The NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Olatokunbo Adesanya, said this in an exclusive interview with our correspondent, while reacting to the call by two US senators, Cory Booker and Rand Paul, to stop the sale of the aircraft to Nigeria.
The two senators had reportedly, in a letter dated June 8, and addressed to Rex Tillerson, US Secretary of State, expressed concern that the sale would “spur unrest and violence, particularly in the North-East, unless Nigeria indicated more commitment to the protection of human rights.
Adesanya, however, said US and Nigeria were great allies, and there was no contrary element in the deal.
He said, “What the report said was that the two senators wrote to stop the sale of the aircrafts. But the way the American system works is that they cannot stop the sale, they can only write to stop. The senators gave their reasons why they think the American government should not sell to us. Up till now, the American government has not informed us officially that they are not selling. We are very hopeful. The Nigerian Air Force sees the US as an ally.
“Presently, we are expecting two more Mi-35M fighter helicopters from Russia and 10 more Super Mushshak from Pakistan. The processes are ongoing. You should note that aircrafts are not taken off the shelf. You make a request and they then start building.
On the report of the Rann accidental bombing, Adesanya noted that the report was being studied at the Defence Headquarters, and would be made public at the appropriate time.
“On Rann, there is a hierarchy and until a final decision is reached, I cannot preempt the outcome of the board. It has gone to the DHQ.”