FG not aware of $875m arms deal reportedly blocked by US lawmakers – Lai

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Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, says the federal government is not aware of the $875 million arms deal with the US, which was reportedly blocked by some US lawmakers.

A report by Foreign Policy had said top Democrats and Republicans in the senate foreign relations committee have delayed clearing a proposed sale of 12 AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters and accompanying defence systems to the Nigerian military.

The report said the proposed arms sale, which was blocked by the US lawmakers over human rights concerns, included 28 helicopter engines produced by GE Aviation, 14 military-grade aircraft navigation systems made by Honeywell, and 2,000 advanced precision kill weapon systems laser-guided rocket munitions.

Speaking on the development, the information minister, in an interview with NAN on Friday, said there is no arms contract between the US and Nigeria, apart from the 12 Super Tucano attack helicopters.

He said the relationship between Nigeria and the US is smooth and waxing stronger. “There is no contract of arms between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the United States of America today apart from the 12 Super Tucano attack helicopters of which six had been delivered,” the minister said.

“We are quite satisfied with the progress and cooperation that we received from the government of the US on this issue. As a matter of fact, six of the Tucano helicopters will be launched on August 3 this year.

“We are not aware of the so-called $875million arms contract or some helicopters which they said some lawmakers in the US are trying to persuade the president of the US not to honour. The relationship between Nigeria and the US is smooth and waxing stronger.”

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