no interest due to the urgent need to end insecurity in the country. He said the opportunity was good and he believed the country should take advantage of it.
Among the military equipment to be secured with the loan are helicopters, ships, armament and hardware.
“The 12 nos. M135 Helicopters being requested for now are appropriate for the nature of the operation and the terrain.
“Belarus has accepted to give helicopters on the condition of installment payment over a seven-year period.
“Other hardware, armament and equipment will be bought on the same terms from other European countries,’’ he said.
Makarfi further said the joint committee discovered in its findings that the number of helicopters in the fleet of the Nigeria Air Force was inadequate for effective deployment.
The approval of the loan did not go down well with some members of the Senate as the session turned rowdy, with those in support and those against it exchanging words.
Sen. George Akume (PDP-Benue) called for appropriate procedures to be followed by the senate before approving the loan. He said; “Nobody is against the fight against insurgency. My concern is that the appropriate thing should be done.”