Nigeria will take delivery of 12 Tucano A-29 ground attack aircraft in 2020 after the Federal Government must have completed payment of about N153 billion ($500 million) to the United States Government this year.
A top U.S. government official who spoke on the purchase said “the conversation began during the previous administration but that the “planes have not been fully built.” According to the official, the warplanes are being assembled and will be delivered from Florida before the end of 2020.
The Nigerian military in response to a query on the matter yesterday also confirmed the arrangement, saying, “It could take more than a year for the jets to be delivered to Nigeria. Fighter jets and aircraft are not picked off the shelf; normally, it is after a contract would have been signed and money released that they start manufacturing the aircraft,” said military spokesman Olatokunbo Adesanya.
“It is unlikely that we would even have them in one year.”
Adesanya, an Air Vice Marshal and Director, Public Relations and Information at the Nigeria Armed Forces (NAF) headquarters also confirmed that Nigerian government had made full payment to the United States government for the war jets.
“I cannot really tell you the exact amount paid by the Nigerian government, but the 12 Tucano war planes cost between $400 million and $500 million,” a U.S. official said on Friday.
However, the Federal government had requested the National Assembly to approve a $1billion loan for anti-terror war. Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said part of the money was needed to procure military equipment, including purchase of Tucano warplanes.