Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd), yesterday asked the United States to expedite action on the delivery of 12 Super Tucano fighter jets ordered by Nigeria.
Magashi said this when he hosted a five-man US delegation led by the Secretary, US Air Force, Barbara Barrett, at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.
The minister appealed to the US Air Force Secretary to speed up the release of the Super Tucano Aircraft procured by the federal government which would “boost the campaigns by the Nigerian Air Force to demystify the criminal elements in their various hideouts in the forests”.
In a statement issued last night, he also said the Nigeria Defence Space Administration would be equipped technologically through partnership with the US Space Force to enhance its capabilities to fight insecurity in the country.
He added that the efficient and effective space management by the Defence Space Administration (DSA), was germane to the successful operations of the Nigerian Armed Forces and other security agencies in the effort to defeat insurgency, banditry and kidnapping.
The minister assured the US delegation that the federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari, would continue to strengthen military cooperation with the US in the areas of shared interests such as training, exchange programmes and procurement of weapons in the nation’s bid to overcome her security challenges.
In her remarks, the Secretary, US Air Force, Barbara Barrett, who is the fourth woman and 25th to occupy the position as Air Force Secretary comprising Air Force and US Space Force Areas of Responsibility (AoR), described Nigeria as the destination of choice in Africa for partnership in harnessing space assets through the instrumentality of science and technology in national defence.
She assured the minister that the already established military cooperation between Nigeria and US would be taken to the next level to promote peace and tranquility in the country.
Other officials at the bi-lateral talks include the new Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Musa Istifanus, Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Abayomi Olonisakin, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Saddiq Baba Abubakar and the Defence Attache in Washington DC, Air Commodore J. Usman.