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Nigeria may lose $493m paid for fighter planes over poor runway – Senate

The Senate Committee on Air Force said on Thursday that Nigeria may lose the $493million paid to the United States for the purchase of Super Tucano fighter planes.

The Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Air Force, Mike Nnachi, stated this when he presented the 2021 budget report of the Air Force before the Senate Committee on Appropriation.

He said the country’s runway was not up to standard and could not carry the fighter jets at the moment.

Nnachi added that when the US experts came recently to inspect the Kanji runway, they complained that the facility did not have the capacity to carry the aircraft.

The lawmaker urged the Federal Government to make provision for an additional N9billion to take care of the runway or else Nigeria would lose the money and the aircraft.

He said: “It is a very serious issue, the Nigeria Air Force personnel are running around. They have gone to the Finance Minister. They have also gone to the Central Bank of Nigeria, and they have gone to meet the Senate President because the money needed was not part of the main budget.

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“Nigeria has already paid $493million for the aircraft, and the officials of the American company who came to Nigeria last week said that the Kanji runway is not capable of carrying those fighter jets.

“The company said that Nigeria will forfeit the aircraft and they said about three countries had already been affected with that.”

The federal government paid $493million to the US company in 2018 for the purchase of 12 A-29 Super Tucano combat aircraft on behalf of the Nigerian Air Force.

The jets are required by the military to tackle insurgency and other security challenges in the country.

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