The President of the United States Donald Trump led government is pushing forward with plans to sell up to a dozen aircraft to Nigeria’s air force for the fight against the so called Boko Haram group.
Sources who are aware of the development have said that the deal could be worth up to $600 million (about N184 billion).
Sources also said the propeller-driven plane with reconnaissance and surveillance as well as attack capabilities, an agile,Super Tucano A-29 aircraft, is made by Brazil’s Embraer.
During Trump’s phone call to President Muhammadu Buhari shortly after the U.S. president was sworn in last January, he had pledged to sell attack aircraft to Nigeria, despite concerns over abuses committed by the country’s security forces.
According to U.S. officials, Congress is expected to receive formal notification within weeks, setting in motion a deal with Nigeria that the Obama administration had planned to approve at the very end of Barack Obama’s presidency, reported Associated Press (AP) on Monday.
The Trump administration wants to push ahead to boost Nigeria’s efforts to fight Boko Haram and bolster hiring in the United States by defence firms.
“We’ve been told that the administration is going to go forward with that transaction,” a congressional aide said.
The arrangement will call for Nigeria to purchase up to 12 Embraer A-29 Super Tucano aircraft with sophisticated targeting gear for nearly $600 million, one of the officials said.
Confirming this development at a briefing last week, the Director, Defence Information, Maj-Gen. John Enenche, said that the US was one of the countries that had agreed to help Nigeria in the fight against Boko Haram.
Speaking from the Defence Headquarters, Abuja, he said:
“It is worthy of note that some countries such as Britain, USA and France among others provided one form of assistance to the military in our effort so far in the North-East. It is hoped that the collaboration would continue to ensure that this evil of terrorism is eliminated from Nigeria and equally degraded globally.”