President Jonathan’s $1billion loan request to equip military suffers setback

The minority leader of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, of the opposition party, has advised the Federal Government to explore ‘Trade by Barter option’ in its effort to step up military hardware and train military personnel instead of piling up debts.

Mr Gbajabiamila, who frowned at what he tagged ‘President Jonathan’s penchant for loans’ when the country had Sovereign Wealth Fund, reserve and excess oil revenue, said the one billion dollars loan which the President was requesting for was one loan too many for Nigeria’s future generation to pay-off and would not be granted.

In a statement issued by his media aide, Olanrewaju Smart, the lawmaker said that the President had earlier collected a loan of three trillion Naira allocated to defence in three years with nothing to show for it and advised the National Assembly not to grant the request while urging the Federal Government to try “exchanging oil for military hardware”.

Gbajabiamila cited the Al Yamamah Arms Deal between the Saudis and the UK, where a large amount of British military hardware was sold to the Saudi government for 600,000 barrels of crude oil daily, the oil for arms deal between China and Venezuela and the deal struck by the US in 2011 when over 80 F15 fighter jets were sold to the royal Saudi Air Force as example for Nigeria to emulate.

He, however, said that if the loan must be approved, clear explanations must be given for some issues such as the conditions for the loan, the repayment schedule and who bears the burden.

Other aspects of the loan he insisted must be explained are the practicability of the loan alongside government’s expenditure framework for the next three years and an immediate and a comprehensive audit of what has happened to all the funds allocated by the National Assembly to defence in the last 3 years among other things.