Buhari approves $1b from ECA for Boko Haram war

*Intensifies efforts to rescue Leah Sharibu
By Chesa Chesa
President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday met with security chiefs at the Aso Rock Villa and approved the request of state governors for the release of $1 billion for the purchase of new military gadgets and equipment for the armed forces to intensify the war against Boko Haram insurgency in the North East zone.
The meeting held in place of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), which was put off apparently owing to the inability to get ministers to submit their memos after the long Easter holidays.
The governors under the aegis of the National Economic Council (NEC), chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, had last December demanded that the $1 billion be earmarked from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) to boost the military onslaught against Boko Haram.
Governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, had distanced himself from the request and subsequently dragged the Federal Government to court over the matter.
But Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, after today’s security meeting, said that the President had gone ahead to approve the request.
Briefing State House correspondents, he said “our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, gave approval for the purchase of more equipment for the military, worth $1 billion.”
The minister disclosed that the rescue of the remaining abducted Dapchi school girl, Leah Sharibu, was also discussed and that “we are making all available efforts to see that the girl is returned safelya�?.
On other issues discussed at the meeting, he said: “This is a normal meeting of security agencies in the country. As usual, we discussed the current activities that affect most of the states in the federation like Taraba, Zamfara and other statesa�?.
On what to expect after the deployment in Zamfara, Dan-Ali said, a�?as usual we have operationalised a Division in Sokoto, there will be a Brigade in Katsina and another Brigade in Zamfara that will take care of security situation in that areaa�?.
On how that would resolve the issue, the minister said a�?of course, the strength of security personnel has increased, including the Air Force with additional quick response group; they have added enough manpower in that areaa�?.
The meeting was attended by the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonishakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, and the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ete-Ibas.
There were also the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris; the Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Lawal Daura; his counterpart at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, and the National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno.

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