The US is donating 32 armored personnel carriers (worth $18m) to Nigeria to help fight Boko Haram. They were deemed “excess” to US needs.
The United States government on Thursday donated the Mine-Resistant Armour Protected, MRAP, vehicles to the Nigerian military.
Presenting the armoured vehicles worth N2.2 billion to the army in Lagos, the representative of the US government, Patrick Doyle said, “As part of the continuing support from United States to the government, and the people of Nigeria to defeat Boko Haram, I am proud to stand here today as the representative of the US secretary of defence, Ashton Carter, and commander and the representative of the US Africa command, General David Rodriguez, to present the donation of this Mine-Resistant Armor-Protected (MRAP) vehicles to the Nigerian army.”
Doyle stated that the equipment needed to be serviced and fixed with good spare parts before they could start operating.
“The repairs of the vehicle is up to the Nigerian government to do; they can repair them on their own if they have the facility to do that, but of course, the spare parts are very particular to this vehicle and we have been in discussion with the army previously and we are working out the modalities of 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.
“Nigeria is also in the process of receiving eight more of this vehicle through the same programme, which is called the excess defence article program, designed to transfer excess US military equipment to partner nation.
“We will work for even more opportunity to utilise this programme in support of Nigerian effort in the north-east in the future. The 24 vehicles cost $11million, the other eight cost $7.4 million.”
The US representative said the vehicles were been given to the Nigeria Army because the US no longer have need for them.
“We are getting rid of the vehicle and the reason we have the Excess Defence Article Programme is that we are downsizing forces in our military. We have left Iraq with our forces and we have downsized our forces out of Afghanistan; we do not need all these vehicles anymore, so Nigeria asked for this vehicles and we gladly provided them,” he said.
Speaking with newsmen, Barry Ndiomu, a General representing the chief of army staff, Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai said the equipment will help in protecting Nigerian troops fighting Boko Haram insurgents in the north-eastern part of the country.
“The MRAP equipment will protect our troops, especially against the menace of improvised explosive devices, without any doubt it will help. It will also help us to move the men in a manner in which we will probably have less or fewer casualties.
“We have our own technical outfit, the Nigerian army electrical maintenance engineers; they have workshop which is the SVP plant in Bauchi.
“The vehicles will be moved there as soon as possible, they will make the necessary assessment and I believe with the ongoing discussions with our American partners, the spear parts should be made available and they will be repaired,” he said.