Nigeria will not accept the stringent conditions set by the United States on the planned purchase of 12 Tucano fighter jets, Minister of Defence Mansur Dan-Ali has said. The conditions include that the sale will not be made till 2020 and that Nigerian technicians will not be trained by U.S. staff, or be part of the maintenance crews.
The minister said the security council has approved the purchase of the $494 million 12 A-29 Super Tucano fighter crafts, but “some of the conditions America gave us are stringent. These conditions we will not accept.”
One of the conditions is that the sale will not be made till 2020, the minister said. He said other conditions included that Nigerian technicians would not be trained by US staff, or be part of the maintenance crews.
“They are also thinking of not allowing our technicians to be part of the production inspection,” he said.
“But this is what we normally do in all the defence contracts, we send our personnel to go and understudy, especially when it comes to specialized aircrafts like in Russia, our personnel are permanently based in where the production is being done for this MI35 helicopters,” Dan-Ali told reporters at the State House, Abuja.
The aircraft purchase has been mired in controversy since President Barack Obama’s administration. Under Obama, the aircraft deal had been held off due to concerns about the Nigerian military’s human rights abuses.
The deal was further postponed recently when 170 people died last January after Nigerian Airforce bombed a refugee camp in Rann, Borno state.
Dan-Ali said the federal government was planning to meet with the US ambassador to discuss reducing the conditions.
“Payments will be made when the conditions are reduced,” the defence minister said.
The Nigerian Airforce had earlier scheduled February 20 for the final agreements to be signed and initial payments made.