Nigeria’s $1bn loan to fight Boko Haram delayed

Abuja.  Nigeria’s National Assembly has broken up for a two-month recess, meaning approval for a loan to help the military fight Boko Haram must wait.

Abuja.  Nigeria’s National Assembly has broken up for a two-month recess, meaning approval for a loan to help the military fight Boko Haram must wait.

President Goodluck Jonathan submitted an urgent request to borrow $1bn (£580m) on the penultimate day of parliamentary business.

Analysts say it would normally take several days for such a loan to be passed.

Boko Haram’s campaign to establish an Islamic state has killed thousands. Mr Jonathan has faced intense criticism over the government’s failure to curb the increasingly brutal insurgency waged by Boko Haram.

The group caused international outrage in April when it abducted more than 200 schoolgirls in its heartland of north-eastern Nigeria.

Nigeria has a military budget of about $6bn a year but large sums are lost to corruption, critics say.

Emergency law

In the letter to the Senate and House of Representatives on Wednesday, Mr Jonathan said there was an “urgent need” to upgrade the equipment, training and logistics of the armed forces and security services to help them confront the “serious threat” posed by Boko Haram. ”For this reason, I seek the concurrence of the National Assembly for external borrowing of not more than $1bn,” he said.

Both chambers of parliament are not due to sit again until the end of their annual recess in September.

The BBC’s Bashir Sa’ad Abdullahi in the capital, Abuja, says both the lower and upper houses of parliament would then scrutinise the loan request concurrently. Each chamber would debate the request first - it would then pass to a committee and back to the chamber for approval.

If the chambers differed, a joint committee would be formed to hammer out an agreement on the amount of the loan.

It is not a quick process and could not have been done in a day, our reporter says.

Nigeria’s military is receiving help from the US, UK, China, France and Israel to secure the release of the schoolgirls.