President Goodluck Jonathan hinted on Tuesday that Nigeria has committed $34 million (about N7 billion) on the immediate deployment of troops and logistics support to stop the activities of Islamic terrorists in Mali and return the country to order.
He said he has also made additional $5million pledge to further help that country, even as Nigeria has already deployed 900 combat soldiers and 300 Air Force personnel to Mali as part of the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA).
The sum of US$5.5 million out of the N7 billion, according to him, had been used for the re-construction and refurbishment of a number of medical clinics in the military barracks of some of the Malian Defence and Security Forces, as part of the Security Sector Reform (SSR) intervention.
Speaking at the Donors' Conference held at the end of the 20th Ordinary Session of the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Tuesday, Jonathan explained that about $2million of the said amount has been spent on humanitarian relief and supplies, while the additional $5million pledge which was in response to the call for more donations, was a further expression of Nigeria's commitment to the international effort to restore peace in Mali.
The AU had set a target of $50 million, but the total pledges announced at the end of the conference was $455.53 million apart from other commitments made by the donors to contribute to the training of the Malian Defence Forces and other assistance
President Jonathan said, "Nigeria has commenced the deployment of 900 combat soldiers and 300 Air Force personnel to Mali as part of AFISMA. Nigeria has so far provided about $32 million for the immediate deployment and logistic support for the troops.
"Prior to this, Nigeria dispatched relief and humanitarian relief and supplies amounting to US$2 million and Nigeria has undertaken the re-construction and refurbishment of a number of clinics in the military barracks of some of the Malian Defence and Security Forces, as part of the Security Sector Reform (SSR) intervention to the tune of US$5.5 million."
He noted that Nigeria was part of the joint initiative being undertaken by the African Union (AU), Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS), the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) aimed at mobilizing adequate financial resources in support of the Malian Defense and Security Forces (MDSF) as well as African-led International Support Mission in Mali AFISMA.
The president added that though this initiative would be considered as rather belated, given the rapidly unfolding events in Mali, it was better to start now than to wait even a day longer.
"The collaboration between these four organizations on this initiative is a clear demonstration of international solidarity, sympathy and cooperation required for a definitive resolution of the Malian crisis which has serious international consequences", he noted.