US agrees to sell fighter jets to Nigeria
The U.S. on Wednesday agreed to sell 12 fighter jets to Nigeria to assist its counterinsurgency operations in the northeast, where Boko Haram militants continue to operate, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency.
U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria Stuart Symington presented a letter of offer and acceptance (LOA) to the Chief of Air Staff Sadique Abubakar at Air Force headquarters in Abuja confirming the sale of the A-29 Super Tucano Attack Aircraft, Abubakar said in a statement.
Nigeria’s stability is strategic to the security of the West African sub-region and Washington is committed to helping Abuja decimate Boko Haram and other security threats, Symington said while presenting the LOA. He added the fighter jets would strengthen the capacity of the air force and the U.S. would help with the timely supply of aircraft spares.
“The ambassador also indicated the readiness of U.S. officials to work with the NAF [Nigerian Air Force] officials to facilitate the early delivery of the aircraft once payment has been made. In that regard, officials of both the U.S. and the NAF will be meeting in early January to jointly study the LOA prior to subsequent endorsements by both parties,” the statement added.
The LOA will be signed and payments will be made before Feb. 20, 2018 to ensure production of the aircraft has begun, said a local military spokesperson.
The spokesman said Abubakar thanked the ambassador for helping see the deal through.
It follows years of Washington's refusal to sell arms to Abuja due to alleged human rights abuses by local security forces.
Nigeria has been battling an insurgency by Boko Haram for nine years in its northeast, where millions have been displaced and tens of thousands killed, although the militants' network is thought to have been degraded.
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