The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has commended the United States government for approving the sale of A29 Super Tucano fighter jets to the Nigerian Air Force, saying it would boost the fight against insurgency in the North-East.
Saraki was responding to the announcement by the Nigerian Air Force on Wednesday that the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Stuart Symington, had presented Letters of Offer and Acceptance to Nigeria.
The letter represents the US government’s official offer to sell defence articles and services to Nigeria during a visit by the ambassador to the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar.
The Senate President, in a statement on Friday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu, said the development was a positive indication that the Americans were genuinely interested in helping to restore peace to Nigeria by ending Boko Haram insurgency.
While promising that the Senate would support the plan by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to purchase high-powered security equipment in order to strengthen the armed forces, Saraki recalled that when he received an eight-man US congressional delegation headed by Senator Christopher Coons of Delaware on August 28, 2017, the need to lift embargo on sale of weapons to Nigeria by the US was a major point of discussion.
Saraki said, “My gratitude and that of my colleagues goes to Senator Coons and other members of his delegation for giving congressional backing to this arms sales arrangement. They have kept their word and backed it up with action. During that visit, they promised that they would help to ensure the arms sales embargo against Nigeria was lifted. Now, we can see that they are true partners in the fight against terrorism in Nigeria.”
The Senate President also commended Symington for demonstrating consistent commitment to helping Nigeria to fully restore peace in the troubled North-East geopolitical zone.
He said, “Since his first meeting with me after he resumed, Ambassador Symington had promised that he would make the lifting of the US ban on sale of military hardware to Nigeria one of his priority deliverables. Now, he has shown he is a true partner in Nigeria’s counter-insurgency campaigns.”
He also called on Nigeria’s partners across the world, especially in Europe, to emulate the US by supporting the anti-insurgency campaign through gestures like sale of arms and provision of assistance towards the rebuilding, reconstruction and rehabilitation of the war-ravaged areas in the North-East.