The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has applauded the arrival of the turboprop A-29 Super Tucano fighter jets which it described as “a light attack aircraft, a versatile tool, rugged, well-armoured and available with the state-of-the-art avionics.
The group says the new acquisition will further enable surgical strikes at the heart of various counterinsurgency operations by the troops of the gallant Armed Forces of Nigerian (AFN).
In a statement signed by its Chairman, Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, BMO posited that these air assets would add impetus and renewed vigor to the fierce counterinsurgency operations in the North-East and the fringes of Lake Chad region, including the battle to eliminate bandits in the North-West.
“The propeller-driven warplanes, which include munitions, spare parts and a maintenance package is tailored for counterinsurgency operations and will greatly bolster the nation’s efforts to combat and efficiently degrade the terrorists and other sundry elements.
“BMO makes bold to note that, no African country has the Super Tucano in its inventory and the government of President Muhammadu Buhari would not relent in its effort to degrade all the agents of destruction in the country while retooling the Nigerian security services,” the group said.
BMO also highlighted how the Buhari administration has been upgrading the airpower of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) in the past six years, emphasising that “This is a major milestone, a huge stride in the fight against terrorism. It is historical that since the civil war, Nigeria has not experienced a concise planning and acquisition of this amount of air assets which shall enable a swift termination of this prolonged asymmetric warfare.
“It should be highlighted that before the coming of the current administration, no new air assets had been added to the NAF fleet since 1998. The Buhari administration has added precision-guided missiles, reconnaissance satellites, Global Positioning System and radar-beating stealth aircraft, to mention a few platforms.”
According to the group, “We are optimistic that these new birds would complement the strategic onslaught against the terrorist elements by members of the AFN and orchestrate a narrative of success in their favour. The AFN is being repositioned as a formidable force of stability, not just in the Lake Chad region, but the greater Sahel.”
BMO further said: “The Super Tucano’s value for improved targeting capabilities and lessened risk of collateral damage makes it a game-changer in the decade long warfare. It would ensure Nigeria continues with her willingness to lead in combating regional threats to peace and security in the sub region and the continent at large.”
“No doubt, the procurement of these strategic platforms would lend a lot of effective air assets in the operational context of the knockdown of the terrorists’ logistics hideouts. We believe the NAF would be providing close air support to the ground troops as they embark on a merciless counteroffensive strike on the Boko Haram/ ISWAP elements in the restive North East.”
The group also said that it was instructive to note that in May 2014, the United State Government, citing the Leahy Amendment, “denied the Nigerian government the opportunity to purchase these air assets, but with the advent of this administration, we are experiencing a more deliberate cooperation with our partners.”
It therefore, enjoined Nigerians to redouble their patriotism and support troops with actionable intelligence as everyone is a stakeholder in the onerous battle.
Recall that the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Thursday, July 22, 2021 took delivery of the first batch of six A-29 Super Tucano aircraft from the United States.
The Director of Public Relations and Information, NAF Headquarters, Edward Gabkwet, an air commodore, announced the development in a statement in Abuja.
Apart from the Tucano fighter jets, Nigeria is also said to be expecting other fighter jets from Pakistan.
After extensive discussions with the U.S. government, President Muhammadu Buhari in April 2018 placed an order for the aircraft.
He had said the procurement would help strengthen Nigeria’s national security, as well as a timely end to the Boko Haram war.
In a letter he wrote to the National Assembly, the president said the Nigerian government transferred $469.4 million to the U.S. government for the purchase.
For years, Nigeria has engaged in a low-grade war with Islamist sect, Boko Haram. The security challenged has over the last five years worsened with the bloody campaign of various categories of terrorists across Nigeria, mainly, the northern part of the country.
Stakeholders in the security sector of Nigeria have continued to emphasise that the country lacked the 21st Century equipment to prosecute successful war against the terrorists, who have since resorted to shooting down the nation’s military aircraft.