Trump to sell war planes to Nigeria to fight Boko Haram—Despite Human rights violations
BY ALAN GREEN
The Trump administration is poised to sell 12 Super Tucano aircraft worth almost $600 million to Nigeria in support of the Buhari government’s fight against the terrorist group Boko Haram. The sale will contrast with the Obama administration’s last-minute decision earlier this year to scrap that same plan following the Nigerian Air Force mistakenly bombing a refugee camp in northeast Nigeria that claimed at least 115 lives, a terrible mistake that added to the Nigerian military’s reputation for human rights abuses that are widely condemned by human rights organizations such as a Amnesty International.
The A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is a light attack plane used for reconnaissance and counterinsurgency operations that the Nigerian government has been trying to purchase since 2015 after Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari came to power in May of that year. That was after the United States lifted its embargo on selling military equipment to Nigeria, an embargo due to the rather lukewarm relation between the Nigerian government and the Obama’s White House. Obama justified the embargo on the basis of widespread corruption within the Nigerian military and the West African nation’s propensity for human rights violations.
While the National Security Council is still working on the deal, Trump has made clear his intention to approve the sale of the high-tech aircraft manufactured in the United States by the Brazilian conglomerate Embraer.
According to the President’s Readouts, Trump spoke with Buhari on February 15, a conversation during which “The leaders agreed to continue close coordination and cooperation in the fight against terrorism in Nigeria and worldwide. President Trump expressed support for the sale of aircraft from the United States to support Nigeria’s fight against Boko Haram.”
Trump is expected to notify Congress within weeks to finalize a shift from the Obama’s White House that must raise eyebrows within the human rights protection community. In its 2016-2017 Report, Amnesty International, in the section about Nigeria, once again rang the alarm bell about the “serious human rights violations including extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances,” and more.