BOKO HARAM | Trump, US to sell attack planes to Nigeria
The United States under the Donald Trump administration is pushing to sell 12 high-tech aircraft to Nigeria for its campaign against Boko Haram terrorists, according to US officials.
The officials who spoke under anonymity to the Associated Press, said the US Congress is expected to receive formal notification within weeks, kick-starting a deal with Nigeria that Barrack Obama had planned to approve at the very end of his presidency.
One of the officials 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.
The terms of the sales were however not disclosed as the officials requested anonymity to speak about internal diplomatic conversations.
It would be recalled that Nigeria under the Goodluck Jonathan administration, had been making efforts to purchase fighter planes from the US which did not sail through before he left office.
Though President Donald Trump is said to have made clear his intention to approve the sale of the aircraft, the National Security Council is still working on the issue.
The chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee Sen. Bob Corker, said that he supported the A-29 deal to Nigeria. Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, also said he backs the sale. “We’ve really got to try to do what we can to contain them,” McCain said of Boko Haram.
It is expected that the A-29 sale would improve the U.S. relationship with Nigeria and satisfy Trump’s priorities to support nations fighting terrorists’ uprisings, boost U.S. manufacturing and create high-wage jobs at home. The A-29 aircraft, which allow pilots to pinpoint targets at night.
“It’s hard to argue that any country in Africa is more important than Nigeria for the geopolitical and other strategic interests of the U.S.,” said J. Peter Pham, vice president of the Atlantic Council in Washington and head of its Africa Center.
When Trump called President Muhammadu Buhari who was on medical vacation in the United Kingdom, in February, he gave assurance of the U.S. readiness to cut a new deal in helping Nigeria in terms of military weapons to combat terrorism.
A White House statement that provided a summary of the call said “President Trump expressed support for the sale of aircraft from the United States to support Nigeria’s fight against insurgency and ending the menace.
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