By Kingsley Nwezeh
The United States Government said yesterday that the six remaining A-29 Super Tucano fighter jets would arrive in Nigeria by September this year.
This is coming as the Minister of Defence, Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi (rtd), debunked reported allegations of human rights violations levelled against the country by international human rights groups on the account of the modus operandi of the nation’s fighting forces in the on-going counter terrorism operations in the North-east.
The six fighter jets recently delivered by the US, part of the 12 ordered by the federal government, are designated for air interdiction while the remaining six, yet to be delivered, are for Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions.
Speaking during a visit to the Ministry of Defence, United States Acting Ambassador to Nigeria, Kathleen Fitz Gibbon, said the attack aircraft would arrive Nigeria by September.
A statement issued by the minister’s office said the ambassador “pledged continued support to Nigeria adding that the remaining six Super Tucano aircraft will arrive in the country by September.”
Gibbon appreciated the progress Nigeria has made in fighting insurgency and the nation’s compliance with protocols.
She thanked the minister for the audience and agreed with the plan to reconvene another meeting to consider various documents touching on the way forward for the promotions of human rights and Child Protection Act among other areas of common concerns to the two countries.
On allegations of cases of human rights’ violations levelled against the country by the international human rights groups, Maj. Gen. Magashi, told the US envoy that the President Muhammadu Buhari was committed to the domestic and international laws against abuse of human rights.
He said Nigerian troops were guided in their operations by the extant laws of the land as enshrined in the constitution and rules of engagements as well as acts and other laws that discourage rights abuse.
The minister affirmed that the Nigerian military would not renege on its commitment to adhere to the rule of law in a democratic environment and the defence of the national interest no matter whose ox is gored.
“What else should Nigeria do to protect human rights and Child Protection Act that the country is not doing presently,” he queried.
The Defence Minister thanked the US Africa Command, (AFRICOM) and the US Office for Defence Cooperation for the delivery of the NAF Super Tulcano aircraft and the training of NAF pilots and engineers