The United States State Department has approved the sale of 12 AH-1Z Cobra attack helicopters to Nigeria at the cost of about $1bn.
This was announced by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency on Thursday. The package includes $25m for human rights-related training, according to YahooNews.
The sale includes the Bell-made Cobras; 28 General Electric-made T700-401C engines; 2,000 Advanced Precision Kill Weapon Systems used to convert unguided missiles into precision-guided missiles; and night vision, targeting and navigation systems.
It had been earlier reported that top Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee delayed the sale amid concerns Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari was drifting toward authoritarianism.
“Nigeria requires a fundamental rethink of the framework of our overall engagement,” committee Chairman Bob Menendez, D-N.J., told Secretary of State Antony Blinken during the diplomat’s testimony before the panel last year.
Menendez also tweeted that “the Nigerian government must get serious about security” after the militant group Boko Haram kidnapped more than 300 schoolboys in December 2020.
Menendez, New Jersey Democrat, was cross with the Nigerian government in 2019 for arresting one of his constituents, and Nigerian-American journalist, Omoyele Sowore.
“The proposed sale will better equip Nigeria to contribute to shared security objectives, promote regional stability and build interoperability with the U.S. and other Western partners,” the announcement read.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, will on Tuesday meet the service chiefs over the rising spate of insecurity in the country.
The Jigawa State Governor, Abubakar Badaru, disclosed this on Thursday, while briefing journalists after the Council of State meeting in Abuja.