Donald Trump To Supply Fighter Jets To Nigeria

By Ikenga Chronicles April 11, 2017

Emerging report indicate that United States President Donald Trump has concluded plans to sell high-tech aircraft to Nigeria for its campaign against Boko Haram Islamic extremists.

Recall that during Trump’s first phone call with Buhari in February, he had  “assured the Nigerian president of U.S. readiness to cut a new deal in helping Nigeria in terms of military weapons to combat terrorism”, according to Buhari’s office.

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, top US officials said.

The officials were not authorised to discuss the terms of the sale publicly and requested anonymity to speak about internal diplomatic conversations.

Recall that the Nigerian Air Force has been accused of bombing civilian targets at least three times in recent years.

In the worst incident, a fighter jet on January 17 repeatedly bombed a camp at Rann, near the border with Cameroun, where civilians had fled from Boko Haram.

The A-29 sale would improve U.S. relationship with Nigeria, Africa’s largest consumer market of 170 million people, the continent’s biggest economy and its second-largest oil producer.

The aircraft deal also would satisfy Trump’s priorities to support nations fighting Islamic uprisings, boost U.S. manufacturing and create high-wage jobs at home.

The A-29 aircraft, which allow pilots to pinpoint targets at night, are assembled in Jacksonville, Florida.

“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 Centre.

Once Congress is officially notified of the sale, lawmakers who want to derail it have 30 days to pass veto-proof legislation.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., 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.

Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, said in mid-February he was “leery” of the sale because of the Nigerian military’s impunity. Cardin said this week he’s not trying to block the deal.

“Ultimately we hope that the sale goes forward,” he said. “But there is progress that needs to be made in protecting the civilian population.”

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