The United States Army General, Stephen Townsend, Commander, U.S. Africa Command, has disclosed that the 12 A-29 Super Tucano attack aircraft purchased by Nigeria some years back will be delivered later this year.
THE WHISTLER recalls that Nigeria had drawn $496.37 million from its excess crude account to pay for the aircraft.
The US Command, in a tweet on Friday, stated that the General stopped by on Nigerian soil on Thursday to further reassure the country of its commitment to Nigeria’s fight against terrorism, insurgency and banditry.
Townsend met with some of the country’s security leaders during the visit.
“During the visit, Townsend met with the Nigerian President’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, and National Security Adviser, Babagan Monguno, to discuss regional security issues and to express the command’s gratitude for the assistance provided during a hostage rescue operation last year.
“Townsend also met with senior military officials, including Minister of Defence Bashir Salihi Magash and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor, to talk about on-going cooperation in the region and greater maritime security and threat mitigation,” the command said in a statement on its website.
Townsend observed that Nigeria had been a major player in warding off “violent extremist organizations throughout the Lake Chad Basin.”
On her part, the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, said the General’s visit was critical in reassuring Nigeria of US support, particularly in the area of insecurity.
“We were proud to welcome General Townsend of @USAfricaCommand to Nigeria. Partnering to strengthen security and combat terrorism are key mutual priorities of the U.S. and Nigeria,” she tweeted on Friday.