Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has commended the United States government for agreeing to sell fighter jets to Nigeria to combat the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East.
The U.S government, through its Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Stuart Symington, had on Thursday announced its decision to sell A29 Super Tucano fighter jets to the Nigerian Air Force.
Symington presented Letters of Offer and Acceptance to Nigeria, which represents the official American government’s offer to sell defence articles and services to Nigeria during a visit to Nigeria’s Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sidique Abubakar.
Saraki said the development was a positive indication that America was genuinely desirous of helping to enthrone peace in Nigeria and ending the insurgency in the North East part of the country.
He promised that the Senate would support the plan by the Buhari administration to purchase high powered security equipment in order to strengthen the Armed Forces.
The Senate president recalled that the sale of weapons to Nigeria came up for discussion when he received an eight-man U.S congressional delegation, led by Senator Christopher Coons on August 28.
“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 words and backed it up with action. During that visit, they promised 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.
“It is obvious that if the Congress had vetoed the arm sales deal, we won’t be talking of this expected new fighter jets which will definitely help us to finally defeat the Boko Haram insurgents and fully restore the confidence of our fighting force,” Saraki stated.
He commended Amb. Symington for demonstrating consistent commitment to helping Nigeria fully restore peace in the troubled North-East zone.
“Since his first meeting with me after he resumed, Amb. Symington had promised that he would make the lift of the U.S 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,” the Senate president added.
He also called on Nigeria’s partners across the world, especially in Europe to emulate the U.S by also supporting the anti-insurgency campaign of the present administration 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.