Insecurity: Nigeria risks losing $493m paid for fighter jets, Senate raises the alarm

Nigeria’s dream to acquire Super Tucano fighter jets from the United States to aid combat actions and air assaults against insurgents may have suffered a setback.

Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Air Force, Senator Mike Ama Nnachi said the nation risked losing the sum of $493m paid to the United States, over poor runway.

He raised the concern while presenting the budget report of Air Force before the Senate Committee on Appropriation led by Senator Jubril Barau.

Findings revealed that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration after discussions with its United States counterpart placed an order for the aircraft.

Buhari in a letter he wrote to the National Assembly informed that the Nigerian government transferred $469.4 million to the US government for the purchase.

He expressed the hope that the procurement would help strengthen Nigeria’s national security, as well as deal a decisive blow to the terror gang, Boko Haram.

Senator Nnachi told the Senate Appropriation Committee that there was an urgent need to make provision for additional N9 billion that will take care of the runway and aircraft or else Nigeria will lose the money and the aircraft.

He revealed that when the Americans came to inspect the Kanji runway, they complained that it lacks the capacity to carry the aircraft.

He said: “It is a very serious issue, they are running around, they have gone to finance minister, they have gone to CBN, they have gone to Senate President. The money needed is not part of the main budget.

“Nigeria has already paid $493 million for the aircraft, and the officials of American company who came to Nigeria last week said that the Kanji runway is not capable to carry that fighter jets that Nigeria will forfeit the aircraft they mentioned about three countries which had been affected with that.”

Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Jubril Barau, however, assured his colleague that the threat would be addressed as he promised that his committee would look inward to make the fund available to address the issue in the 2021 budget.

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