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Six fighter jets depart US for Nigeria

By Idowu Abdullahi

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF), has disclosed that the first batch of six A-29 Super Tucano aircraft has departed the United States and en route to Nigeria to augment the fight against insurgency across the country.

It explained that the six aircraft would be leapfrogged through five countries, which include Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Spain, and Algeria before arriving in Nigeria towards the end of July.

Confirming the development, NAF Director, Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, through a statement on Thursday, noted that the official induction ceremony of the aircraft into the inventory of NAF was planned at a later date in August.

He said that his office remained open to any inquiry regarding the arrival and induction of the aircraft.
The A-29 Super Tucano is designed and built for the counter-insurgency mission in Nigeria.

It would be recalled that in response to agitations on $1 billion removed from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) by the Federal Government to acquire ammunition, the presidency had in March disclosed that six of the 12 Super Tucanos fighter jets procured from the United States were on track to arrive in mid-July of 2021.

The presidency added that the other six to complete the number acquired from US would arrive in the country at a later date and that 14 Nigerian pilots have been deployed to Moody Air Force Base in Georgia to undergo training on the fighter jets operations.

This assurance came barely three years after the apex government obtained $1 billion from ECA to acquired ammunition and set aside $329 million for the purchase of 12 fighter jets.

Other percentages of the funds jointly approved by the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) were said to have been released to arms manufacturers in United Arab Emirate (UAE) and the ammunition was said to have been allegedly intercepted by the government and decided to hold on to procurement from the country.

Confirming the arrival date, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed that the hangar for the aircraft were already been built in readiness for their arrival.

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