THE United States (US) Department of State has approved the sale of AH-1Z Attack Helicopter and Related FMS Acquisitions to Nigeria after lawmakers stopped the deal in 2021.
On Thursday, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said it delivered the required certification notifying Congress of the possible sale.
The US Defense Agency said the proposed sale would support the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the US by improving the security of a strategic partner in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“The proposed sale will better equip Nigeria to contribute to shared security objectives, promote regional stability and build interoperability with the US and other Western partners.
“This sale will be a major contribution to US and Nigerian security goals. Nigeria will have no difficulty absorbing the equipment and services into its armed forces,” the agency said.
The military wares to be sold to Nigeria include 12 AH-1Z Attack Helicopters, 28 T-700 GE 401C engines (24 installed, four spares), and 2,000 Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) guidance sections.
The AH-1Z is an anti-armor and air-to-air missile designed to operate – and destroy targets in the most extreme environments.
Others are Night Vision Cueing Display (NVCD); commercial variant GPS with Standard Positioning Service (SPS); communication equipment; electronic warfare systems; AN/AVS-9 Aviator’s Night Vision Imaging System; M197 20mm machine gun; Target Sight System (TSS); support equipment; spare engine containers; spare and repair parts; tools and test equipment; technical data and publications.
The sale will include personnel training and training equipment, a Mission Planning system, US Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services, US Government and contractor assistance and oversight of facilities construction to include the provisioning of plans, drawings and specifications.
The agency also said $25M of case funds would be allocated for institutional and technical assistance to the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) to continue the Air-Ground Integration (AGI) program, which includes developing targeting processes that are legally compliant with International Humanitarian Law and the Laws of Armed Conflict; and other related elements of logistics and program support.
The agency said the total estimated program cost is $997 million.
Earlier in 2021, US Lawmakers halted the sale process, citing human rights abuses and authoritarian tendencies of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
The sale process was stalled after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee raised concerns over the Buhari regime’s handling of human rights.
In October 2020, Nigeria’s military allegedly shot and killed innocent civilians protesting police harassment and extrajudicial killings by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
No one has been punished for the incident that had been tagged the Lekki Massacre.
The following year, the Buhari government also banned the use of Twitter in Nigeria, an action condemned by rights groups and international organisations.