By Rafiu Ajakaye
Nigeria will spend at least $1 billion to procure weapons and security equipment to boost the fight against Boko Haram terrorists in the country's volatile northeast region, officials said on Thursday.
The fund will come from the country's special accounts for oil savings (excess crude account), which is jointly owned by the three tiers of the Nigerian government.
Godwin Obaseki, governor of the south-south Edo state, said approval for the funds' release was granted at a meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) chaired by the country's vice president, Yemi Osinbajo.
The NEC is mainly made up of the country's governors and key officials of the central government, and is statutorily chaired by the vice president.
“The council approved that $1 billion be released from the excess crude accounts for the purchase of security equipment, procurement of intelligence and logistics, among others ... to boost the counterinsurgency operations,” Obaseki told reporters shortly after the meeting in the capital Abuja.
Nigeria's excess crude account currently has a $2.3 billion balance.
The NEC decision came a day after Boko Haram launched a daring attack on Mainok, a village about 50 kilometers from the Borno state’s capital city of Maiduguri, leading to an exchange of gunfire with the government troops.
Locals have urged the government to up its game as militants make a gradual comeback in remote villages, thwarting efforts to resettle displaced persons back to their ancestral places of origin.
Millions had been displaced and at least 20,000 killed in the heat of the Boko Haram violence between 2013 and 2015 before government troops rolled back the militants’ advances. The last two years have seen militants targeting the civilian population and army locations in numerous suicide attacks.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.