Nigerian President seeks $1b to fight Boko Haram

Solome Ishaya, sister of kidnapped schoolgirl Hauwa Ishaya. Photo / AP
Solome Ishaya, sister of kidnapped schoolgirl Hauwa Ishaya. Photo / AP

Embattled Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has sought parliamentary approval to borrow up to $US1 billion (NZ$1.15 billion) 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 yesterday, 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 this serious threat".

Watch: Boko Haram release new video

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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 $US1b.

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.

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

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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 and 219 others remain missing.

- AFP

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