NIGERIAN government officials are confident that the US will deliver the remaining six Super Tucano military aircraft and other hardware it ordered despite President Joe Biden being under pressure to halt arms sales over the Buhari administration’s human rights record.
Last week, Nigeria took delivery of six A-29 Super Tucano planes, four years after the US agreed to sell the country the light attack aircraft to assist the fight against Boko Haram insurgents. A further six are due to be delivered in the next batch but US lawmakers are urging the White House to halt delivery govern the poor human rights record of the Buhari government lately.
Apart from military crackdowns in the southeast geo-political zone, security operatives have been clamping down on government opponents very hard lately, which is raising eyebrows in Washington. Last month, Indigenous People of Biafra leader Nnamdi Kanu was drugged and abducted by Nigerian officials in Kenya, while Yoruba Nation agitator Sunday Adeyemo’s home was raided in Ibadan.
More worrying for US lawmakers was the Nigerian government’s clampdown on #Endsars protests in 2020 that ended with troops opening fire on demonstrators at Lekki in Lagos. As a result, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee called for delayed clearing the next batch of Tucanos, 12 AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters and accompanying defence systems to be sold to the Nigerian military.
However, Nigerian security sources have said the federal government is not perturbed as all necessary agreement indices reached on a government-to-government basis were adhered to. In total, the deal is worth $875m according to US officials and congressional aides familiar with the matter.