“This truly is an opportunity to bring together the capabilities on the human side and what the A-29 brings to the nation, particularly as it will contribute to the tackling i security, and instability not only in Nigeria but more broadly the region”
In a bid to tame and defeat the decade-long terrorism and armed banditry in Nigeria, the United States Government says it is willing to provide intelligence towards identifying their sponsors in the country.
Already discussion in this regard is ongoing, the U.S. Ambasssdor to Nigeria, Mrs Mary Beth Leonard has said.
She spoke at a roundtable on US – Nigeria military cooperation with journalists at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja.
Leonard’s comments followed the disclosure by Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, the Commander of United States Europe and African Air Forces Command, that the induction of A-29 Super Tucano Fighter aircraft into Nigerian Air Force operations, will be a defining moment in combating terrorism and other violent extremism.
Harrigian said: “The acquisition of the fighter aircraft for Nigerian military has brought in multitude of capabilities that would help in tackling the prevailing instability in Nigeria.
“This truly is an opportunity to bring together the capabilities on the human side and what the A-29 brings to the nation, particularly as it will contribute to the tackling i security, and instability not only in Nigeria but more broadly the region.”
Underscoring U.S. readiness to support Nigeria identify and fish out terrorists’ sponsors, Leonard said: “That is something we are very eager to partner Nigeria on.
“I have had at least three conversations in the last two months on this subject. I won’t like to go into details.”
Asked if U.S. partnership with Nigeria will not collapse like that of Afghanistan in the face of uprising, Leonard said:“Nigeria has had a strong bilateral relationship with the US and that both situations are not the same.
“I hear people making the analogy with Afghanistan a lot, it does not match up. When you listen to what President Joe Biden said on how troops went to Afghanistan in the first place, it was because they were complicit in a horrible tragedy where over 3,000 Americans were killed.
“That is a different construct. The sovereign nations who have had strong bilateral relations. I don’t actually think the two match up.”
On the A-29 Super Tucano purchased from U.S., Leonard said the induction of the fighter aircraft was a significant milestone in the U.S. – Nigerian bilateral relations, adding the U.S. remains committed to support Nigeria in fighting insecurity.
On Nigeria’s democracy, the ambassador expressed her home government’s commitment to supporting
its democracy and economic programmes.
“The U.S. government will also ensure that the full package with regards to the agreement between Nigerian and the U.S. in the Super Tucano would be fully implemented.”
In his comment, the Commander, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, said the purchase of Tucano fighter jets by Nigeria was an opportunity to cement the U.S.-Nigeria relationship to curb insecurity.
“The A -29 Super Tucano gives us an opportunity to reconnect our relationship with Nigeria. It is also an opportunity to bring together the capabilities on the human side and what the A29 brings to the nation, practically as it would contribute to bringing stability to not only Nigeria but the region.
“Importantly, the platform itself brings a multitude of capabilities and this is not just about weapons, it is about intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, it is about that operability that it provides between the air component and the ground component.
“And so, it broadens the shared understanding of the force to be able to operate in these different domains.
“And, we see this as a great opportunity to work together in these different areas to deepen our partnership, look for future opportunities, whether it be training whether it be intelligence because part of what we offer and what we are going to work together is really the full package.
“And, when we talk about the maintenance of an aircraft, when we talk about the tactics, techniques and procedures that the pilots use, those are a guys things we are going to continue to refine together with the Nigerian Air Force.
“And, we see this as really an opportunity to broaden those areas where we have these shared values and areas that we’re going to work together to ultimately work to improve the security instability and work in partnership with all the things that the embassy does,” he said.
Harrigian commended the personnel of the Nigerian Air Force for exhibiting high level of competence and professionalism during their training.