There are strong indications that the United States has prevented the government of Nigeria from buying a fighter ground attack aircraft to aid the ongoing war against Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East.
Sources close to the polity have squealed that the US prevented the Nigerian military from acquiring the A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft from Brazil.
The Punch quoted a top source in the Presidency as saying that Nigeria had sealed a deal with the South American nation on the acquisition of the light attack aircraft when the US – which produced the aircraft – prevented the deal.
The source said, “The issue of the arms embargo against the country by the US is still in force. The US is helping in the area of training; they also have some of their platforms like the C130 which is so crucial in the campaign and operations of the military.
“However, the surprising thing is that they have again prevented the country from acquiring A29, Super Tucano light attack aircraft from Brazil.
“The US sold the aircraft to the Brazilians but they gave a condition that they could only be resold to other countries with the consent of the US. This means that Brazil must seek the permission of the US to sell.
“The Brazilians were enthusiastic when they visited Nigeria and the impression we had was that they were ready to sell, provided the funds were available.
“Curiously, they later developed cold feet because America started quoting human rights issues to block the deal.
“The aircraft are unique because the plan was to use the A-29 Super Tucano, Fighter Ground Attack aircraft to replace the ailing Alpha jets.
“The Alpha jets are old now; the Alpha jets and the MI helicopter gunships are the two major platforms deployed in the North-East.”
The proscription may have dimmed insinuations that the US was relaxing the arms embargo on Nigeria.
US Congressman Darrel Isah had said shortly after a meeting with service chiefs and defence authorities in the country in August 2015 that the US had commenced the process of relaxing the embargo on military assistance to the country under the Leahy Law.
The Leahy Law prohibits the US defence sector from providing military assistance to countries involved in rights violations.