President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime has blamed the American lawmakers for preventing Nigeria from buying attack helicopters from the U.S. government.
Foreign affairs minister Geoffrey Onyeama said, “They’ve also been very supportive in the security area, provided a Super Tucano aircraft. We have a slight issue with some attack helicopters, but that’s more on the legislative side and not on the executive side.”
Mr Onyeama disclosed this during a joint press conference in Abuja with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
U.S. lawmakers have been stalling on the proposed sale of attack helicopters to Nigeria.
This is in light of Buhari regime’s horrible human rights record and multiple security crises happening across the country at once.
Foreign Policy reported that Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee delayed clearing a proposed sale of 12 AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters and accompanying defence systems to the Nigerian military.
In July, the Nigerian Air Force included the six A-29 Super Tucano fighter jets to aid its fight against bandits and Boko Haram. The A-29s cost about $500 million and were facilitated through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme.
The American embassy in Abuja had described it as the largest sale in sub-Saharan Africa.During the induction ceremony of the Super Tucano jets, U.S. Department of Defence leaders who were also present said the “aircraft will assist the Nigerian Air Force in their fight against violent extremist organisations including the Islamic State West Africa Province.”
This decision was questioned by former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, who warned of a possible takeover of the Super Tucano fighter jets by bandits and terrorists.In October, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) secured a U.S. court’s leave to file its objection to a motion seeking to dismiss its suit against the sale of the military aircraft to the Nigerian government.
IPOB had sued Mr Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin over the sale of the fighter aircraft to Nigeria, asking the court to reverse the sale.