The Nigerian senate on Thursday, September 25, 2014 approved the $1 billion external loan requested by President Goodluck Jonathan tack procure arms to be used in tackling the threat of insurgents in the country, according to reports.
The approval was made after senator Ahmed Makarfi, the chairman of the senate joint committee on finance an that of local and foreign debt submitted the committee’s report, explaining that the loan was not a cash loan but was for the supply of military equipment and will be paid for over a period of seven years, adding that the interest rate could not be readily ascertained as it was the suppliers of the said arms that will be responsible for negotiating such.
Makarfi said: “Also, the request is for a ceiling of $1bn and not that, at the moment, the whole amount would be utilised. Government will procure on the terms stated, based on needs assessment of our security agencies.”
There was a little melee in proceedings as senate president David Mark, deputy senate president Ike Ekweremadu and Makarfi pleaded with other lawmakers to avoid debating over the matter because of its sensitivity as a security necessity. Despite their warnings, senate minority leader, senator George Akume, senators Olubunmi Adetunmbi and Babafemi Ojudu kicked against the approval of the load to no avail. Adetunmbi tried stating several sections of the constitution which negated the application for the loan.
Makarfi however explained that his arguments are not relevant as the loan was not in cash.
A voice vote was therefore called for by Mark to determine the fate of the the loan, with approval granted.
Members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) voted in favour while the All Progressives Congress (APC) voted against.