The Nigerian Senate has approved a request for external borrowing of not more than N1 billion dollars by President Goodluck Jonathan to tackle security challenges in the country.
This followed the consideration of the report of the Joint Committees on Finance, and Local and Foreign Debts on the loan request at plenary in Abuja.
The Chairman of the Committee on Finance, Ahmad Makarfi (PDP-Kaduna), who presented the report, said the facility was not a cash loan but supply of military hardware to be paid over seven years.
He said in view of the urgent need to restore normalcy in the country and since the loan did not attract interest, Nigeria should take advantage of the opportunity.
According to him, the requested loan was for 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 instalment payment over a seven-year period.
“Other hardware, armament and equipment will be bought on the same terms from other European countries,” he said.
Mr. 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.
He said the reason for inadequate helicopters was due to inadequate funds for maintenance and recent burning of two helicopters by insurgents in Maiduguri.
He further said that no new helicopter had been added to the fleet since 1998.