The United States of America are presently deliberating on the sale of as many as 12 sophisticated war weapons (air weapons) against world’s most dangerous terrorists ‘Boko Haram’. The weapons include, A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, to aid Nigeria in its battle against the Islamic extremists.
U.S officials disclosed this as a vote of confidence in President Muhammadu Buhari’s drive to reform the country’s corruption-tainted military.
The U.S administration is also dedicating more intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets to the campaign against the insurgents in the region and plans to provide additional training to Nigerian infantry forces, the officials told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the administration’s plans.
According to the officials, the possible sale (which was favored within the U.S. administration but is subject to review by Congress) underscores the deepening U.S. involvement in helping governments in north and west fight extremist groups.
“The Buhari administration I think has really re-energized the bilateral relationship in a fundamental way,” one U.S. official said.
The deputy commander of the Pentagon’s Africa Command, U.S. Navy Vice Admiral, Micheal Franken told a Washington forum last week that there now are 6,200 U.S. troops – most of them Special Operations Forces – operating from 26 locations on the continent.
The widening U.S. military co-operation is a political victory for Buhari, who took office last year pledging to crack down on the rampant corruption that has undermined the armed forces in Africa’s most populous country.
Recall that the United States had blocked arm sales and dispatch of military intelligence to Nigeria during Goodluck Jonathan’s administration partly because of human rights concerns, which undermined the country’s relationship with U.S.
The souring relations hit a low at the end of 2014 when U.S. military training of Nigerian forces was abruptly halted.
That is changing under Buhari, whose crackdown on corruption has led to a raft of charges against top national security officials in the previous government.
“Buhari made clear from the get-go that his number one priority was reforming the military to defeat Boko Haram … And he sees us as part of that solution,” a second U.S. official said.