ABUJA (Sundiata Post) – The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has said that the recent donation of $11 million worth Mine Resistant Vehicles (MRVs) amongst other equipment by the Unites States government to the Nigerian Army, is part of the ongoing global effort to combat terrorism.
The US on Thursday officially handed over 24 MRVS to the Nigerian Army at a brief ceremony in Lagos, saying that the donation was part of its commitment to assist Nigeria in its war against insurgency.
The Director of Defence Information (DDI), Brig-Gen. Rabe Abubakar, while speaking on the latest development which is seen by security analysts, as a change of policy by the Americans, said it was part of the grand plan by global coalition against terror to wipe out terrorism from any where it exists in the world.
“The (military equipment) donation is part of the US effort for global coalition against terrorism. As you know, terrorism is global in nature and efforts are being made by all partner countries to cooperate and collaborate to wipe out terrorism any part of the globe,” Abubakar said.
The US Defence Attaché to Nigeria, Col. Patrick Doyle, who handed over the equipment to the Nigerian military, said that the MRVs, which arrived the country on New Year day, were part of the US government’s Excess Defence Articles Programme, designed to transfer excess US military equipment to partner nations.
Doyle assured that eight more of the highly needed mine clearing armoured vehicles are expected to arrive the country soon.
He said: ”For many years the Nigerian armed forces has been a strong partner of the United States,”
“We have asked for your support in many endeavours, in particular throughout West Africa and you have responded.
“I believe United States government security cooperation commitment is second to none. We have provided extensive training programmes, logistical supports, and equipment to the Nigerian armed forces and we will continue to do so.”
Speaking further, the Defence Attache confirmed that half of the 24 vehicles are in good working condition but would need “minor work.”
According to him, “when the Nigerian Army inspected the vehicles a few months back, they selected the best vehicles that they could find.
”The reason we are giving the vehicles, we have the Excess Defence Programme, is because we are downsizing forces in our military, we have left Iraq with our forces and we have downsized our forces in Afghanistan and we do not need all these vehicles anymore. So Nigeria asked for these vehicles and we gladly provided it to them.”
According to Doyle, the 24 armoured vehicles are said to be worth $11 million (brand new ones), and the other expected eight are valued at $7.5 million.
He, however noted that “the repairs of the vehicles is up to the Nigerian government,” adding, “they can repair them on their own and they have the facilities to do that, but of course the spare parts are very particular to these vehicles.
“So the General and I have been discussing and we have been in discussions with the army previously and we were working modalities on how we will get those parts to them. They will have to order those parts from the United States and we will work out those conditions and how they will do that but when you say they will pay the United States, the easiest way to do that is to open a government-to-government case, where we can then work with them to ensure they get the correct parts and get them in a time and manner and from the correct manufacturers and the parts they actually need.”
Responding, the Chief of Policy and Plans, DHQ, Maj-Gen. Barry Ndiomu, who represented the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), said that the vehicles are what is needed to prosecute the war in the north-east.
Ndiomu noted that there are many land mines buried by the Boko Haram terrorists across the north-east.
He recalled that last August, two soldiers were killed in Dikwa, Borno State, after a land mine they stepped on exploded, and another two soldiers sustained serious injuries while an armoured personnel carrier was destroyed in the blast.
He said: “We express our most profound gratitude for the gift of Mine Resistant Ambush-protected vehicle to the Nigerian Army. It couldn’t have come at a better time especially considering the challenges that confront our armed forces in the north east.
“We appreciate what you have done, although like Oliver Twist, we would appreciate if you can do even more.”
Ndiomu noted that some of the armoured vehicles are not serviceable and requested for help from the US to procure their spare parts.”
“The defence adviser has actually told me about certain steps we need to take. As soon as I return to Abuja, I will pass this information on to the appropriate authorities so we can initiate the process,”he added.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”70560″]
Ndiomu also assured that the MRVs would be moved “as soon as possible” to the Nigerian Army Electrical Maintenance Engineers workshop in Bauchi.
”They will make the necessary assessments and I believe that ongoing discussions with our American partners, the spare parts will be made available and they will be repaired,” he said.