NIGERIA will take delivery of the final batch of the 12 Embraer A-29 Super Tucano fighter jets next week, Minister of Defense Bashir Magashi has revealed.
Magashi stated this while addressing state house correspondents after a three-hour security meeting by President Muhammadu Buhari with the nation’s service chiefs at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Tuesday.
He said that the president had summoned the meeting to review and find lasting solutions to insecurity across the country, particularly in Zamfara State, where bandits had established a stronghold.
In July, Nigeria received the first batch of the jets from the United States, which, according to Magashi, were still being test-run.
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In April 2018, in a letter to the National Assembly, Buhari disclosed that $496 million was withdrawn from the Excess Crude Account to purchase military aircraft.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.
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 weeks 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 terrorist attacks in the northern part of the country.