Senate Committee on Airforce says Nigeria might lose $493m paid to procure fighter jets due to substandard runway.
The committee needs N9bn to upgrade the runway to the required standard to avoid losing the money and the aircrafts.
The full fleet of A-29 Super Tucano fighter aircrafts are expected to be delivered to the NAF in 2021.
According to the Committee, the current state of the nation’s runway is not up to the standard that could carry the fighter jets.
This was revealed by the Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Air Force, Senator Mike Nnachi, while presenting the 2021 budget report of the Air Force before the Senate Committee on Appropriation.
According to Nnachi, the Americans complained that the Kanji runway doesn’t have the capacity to carry the aircraft during their recent inspection of the facility.
He urge the government to make provision for additional N9bn to upgrade the runway to the required standard to avoid losing the procurement money and the aircrafts.
Recall that FG paid $493m to a US company to purchase 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack, combat and reconnaissance aircraft for the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) back in 2018.
The Super Tucano fighter jets were ordered to tackle insurgency and other security challenges facing the country.
Nnachi said :
“It is a very serious issue, the Airforce personnel are running around. They have gone to the Finance Minister. They have also gone to the Central Bank of Nigeria, and they have gone to meet the Senate President because the money needed was not part of the main budget.
“Nigeria has already paid $493m for the aircraft, and the officials of the American company who came to Nigeria last week said that the Kanji runway is not capable of carrying those fighter jets.
“The company said that Nigeria will forfeit the aircraft and they said about three countries had already been affected with that.”
The full fleet of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft for the NAF are currently in production by SNC and Embraer at the Jacksonville facility.
According to Embraer Defense & Security and Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), the 12 aircrafts will be delivered to the NAF in 2021.