• U.S announces $40million in humanitarian assistance to Nigeria

By Abasifreke Effiong

The United States of America may have agreed on a definite date to supply 12 A-29 Super Tucanos fighter jets to Nigeria at the just concluded Binational Commission held in Washington, D.C.

A source privy to the details of discussions between Nigeria and U.S at the Binational meeting confided to our reporter.

Nigerian government sought to buy the new fighter aircraft, A-29 Super Tucanos from the United States of America far back in 2016 under President Barack Obama.

The Dune learnt that final procurement details and supply of the aircraft was part of the issues discussed by Nigeria and the United States of America at the Binational Commission.

Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, while addressing the press alongside U.S Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo on Tuesday 5th February, said Nigeria is still hoping to procure the fighter jets from the U.S.

“There are some fighter planes, A-29 Super Tucanos, that we hope to be able to procure to help us on this fight (against terrorism).”

Insecurity: Nigeria, U.S seal deal on supply of A-29S fighter jets Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama, left, speaks next to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020, at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

U.S. A-29s are built in Jacksonville, Florida in a partnership between Sierra Nevada Corporation and Brazil’s Embraer.

The two-seat aircraft designed for counter-insurgency and close air support can also be used for reconnaissance missions in low-threat environments, and for pilot training.

Onyeama said Nigeria discussed security and economic relations, infrastructure and democracy with the U.S during at the Binational Commission.

Meanwhile, the U.S government has announced a 40 million dollars humanitarian assistance to Nigeria.

U.S Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo who made the announcement on Tuesday in Washington D.C while briefing journalists on discussions between Nigeria and the U.S during the Binational meeting said the 40 million dollars is in addition to 350 million dollars given to Nigeria in 2019 by the U.S government.

He said the donation is to encourage the Nigerian government to protect civilians and humanitarian organisations working in the Northeast Nigeria devastated by Boko Haram terrorists.

“I’m pleased to announce today an additional $40 million in humanitarian assistance to Nigeria, adding to the nearly $350 million that we provided last year.”

This is coming barely three weeks after a member of the House of Representatives from Plateau state, told security agencies in the country to scrutinize the activities of humanitarian organisations working in the Northeast.

Pompeo applauded the effort of the Buhari administration in fighting terrorism and corruption, noting that the cooperation given by Nigeria to share important national security information with the U.S will help to further the fight against ISIS and its affiliates in West Africa.

“Nigeria was one of the first African nations to joint the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. America is now supporting the Nigerian fight against ISIS’s largest global affiliate, ISIS-West Africa – a dangerous threat to both of our countries.”

“In part due to this terrorism threat, on Friday, President Trump announced the suspension of immigrant visas for Nigerians because Nigeria has room to grow in sharing important national security information. I am optimistic that’s going to happen. In the proclamation, President Trump highlighted Nigeria’s importance as a strategic partner in the global fight against terrorism and recognized the government’s commitment to improving information sharing with us.”

“The foreign minister and I also discussed today the massive humanitarian crisis that the conflict with Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa and other religious and ethnic violence.

“We know that these issues are hard. We know that they’re complicated. But I strongly encouraged the Nigerian Government to do more to protect its civilians, including religious communities and the humanitarian organizations seeking to assist them”, Pompeo said.

READ the full address of the press briefing between Mike Pompeo and Geoffrey Onyeama here.