Trump Approves Tucano Sale To Nigeria
President Donald Trump has approved the sale of 12 Embraer Super Tucano light attack aircraft to Nigeria. Although the aircraft was designed in Brazil, the aircraft is being assembled in Jacksonville, Florida, and the weapons and sensor systems integrated by Colorado-based Sierra Nevada Corp. The supply chain was initially established for Embraer to supply the single-engine turboprop to the Air Force for use in counterinsurgency missions in the Middle East. This may be the first export of the U.S.-built counterinsurgency version of the aircraft for use by another military organization. The training version has been sold to Lebanon and Afghanistan as a trainer and is competing for other trainer contracts.
The sale to Nigeria is potentially controversial because of the country’s poor reputation on human rights and democratic process. Isaac Ikpa, executive secretary of Nigeria’s Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency (CESJET), praised Trump for ignoring the “fraudulent mainstream media’s” accounts of Nigeria’s various transgressions against its own citizens and allowing it to buy the potent weapons system. “On the strength of our work in Nigeria, we testify that the Nigerian military has reformed while its human rights record has tremendously improved under the current leadership, a development that was never acknowledged by Amnesty International and the international media circuit,” Ikpa said. He said the aircraft will be used to fight the terrorist group Boko Haram but the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) claim “the aircraft will be used for aerial bombardment and mass murder of Biafrans."