A former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell has warned that bandits and terrorists may seize the recently acquired Super Tucano fighter jets from Nigerian military.
Campbell gave the warning in the light of the fall of the Afghanistan government and the takeover of similar high-grade military jet fighter by the Talibans.
“Though it seems unlikely at present, there is also the potential that a Super Tucano could fall into the hands of a jihadi terrorist group,” Campbell wrote for CFR, citing instances of how terrorist groups seized other military equipment in Nigeria.
WITHI NIGERIA recalls that in August, a Nigerian Air Force fighter jet returning to base from a mission on the Zamfara-Kaduna border crashed under intense gunfire from bandits. The pilot escaped by the whiskers, leaving the wrecked aircraft behind.
NAF officially inducted the six A-29 Super Tucano fighter jets on Tuesday, to aid its fight against insecurity in the country. Nigeria was said to have purchased the A-29s at about $500 million through Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme.
Campbell also expressed worries on whether the aircraft will be used to combat terrorism or used against other targets such as “the Biafran agitators or Delta militants.
“Now that the Super Tucanos are part of the Nigerian Air Force, an issue will be how they are used. Will they be used only against jihadi terrorists in the North, or will there be the temptation to use them against other targets, such as Biafran separatists, Delta militants, or even cattle rustlers? Broader use increases the potential for civilian casualties.
“A Biafran separatist movement, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), is suing to block the sale in a Washington, D.C. court,” he added.