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US Blocks Brazil from Selling Fighter Jets to Nigeria

Washington appears to have blocked Brazil from selling A-29 Super Tucano fighter ground attack aircraft to Nigeria which the government intends to use to step up its battle against Boko Haram.

Under US arms sales regulations, whenever a country buys its hardware and wants to sell them off, it needs to obtain permission to do so. Brazil originally purchased the aircraft from the US and now that Nigeria has inquired to buy them, the Brazilian government needs to get permission to sell them.

One presidency source said that Nigeria and Brazil had almost struck a deal on the acquisition of the light attack aircraft when the US, which produced the aircraft, prevented the deal. Nigeria’s armed forces had taken a decision to replace the Nigeria Air Force’s Alpha jets with the newer A-29 Super Tucano.

Apparently the Brazilians, who were initially enthusiastic about the deal, suddenly became reluctant. This was after he US had told the Brazilians, who acquired 99 of the aircraft from Embraer Defence System, that the aircraft deal be put on hold due to human rights issues involving the Nigerian military.

In the past, the US had prevented the administration of Dr Goodluck Jonathan from acquiring Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopters from Israel in January 2015, also due to human rights issues involving the military. This latest development has dimmed indications that the US is relaxing its arms embargo on Nigeria with the election of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.

The Leahy Law prohibits the US defence sector from providing military assistance to countries involved in rights violations. Apparently,  the US government was not pleased with measures adopted against those accused of human rights abuse in the operational areas of northeast Nigeria.

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