ABUJA: The Nigerian government has responded to the arms embargo imposed by the United States, turning to countries in the Eastern and Southern hemisphere, including Pakistan, Russia and Brazil, to acquire arms and military arsenal for the counter-terrorism operations in the North-eastern part of the country.

According to the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who spoke in Abuja, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has been given approval to acquire and induct at least 10 attack aircraft into its arsenal.

Speaking at the NAF’s operations seminar tagged: “Developing Effective Air Power Responses to National Security Challenges in Nigeria,” Abubakar gave the breakdown of the expected aircraft to include three JF-17 Thunder from Pakistan, four Mi-35m attack helicopters from Russia and three Super Tucano from Brazil.

In addition, he said, another 10 Super Mushack primary trainer from Pakistan would also be inducted into the NAF service.

Abubakar said the U.S. arms embargo would not stop the countries, Nigeria intends to buy the military hardware from, especially Brazil from selling the A-29 Super Tucano fighter aircraft to it like America did with Israel in 2014.

He added that despite the arms embargo, the U.S. had in recent times shown willingness to assist in the country’s counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency efforts in the North-east.

“All I can tell you is that the U.S. is supporting in the North-east, they are helping us with a lot of intelligence, so I don’t see any reason why we should have difficulties,” he insisted. 

Against this backdrop, Abubakar said the NAF had in response to its expanded role in the ongoing war against terror, trained over 700 personnel comprising of 40 pilots outside and 27 pilots within the country.