BY CHUKWUMA NNAM
We’re Not Moved by United States Rejection of 6 Attack Helicopters Delivery – Nigeria Govt
Feeling unperturbed with the rejection of the United States lawmakers sales of attack helicopters to the Nigerian government, the Muhammadu Buhari Government said it was not perturbed as all necessary agreement indices reached on a government-to-government basis were adhered to.
The deal is worth $875 million according to US officials and congressional aides familiar with the matter.
It was gathered from the U.S lawmakers that their opposition to the delivery of the remaining six Super Tucano Aircraft and subsequent sale of military hardware to Nigeria was based on President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration’s perceived human rights abuse, the #Endsars protests of 2020 that ended in crisis and banditry.
Moreover, the US Chargé d’Affaires, Kathleen FitzGibbon, had stated on Tuesday, during an inspection of the six A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, that the aircraft represented a historic level of cooperation achieved between the US and Nigerian militaries.
“We are proud to partner with Nigeria in its ‘whole of government’ approach to end violent extremism and ensure a more stable, prosperous country for all Nigerians.”
Speaking in this regard, Mary Beth Leonard, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, had welcomed the pilots and aircraft to Massachusetts, during the first leg of their trans-Atlantic flight to Nigeria.
US Embassy Authorities said: “The Super Tucano platform for Nigeria is the United States’ largest Foreign Military Sales programme in Sub-Saharan Africa, valued at almost $500 million.
“This programme follows the Department of Defence’s ‘Total Package Approach’ model and includes spare parts for several years of operation, contract logistics support, munitions, and a multi-year construction project to improve Kainji’s infrastructure.
“Through this programme, the U.S. Air Force’s 81st Fighter Squadron at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, trained Nigerian pilots and maintenance crews to U.S. standards.
“Training also emphasises the Law of Armed Conflict and Civilian Casualty Mitigation, which are fundamental principles of the Nigerian military’s professional education and training.
However, senior security sources told Vanguard that allegations of atrocities being cited as reasons by the lawmakers have not been proven.
Therefore, they said, the allegations cannot be used as a front to halt pre-existing negotiations and understandings on the purchase of military hardware.
The US government is solidly behind Nigeria’s effort to free the country of myriads of security challenges, especially banditry, kidnapping and ISWAP/Bọkọ Haram terrorism.