VP Osinbanjo with president Buhari

World Powers Block Sales of Weapons to Nigeria – Lai Mohammed

Nigeria’s fight against insurgency is being hampered by the refusal of world powers to sell arms and weapons to Nigeria. NaijaSpleen monitored a story on Punch News which quoted the Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

The minister spoke on Thursday at News Agency of Nigeria Forum. He was quoted to have said:

The Federal Government has appealed to the world powers not to be weighed by unsubstantiated arguments to deny the country vital platforms and weapons to fight insecurity.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed made the appeal on Thursday when he featured on the News Agency of Nigeria Forum in Abuja.

“To fight terrorists we need platforms and weapons. I want to use this opportunity to say that the international community can help us better than they are doing right now.”

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“When the international community is weighed by unsubstantiated arguments to deny the country of vital platforms and weapons to fight insecurity, you cannot turn round to accuse the country of not fighting terrorism,’ he said.

“certain world powers have refused to even sell to us certain vital weapons”

“For more than two to three years now, we have paid for certain vital weapons that they have not released to us and they even refused to give us spare parts.

“I think our appeal to them is that they should please help Nigeria to provide us with these sensitive platforms so that we can fight insecurity more effectively.”

Just Like Jonathan?

In 2014, the US refused to sell weapons to Nigeria and prevented The State of Israel to sell helicopters requested from Nigeria. The US government led by Barack Obama had cited Nigeria’s poor human record and human right abuse by Nigerian military as reported by civil societies and activists.

While answering questions from news men in Adamawa State in 2014, The US ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. James Entwistle gave reasons for denying Jonathan access to weapons:

He said: “Before we share equipment with any country, whether it is a government to government grant or a commercial sale that requires government approval, we look at a couple of things,” the ambassador explained. “Does it make sense in terms of that country’s needs?

“The second thing we look at is the human rights situation in that country. And as we look at equipment transfers, we look at the situation in those countries in the past few years. And as you all know, there have been instances (I’m not saying across the board) of human rights abuses by the Nigerian military in the North-East.”

“So the kind of question that we have to ask is let’s say we give certain kinds of equipment to Nigerian military that is then used in a way that affects human situation. If I approve that, I’m responsible for that. We take that responsibility very seriously.”

In his Nigeria’s ambassador to the US, Adebowale Ibidapo Adefuye criticised Washington for refusing to sell “lethal” weapons to fight militant Islamists.

“The US government has up till today refused to grant Nigeria’s request to purchase lethal equipment that would have brought down the terrorists within a short time, We find it difficult to understand how and why, in spite of the US presence in Nigeria with their sophisticated military technology, Boko Haram should be expanding and becoming more deadly,”

“There is no use giving us the type of support that enables us to deliver light jabs to the terrorists when what we need to give them is the killer punch, A friend in need is a friend indeed. The true test of friendship is in times of adversity,” Mr. Adetiye added.

America gives Buhari Hope?

In 2017, Nigeria;s president Mohammadu Buhari was hosted at the White House by Donald Trump. President Trump during the visit, assured the Nigerian president of US readiness to cut a new deal in helping Nigeria in terms of military weapons to combat terrorism.

Despite concerns for the human record of the Nigerian government and its military, The US went ahead to sign and even receive payments for the delivery of up to a dozen A-29 Super Tucano aircraft.

The US Air Force described the A-29 aircraft as a “game-changer” when they were deployed in Afghanistan in 2016.

According to a BBC report, The deal, said to be worth up to $600m (£490m), was agreed by the Obama administration, but was reportedly halted on the day it was due to be sent to Congress, after a catastrophic incident involving the Nigerian military.

It said About 90 people, mainly women and children, were killed in January when the Nigerian Air Force mistakenly bombed a camp in the country’s north-east, which was hosting thousands of those who had fled Boko Haram.

BBC quoting Reuters news agency reports said a US congressional source said human rights concerns remain, despite support for the sale from some lawmakers,

What Went Wrong?

Lai Mohammed might have not mentioned the US directly but the united states is the only country Nigerians are aware the government must have had a weapon purchase deal with.

Although the US State Department in Nigeria is yet to respond, it is obvious the Nigeria-US relationship has gone frosty. Nigeria’s human right image has gone so bad in the past years and in most recent times.

The war against Boko Haram is alleged to have been compromised amid suspicion of insiders in the military resulting in heavy military casualties. There has been accusations by serving military officers against the establishment and the governor of Borno State has been angry over the military strategy in his state.

The arrest and detention of publisher of Sahara Reporters publisher and long detention some time ago despite a court order granting him bail drew anger among US lawmakers. Amnesty International has been releasing damning report ofthe deploring state of human right in Nigeria.

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