Nigeria receives six of 12 Super Tucano aircraft from US

The Nigeria Airforce (NAF) said it had received the first batch of six A-29 Super Tucano aircraft from the United States since its purchase in 2018.

This was disclosed in a statement by the Director of Public Relations and Information for NAF Headquarters Edward Gabkwet, on Thursday, in Abuja.

Gabkwet said the aircraft arrived in Kano State in Nigeria at about 12.34 p.m on Thursday.

He noted that they were received by the Minister of Defence Bashir Magashi, Chief of Army Staff Faruk Yahaya and Chief of Air Staff Oladayo Amao.

On July 15, the Airforce command announced that the six aircraft would be leapfrogged through Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Spain, and Algeria before arriving at their final destination in Nigeria.

The NAF also said that the second batch of the Super Tucano aircraft was expected to arrive in Nigeria before the end of the year.

The ICIR had reported that Nigerian pilots trained on Super Tucano fighter jets at the Moody Air Force Base in Georgia, United States.

The purchase of the Super Tucano had caused drama between the Nigerian president and the 8th National Assembly.

In April 2018, in a letter to the National Assembly, Buhari disclosed that the sum of $496m was withdrawn from the Excess Crude Account for the purchase of military aircraft.

However, the money was paid to the United States for the 12 Super Tucano aircraft without the approval of lawmakers as required by the constitution.

After the payment, Buhari then sought the approval of the National Assembly to include the money in the 2018 appropriation bill, which was at the time under consideration by the lawmakers.

The budgetary request contributed to the delay in the passage of the 2018 budget by the then Bukola Saraki led administration.

    Checks by The ICIR show that the Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano, also named ALX or A-29, is a Brazilian turboprop light attack aircraft designed and built by Embraer to develop the Embraer EMB 312 Tucano.

    The A-29 Super Tucano carries a wide variety of weapons, including precision-guided munitions, and was designed to be a low-cost system operated in low-threat environments.

    The delivery of the aircraft comes few days after terrorists shot down an Alpha jet belonging to the Nigerian Airforce. The Alpha jet was shot down while returning from a mission between the boundaries of Zamfara and Kaduna states.

    For over 12 years, Nigeria has been embroiled in insurgent and terrorist attacks in the Northern part of the country.

    Lukman Abolade is an Investigative reporter with The ICIR. Reach out to him via [email protected], on twitter @AboladeLAA and FB @Correction94

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