Nigeria may lose $493m paid to procure fighter jets —Senate

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The Senate Committee on Airforce, said on Thursday that Nigeria stood the risk of losing $493m paid to the United States for the purchase of Super Tucano fighter planes.


The panel said the nation’s runway at the moment was not up to the standard and could not carry the fighter jets.

The Federal Government had wired in $493m in 2018 to a US company to tackle insurgency and other security challenges facing the country.

The Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Air Force, Senator Mike Nnachi, raised the alarm while presenting the 2021 budget report of the Air Force before the Senate Committee on Appropriation.

He told the lawmakers that when the Americans came to inspect the Kanji runway, recently, they complained that the facility did not have the capacity to carry the aircraft.

He, therefore, said there was the need to make provision for additional N9bn that would take care of the runway and aircraft or else Nigeria will lose the money and the aircraft.

Nnachi said, “It is a very serious issue, the Airforce personnel are running around. They have gone to the Finance Minister. They have also gone to the Central Bank of Nigeria, and they have gone to meet the Senate President because the money needed was not part of the main budget.

“Nigeria has already paid $493m for the aircraft, and the officials of the American company who came to Nigeria last week said that the Kanji runway is not capable of carrying those fighter jets.

“The company said that Nigeria will forfeit the aircraft and they said about three countries had already been affected with that.”

The Chairman of the Committee on Appropriation, Senator Barau Jibrin, said his committee will look inward to make fund available to address the issue in the 2021 budget.

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