- Â Seeks cooperation in fight against Boko Haram
The Minister of Defence, brig-Gen Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd), has said Nigeria is considering the purchase of Russian military equipment.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Dan-Ali thursday said the country is interested in MiG fighters, Yak-130 aircraft, artillery equipment and armoured vehicles.
â€œThe Russian equipment that could be of our interest are MiG fighters and some artillery equipment,â€ he said.
â€œWe are here [at International Army Games-2017] to have a look. We have identified some items, like the Kalashnikov modern, new rifles and also avionics, helicopters and some other mine-resistant protected vehicles.
â€œWe also looked at the (Yak-)130 jet and also we are thinking how to go about it. We just had a look and now when we go back home we look at some of its specifications before we sit down for negotiations.
â€œBasically, we have gone for Mi-35 helicopters last year. We have taken two already and are expecting to get another two early next year. All in all, we have about 12 of them.â€
He also said Nigeria is planning to take part in the 2018 international army games.
â€œWe shall participate in the International Army Games. As I have said earlier, this agreement that we have just signed entails closer cooperation between the two states,â€ he said.
â€œWe are looking at exchange programs, training and exercises. Since 2006, we have been pushing for it in order to facilitate training of personnel and exchanges of ideas between our two militaries.
â€œWe discussed counterterrorism cooperation with Shoigu and I highlighted the role Russia has been playing across the globeâ€™â€™.
â€œWe know that insurgency is a global problem, and Russia has been assisting Afghanistan, Syria and Turkey in this regard.
â€œWe are also looking for assistance from Russia in our sub-region since we have similar problem of insurgency.
â€œRussia is playing a very important role in the Middle East, especially, in fighting ISIL.
â€œAll around the globe Russia has been doing very well fighting terrorism.â€
Dan-Ali also said Nigeria has achieved significant progress in fighting against terrorism within its borders, with insurgents being now unable to engage in an organised warfare.
â€œIf you remember, when this administration came two years ago, they were able to regain lost territories, which were occupied by insurgents.
â€œWe were able to degrade them to some extent â€¦ We have been done so far good, and as I am talking to you now, we have been able to subdue insurgents to the extent that they cannot longer fight organized warfare and resorted to bombings and ambushes,â€ the defence minister said.
Dan-Ali added that Abuja was looking to such countries as Chad and Cameroon to â€œcome together in one joint force, which will cooperate in fighting insurgency within that sub-region.â€
Boko Haram had staged a number of bloody terror attacks, including the 2011 bombing of a UN office in the countryâ€™s capital of Abuja that killed 21 people.
In April 2014, Boko Haram abducted 276 female students from a government secondary school in the eastern Nigerian town of Chibok.
Along with Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad are also currently engaged in military operations to fight Boko Haram.
The terror group also bombed a UN office in the countryâ€™s capital Abuja in 2011, killing 21 people.
Additionally, the militants have kidnapped thousands of people throughout the years of the insurgency to fund their efforts aimed at introducing a Sharia law in the region.
Earlier on Tuesday, Dan-Ali had met with the Russian Minister of Defence, Sergei Shoigu, on the sidelines of the 2017 international army games and invited Nigeria to participate in the game next year.
The two countries then signed an inter-governmental agreement on military cooperation.
In late May, Russian Foreign Minister Shoigu had met with his Nigerian counterpart Geoffrey Onyeama and said that Russia would further actively support the Nigerian struggle against the Boko Haram insurgency.