Reports credited to The Nation have it that about 50 percent of the vehicles sent in by the United States government to fight insurgency in Nigeria are not working.
Yesterday, the media was awash with reports of the delivery of over 24 Mine- Resistant Armour-Protected Vehicles (MRAP) to the Nigerian Army to boost the war against Boko Haram.
The vehicles were reportedly donated in line with the United States' Excess Defence Articles programme, and were said to be among those retrieved from Iraq and Afghanistan.
According to The Nation, it would cost the military millions in dollars to fix and equip the MRAP to standard use, especially because the spare parts could only be bought from the original manufacturers in America.
Manufactured in 2008, the minimum carriage capacity of each vehicle is five persons and can conveniently carry anti-air misiles, as well as M-15 calibre machine guns. It can withstand attacks from Improvised Explosives Devices (IEDs), dynamites and bombs.
Defence Minister Gen. Dan Ali, who was represented by Major-General Barry Ndiomu, during the presentation, said the vehicles would help protect troops against IEDs and help in the movement of men with little or no casualties.
"We appreciate what the US has done but like Oliver Twist, we will appreciate if more is done. The vehicles came without spare parts. Not all of them are serviceable. The U.S. should provide the spares to enable us repair those that need to be serviced," he was quoted to have said.
While fielding questions from reporters, US Defence Attaché to Nigeria Col. Patrick Doyle revealed that about fifty percent were in good working conditions.
"The programme provided equipment to partner nations in the conditions that they are when the nations saw them. So, the Nigerian Army inspected the vehicles a few months back and selected the best they could find.
"Originally, we agreed to allow them to have 32 vehicles. Twent-five are in front of you today. Many of these vehicles will need some work.
"Probably about half of them are in good working condition but will need minor work. Others will need some body, electrical works.
"The reason we have excess defence article programmes is because we are downsizing forces in our military. We have left Iraq with our forces and have downsized forces out of Afghanistan.
"So, these vehicles were gladly provided when Nigerian Army asked.
"The repairs of the vehicles are up to the Nigerian government to do that. They can repair them on their own, but of course, the spare parts are particular to these vehicles and can be got only from the manufacturers.
"We have been discussing on this and we are working out conditions on how that can be done. The easiest way to do that is to open a government to government case, where we can work with them to ensure they get the correct parts and in a timely manner from the correct manufacturers.
"We have not done the estimate of what it will cost the Nigerian government to fix the vehicles," Doyle informed.
Nigerians have since reacted to the promise fulfilled by the American government. While some think it is a good step in the right direction, many others remain skeptical about the new arrangement.