The National Democratic Coalition (NADECO – USA) weekend said the delivery of six A-29 Super Tucano helicopters to Nigeria was a step in the right direction but expressed fears that the newly acquired weapons could be deployed against elements in the South East and Niger Delta agitating for the restructuring of the country.

NADECO said the Biden administration would need to monitor the use of the fighter helicopters considering Nigeria’s record in deploying its military might against its citizens, insisting that such weapons must be used to degrade Boko Haram, and check the activities of bandits and Fulani herdsmen who are turing the country into a slaughterhouse.

Sources in the US confirmed that the helicopters left the US on July 14, 2021 and will be formally inducted into the Nigerian Air Force at a ceremony to be held in August.

It was gathered, the six helicopters are the first batch of 12 Tucanos approved by the US Congress in 2017 to be sold to Nigeria at $593 million.

According to checks, the agreement includes weapons, training, spares, support, and construction while the approval resulted from the exemption granted to Nigeria by the Trump administration from the US Foreign Assistance Act (FAA).

The act establishes the Foreign Military Sale (FMS) under which the helicopters were procured and expressly prohibited the sale of military equipment to foreign governments with an existing credible record of “gross violation of internationally recognized human rights.”

Accordingly, the US Department of Defence placed the contract for the twelve helicopters with Sierra Nevada Corporation and Embraer Defense & Security Corporation on behalf of Nigeria in November 2018.

“NADECO-USA cautions the US to review the exemption that allowed Nigeria to procure the helicopters. Previous US administrations disapproved of military assistance and sales of military equipment to Nigeria because of the country’s appalling human rights violations,” it said in a statement.

“The group wants the US Congress to recall that in January 2017, just before the exemption, the Nigerian military admitted to the “mistaken” killing of hundreds of civilian refugees at Rahn Borno State Nigeria, who were fleeing Boko Haram.

“The US Congress should also note that continuous and consistent human rights violations are well documented by Human Rights Watch and the US Department of State Country Report on Human Rights.”

Lloyd Ukwu, NADECO-USA Executive Director, in a statement made available to The Southern Examiner explained that the recent End-SARS protests reported shooting and killings by state security agents, abduction of Nnamdi Kanu a freedom activist from an African country, the bloody raid on Sunday Adeyemo ‘Igboho’ residence and many more also by state agents, as examples of human rights violations in the country.

According to him, “there is evidence that the violation of human rights is emboldened by General Muhammadu Buhari’s reprehensible historical record of using brutal military force indiscriminately against those classified as ‘enemies of the state’ for exercising their constitutionally guaranteed right.”

The US should be cautious of not becoming an instrument in the hands of the Federal Government of Nigeria in the killing and subjugation of innocent Nigerians, he added.

In an earlier press statement, NADECO USA had asked Biuhari to designate the dreaded Fulani herdsmen under the control of Miyetti Allah as a terrorist organization or risk being branded sponsor of terrorism if he refused to take an immediate action to end killings by the group.

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    The National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), Nigeria’s premier pro-democracy group based in Washington D.C. Established in 1994, NADECO was founded by a coalition of prominent politicians and pro-democracy campaigners from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds.

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