Trump approves sale of military planes to Nigeria
The White House has given the go-ahead for the sale of military planes to Nigeria to aid in the fight against militant group Boko Haram, the AP news agency has said.
President Donald Trump told Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari in a phone conversation in February that he backed the deal.
The deal, said to be worth up to $600m (£490m), was agreed by the Obama administration, but was reportedly halted on the day it was due to be sent to Congress, after a catastrophic incident involving the Nigerian military.
About 90 people, mainly women and children, were killed in January when the Nigerian Air Force mistakenly bombed a camp in the country’s north-east, which was hosting thousands of those who had fled Boko Haram.
The move is Trump’s latest effort to arm countries despite questionable rights records in some cases. On his first trip abroad as president, Trump announced a $110 billion sale of military equipment to Saudi Arabia, including precision-guided munitions that Obama had cut off over concerns about high rates of civilian casualties in Yemen. Saudi Arabia is at war with Iranian-backed Shiite rebels in Yemen.
Despite approving the sale to Nigeria, the U.S. is keeping up the pressure on Buhari’s government to improve its forces’ human rights practices and ensure accountability for violators, a U.S. official said. The aim of the sale is to help Nigeria and its
The aim of the sale is to help Nigeria and its neighbors strengthen their ability to fight Boko Haram and an Islamic State group affiliate in West Africa. Other countries in the region fighting similar threats already have the Super Tucano, the official noted.
The State Department notified Congress late Wednesday of its plans to approve the sale and triggered a 30-day review period in which lawmakers can try to block the sale. While several
While several Democrats, in particular, have raised concerns, Congress is unlikely to stop the administration from proceeding.
If the sale goes forward, the U.S. will have to send employees or contractors to Nigeria to provide logistical support and train teams on how to use the aircraft. They also would provide guidance on international laws for protecting civilians, officials said.