Defence minister Mansur Dan-Ali has confirmed that Nigerian paid the United States government $496 million for the acquisition of 12 Super Tucano fighter jets.
The fighter planes are to be used by the Nigerian Air Force in the on-going military operations against the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-east.
The retired Brigadier General said on Monday at the special town hall meeting held for the military and security agencies in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
Dan-Ali said the U.S. government will deliver the jets as soon as possible, after accepting the letter requesting the sale of the bomber aircraft.
He revealed that Donald Trump had commended Nigeria’s military strength when they met at a recent security meeting in Saudi Arabia.
According to ThisDay, the minister recently expressed concern over the stringent terms given by the U.S. government for the sale of the aircraft.
The conditions included the non-inclusion of Nigerian military personnel during their manufacture.
However, he did not state Monday if the terms had been renegotiated with the U.S. before payment or if they had been relaxed.
He explained that the Boko Haram fighters have been decimated.
“Gone are the days when our soldiers dropped their rifles and started running from the war front. Our gallant troops have successfully degraded the Boko Haram insurgents.
“Let me make it clear that currently, no single Nigerian territory is under the control of the Boko Haram terrorists. For instance, before the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari, 21 of the 27 local councils of Borno State were under the total control of the insurgents. But today, they are all liberated.
“Currently no Nigerian territory is under the insurgents, while we have freed 30,000 people, mainly women and children held by Boko Haram.”
In addition, he said the government had acquired five units of caterpillar armoured mine-sweepers, new French patrol boats for the Nigerian Navy, and two fighter jets from Pakistan.