- Nigeria says it needs the A-29 Super Tucanos aircraft on time to combat insurgency
- The federal government has requested the United States of America to speed up its delivery
- The Nigerian Air Force operates just seven fighter jets at the moment, the lowest number in history
The federal government of Nigeria has appealed to the United States of America to speed up the delivery of the acquired A-29 Super Tucanos aircraft for efficient military operations in the country.
The Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Salihi Magashi (rtd), stated this when he played host to the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Berth Leonard, in Abuja on Tuesday, February 4.
Magashi, however, commended the US government for its continued support to Nigeria in the areas of healthcare and military operations.
“Nigeria has benefited from the US in providing equipment for the Nigerian Air Force, activation of the Charlie 130, supplying of aircraft spare parts, training, educational and numerous health programmes,” he said.
In her response, the US Ambassador promised that America would continue to collaborate with Nigeria to combat the insecurity posed by the Boko Haram and other terror groups operating in the country.
She, however, tasked the Nigerian military to maintain professionalism by protecting human rights in their operations.
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) operates just seven fighter jets at the moment, the lowest number in history.
Experts say going by current plans it could be up to a decade before the NAF fighter fleet significantly grows again, warning that Nigeria’s tiny fighter fleet is a few shoot-down or crash away from becoming extinct.
NAF is expecting delivery of 12 A-29 Super Tucano aircraft from the United States in 2022, after buying 3 JF-17s from Pakistan.
The Nigerian government, however, wants it delivered on time as the country faces increasing cases of insecurity.
Nigeria also sought out Russian fighter jets to fight Boko Haram during a summit in Sochi, Russia in October 2019.
The U.S has in the past been involved in controversies surrounding the delivery of fighter jets.
Earlier this year, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on the US to deliver F-35 fighter jets his country ordered or issue a refund.
Nigerians have been reacting on social media concerning the military's acquisition of the fighter jets.
Umar Al Asad wrote on Twitter: Nigeria will be buying Colombia fighter jets to fight Boko haram and be claiming "state of the art jet war jet"
Michael Chibuzor wrote: The A29 Super Tucano fighter jets are the most ideal in counter-terrorism warfare especially in rugged terrains and harsh weather conditions. Nigeria knows exactly what they want and they went for it. US special forces use them for CT operations.
Prince Chibukem wrote: The Nigeria Airforce operates just 5 fighter jets? An airforce that is supposedly fighting insurgency? Angola has 18, Sudan has 23. Let’s just pray Lesotho or Botswana doesn’t decide to invade anytime soon.
President Muhammadu Buhari recently authorized the deployment of air power against bandits attacking Niger state in the last few weeks.
A statement by presidential spokesman Garba Shehu revealed that the president has received assurances that with the harmattan dust gradually easing, fighter aircraft would soon join the efforts to provide effective air attacks against the bandits.
The bandits' have in the past few weeks, had a field day attacking remote communities around Dogon Gona forest in Niger state.
Meanwhile, Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo on Monday, January 27 said Nigeria should have harnessed the engineering and technological ingenuity that emanated from the defunct Republic of Biafra during the civil war.
Osinbajo who lamented the inability of Nigeria to leverage on the prowess of Biafran engineers stated that the defunct Project Development Agency, Enugu would have served the purpose but it was not to be.
Biafran soldiers were known for their technological creativity during the civil war where they focused on locally made weapons.
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