The United States Department Of Defence (US-DOD) has assured the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) of on-schedule delivery of the 12 units of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft.
Spokesman of NAF, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, said in a statement on Saturday in Abuja that the 12 aircrafts were recently paid for by the Federal Government.
Daramola said that Brig.-Gen. Sean Farrell, the Director of United States Air Force Security Assistance and Cooperation (AFSAC) Directorate, gave the assurance during a meeting between representatives of US-DOD and NAF in Abuja.
Farrell and members of his team were in Nigeria to discuss the delivery schedule of the aircraft as well as the construction at NAF Base, where the aircraft would be stationed.
The spokesman quoted Farrell as saying that the visit would provide the team with first-hand knowledge of the construction site and help to avoid delays in schedule and risks in the future.
According to him, Farrell assured of AFSAC’s committed to assisting NAF to deliver air power capability expeditiously, to add value to what the Service is already doing in Counter-Insurgency (COIN) operations in the North-East of Nigeria.
The American Air chief expressed the readiness of his team to complete the execution of the contract in record time.
Daramola said that at the while receiving the team, Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, lauded the US Government for the support it had rendered to NAF over the years.
He quoted the air chief as acknowledging that US’ instrumentality in ensuring the success of Counter Insurgency (COIN) operations in the North-East in spite of recent setbacks.
He said that support from the US had also enabled the air force to project air power within the West African Sub-Region.
According to him, these include the deployment of NAF aircraft to Gambia in 2017, which facilitated the peaceful transition of power in that country and thereby ensuring the sustenance of democracy.
Abubakar reiterated that Boko Haram menace was not a local problem, but a global one.
“This is because the consequences of not adequately dealing with the threat would not only impact on Nigeria and the West African Sub-Region, but also on other parts of Africa and the rest of the world.”
He said that the relationship between USDOD and NAF underscored the need for international collaboration and cooperation to adequately and decisively deal with insurgency.
Abubakar said that the defeat of ISIS in Syria and Iraq had had the unfortunate effect of exacerbating the problem in Nigeria with transfer of fighters and equipment into and around the West African Sub-Region.
He said this had also emboldened the terrorist group, which now had more sophisticated weapons and equipment.
He explained that the induction of the A-29 would greatly enhance NAF’s capability to more effectively prosecute the war against insurgency in the North-East
Abubakar, however, urged the AFSAC team to do all within its power to ensure that, at least, two units of the aircraft were delivered to Nigeria “even before the new delivery date of 2021.”