Possible U.S. Arms Sale to Nigeria
The U.S. administration notified Congress on August 2 of a potential foreign military sale of 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft with related parts and weapons to Nigeria, with "special training on the law of armed conflict and human rights, and air-to-ground integration to minimize civilian harm in air operations." The stated purpose of the sale is to "support Nigerian military operations against terrorist organizations Boko Haram and ISIS West Africa, and Nigerian efforts to counter illicit trafficking in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea." This sale, estimated at approximately $593 million, was held up at the end of the Obama administration due to concern over numerous apparent human rights abuses committed by the Nigerian military, including the January bombing of a displaced persons camp.
On June 8, Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) voiced their concerns regarding the deal in a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. A group of civil society members also expressed opposition on May 10 in a letter to leaders of the House Foreign Affairs and the Senate Foreign Relations Committees. Both letters cited needs for significant progress by Nigeria in protecting human rights and holding military forces accountable as reasons to continue withholding the aircraft.
According to Security Assistance Monitor data, the United States delivered approximately $125 million in combined foreign military and direct commercial sales to Nigeria from 2009-2015.