HC Deb 19 November 1968 vol 773 cc1098-9
19. Mr. Goodhart

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what aid will be given to Nigeria in 1969.

Mr. Prentice

It is too soon to answer this Question in full. Existing commitments and programmes will cost about £7,500,000 during the United Kingdom financial year 1969–70. In addition, I hope to discuss with the Federal Government of Nigeria the situation which will emerge at the end of the civil war and to make an appropriate contribution to their needs when the time comes.

Mr. Goodhart

Is the Minister aware that a number of people in this country are afraid that our aid will be used for the buying of bombs and bullets for use against Biafra? Will he ensure that there is rigid supervision so that our aid is used to relieve suffering?

Mr. Prentice

None of our aid is being used for the supply of arms for military equipment of any kind, and that will continue to be the position.

Mr. Hooley

Will my right hon. Friend agree that it is important to get an enhanced aid programme without waiting for the end of the civil war? There is an enormous amount requiring to be done and I hope that this does not mean that schemes are being held up merely because hostilities are continuing.

Mr. Prentice

When the fighting started, in May, 1967, we froze part of our aid as a precaution against the risk of projects being engulfed in the war. As it became clear that a large part of the country was not affected by the fighting, we have changed that policy and we began a number of new projects fairly recently.

Sir A. V. Harvey

If, unfortunately, the civil war continues into next year, will the right hon. Gentleman ensure that Biafra, as part of that country, will get its share of aid, through whatever channels he can arrange?

Mr. Prentice

I have no proposals for that at present.

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