As Nigeria continues to grapple worsening insecurity occasioned by terrorism, insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and other violent crimes, the government of the United States of America has stated its intention to help the country stop the killings and other forms of extremist violence in the country.
Chargé d’Affaires of the United States Embassy in Abuja, Kathleen FitzGibbon, said this when she joined the chief of air staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, and his leadership team to inspect the first batch of six A-29 “Super Tucano” Light Attack aircraft that newly arrived in Nigeria.
According to a statement issued yesterday by the public affairs division of the United States Embassy, the aircraft represent a historic level of cooperation between the U.S. and Nigerian militaries.
FitzGibbon said that “beyond the new hardware that you see on this runway, this programme has brought our two militaries closer in formal training, professional development, air base construction, logistics planning, and negotiations.
“We are proud to partner with Nigeria in its ‘whole of government’ approach to end violent extremism and ensure a more stable, prosperous country for all Nigerians.”
The Super Tucano platform for Nigeria is the United States’ largest Foreign Military Sales programme in Sub-Saharan Africa, valued at almost $500 million.
According to the envoy, “This programme follows the Department of Defense’s “Total Package Approach” model and includes spare parts for several years of operation, contract logistics support, munitions, and a multi-year construction project to improve Kainji’s infrastructure.
“Through this programme, the US Air Force’s 81st Fighter Squadron at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, trained Nigerian pilots and maintenance crews to US standards. Training also emphasises the Law of Armed Conflict and Civilian Casualty Mitigation, which are fundamental principles of the Nigerian military’s professional education and training.”
She noted that with the A-29 Super Tucano purchase, the Nigerian Air Force had become a founding member of the U.S. Air Force’s “Combined Light Attack Experiment,” which, according to her, was developing Light Attack global best-practice tactics and doctrine for the 21st century.
The Super Tucano is a dual-pilot turboprop aircraft built as a workhorse combat air platform, equipped for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and for precision air-to-ground strike missions. The next six aircraft are scheduled for delivery later this year.
The air chief was accompanied by air officer commanding, Air Training Command, Air Vice Marshal Jackson Andrew Yusuf; chief of logistics, Air Vice Marshal Pam Chollom, and base commander, Nigerian Air Force Base, Kainji, Air Vice Marshal Precious Amadi.
Boko Haram/ISWAP Releases Pictures Of Abducted Soldiers
Meanwhile, Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists yesterday released pictures of the two soldiers and Yobe Liaison officer they abducted along Damaturu-Maiduguri highway on Sunday afternoon.
The insurgents also released the identity cards of their captives.
Two of the cards belong to Mai Lalle, one for Mustapha while the other for Lpcl Oyediran Adedotun of the Nigerian Army.
The ID card of the fourth kidnap victim was not sighted from the list of the cards provided by the insurgents.
All the four victims were abducted along Maiduguri/Damaturu highway.
LEADERSHIP gathered that while Mai Lalle and Mustapaha were travelling to Maiduguri, the two Army personnel were travelling to Kano on a pass permit.