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‘We are not aware of any $875million arms deal with US’ – Federal Government claims

The Federal Government says it is not aware of any $875 million ammunition deal with the US.

Reuters News Agency had quoted three sources as saying the deal was blocked over concerns about possible human rights abuses by the Federal Government.

A report by Foreign Policy on Tuesday said the behind-the-scenes controversy over the proposed arms sale illustrates a broader debate among Washington policymakers over how to balance national security with human rights objectives.

Chairperson of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Bob Menendez, called for a “fundamental rethink of the framework of our overall engagement” with Nigeria during a Senate hearing with US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken in June.

Both Menendez and Sen. Jim Risch, a top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, have placed a hold on the proposed arms sale, according to multiple US officials and congressional aides familiar with the matter, who spoke to Foreign Policy on condition of anonymity

But speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, described the reports as “fake news”.

The minister said there was no contract of such nature between Nigeria and the US.

“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.”

“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 helicopter will be launched on August 3, this year.

“We are not aware of the so called 875million USD 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,’’ he said.

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