Thursday, 13 November 2014
Nigeria Set To Buy Arms From Russia
Nigeria is seeking to buy arms from Russia, The Nation learnt yesterday.
It is unclear if Russia has granted Nigeria’s request, following an arms embargo by the United States.
The military has opted for more aerial bombardments of insurgents than infantry encounters.
The aerial strikes have assisted in killing more insurgents in the last few months.
A source said a delegation had gone to Russia for talks on the arms purchase.
If all goes well with the talks, there will be orders for war planes, helicopters and other equipment.
The source said: “The US has refused to sell arms and lethal equipment to Nigeria to prosecute the war against Boko Haram.
“The US, instead, prefers to concentrate on assistance to Nigeria to consolidate its democracy.
“We have had pilots trained in the US. We train our military pilots in the US. They come to Nigeria for conversion.
“The Federal Government has no choice than to look elsewhere for war planes, helicopters and lethal equipment against Boko Haram insurgents.
“We have opened up negotiation with Russia for arms bailout. We want to buy military hardwares from them.”
The source spoke about the reported training of 1,200 special troops in Russia, saying it is all propaganda to frustrate Nigeria’s moves to get equipment to fight Boko Haram.
“More countries are also interested in assisting us. We need this help urgently now,” he said.
Nigeria’s Ambassador to the US, Prof. Adebowale Adefuye, on Tuesday, criticised the US refusal to sell arms to the Federal Government.
He said: “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.”
It was however gathered that the US turned down the nation’s request for arms because its laws ban the sale of lethal equipment to nations whose military have alleged worst human rights records.”
Another diplomat said: “The ban is not peculiar to Nigeria; many countries are covered by the ban.”
The National Coordinator of Citizens Initiative for Security Awareness (CISA), Mr Chidi Omeje, yesterday faulted the US arms embargo on Nigeria.
Omeje made the call during a media interaction hosted by I-Nigerian Initiative in Abuja.
Omeje said: “The group deplores the cold indifference of United States towards Nigeria in her time of need. This is now the time for the true friends and allies of Nigeria to declare their stand.
“The spate of bombings and sundry attacks on civilian targets in the north eastern part of Nigeria is enough to attract global support for the Nigerian government and its security forces.
“For almost two years, the US Government refused to label Boko Haram a foreign terrorist organisation (FTO) even with glaring evidence of major atrocities displayed by the group against unarmed citizens.
“From our enquiries, it was also discovered that for more than 20 years, United States Government has not endorsed the sale of Western military hardware to Nigeria and this has led to a situation whereby our country always resorts to getting supplies from the alternative market or shop from other power blocks.
“How is the situation in Syria and Iraq different from that of Nigeria that the US decided to send in troops and its air force to confront the IS terrorists?”
He said it was no longer tenable to keep citing alleged abuse of human rights by Nigerian troops as the reason for the arms embargo.
The Nation Newpaper