Boko Haram: America Not Nigeria’s Friend, Says Gowon

A former Head of , Gen. Yakubu Gowon (retd.), has taken a swipe at the United States on its refusal to sell arms to Nigeria to fight the insurgency by the Islamic group, Boko Haram.

Gowon, in an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH, criticised the US for not selling military hardware to Nigeria, saying if the US was truly a diplomatic friend to Nigeria, it should do everything possible to keep the corporate existence of Nigeria.

This, according to him, includes assisting Nigeria to fight aggression from any quarter.

The US had on November 12, 2014, defended its refusal to sell cobra helicopters to Nigeria, saying the Federal Government was free to buy fighter jets from any other country.

The State Department&;s spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said, "Nigeria has purchased helicopters that originated in countries other than the US and nothing in our decision prevents Nigeria from obtaining weapons and equipment from other sources,"

Psaki had reacted to the allegation by the Nigerian Ambassador to the US, Prof. Adebowale Adefuye, that Washington declined to sell arms to Nigeria.

Adefuye had told members of the Council on Foreign Relations on November 10 that Washington was not doing enough to assist Nigeria in combating the Boko Haram insurgency in North-East geopolitical zone of the country.

He said, "The U.S. government has up till today refused to grant Nigeria&39;s request to purchase lethal equipment that would have brought down the terrorists within a short time on the basis of the allegations that Nigeria&39;s defence forces have been violating human rights of Boko Haram suspects when captured or arrested.

"We find it difficult to understand how and why, in spite of the U.S. presence in Nigeria, with their sophisticated military technology, Boko Haram should be expanding and becoming more deadly."

But Psaki had stated that the US refused to sell the helicopters to Nigeria due to concerns about the ability of the military to use and maintain them.

The cobra is a combat aircraft with the ability to climb at the rate of 8.2metres per second. It is equipped with a 20 mm M197 3-barrelled Gatling cannon in the A/A49E-7 turret (750 rounds ammo capacity).

The spokeswoman also said there were ongoing concerns about Nigerian military&39;s protection of civilians when conducting military operations, adding that these had been discussed with the Nigerian authorities.

Gowon, while speaking to one of our correspondents, however, alleged that the US did same to the Nigerian government during the Civil War, when…(Read more)

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