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Nigeria risks losing $493m paid for fighter jets over bad runway – Senate

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Nigeria is at risk of losing $493m paid to the United States for the purchase of Super Tucano fighter jets over bad runway.

Mike Nnachi, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Air Force, raised the alarm while presenting budget report of Air Force before the Senate Committee on Appropriation.

The Federal Government had wired in $493 million in 2018 to the US company for the purchase of the aircraft to tackle Boko Haram and general insecurity in the country.

According to Nnachi, when the Americans came to inspect the Kanji runway, they complained that the Kanji runway did not have capacity to carry the aircraft.

He therefore said there is need to make provision for additional N9 billion that would take care of the runway and aircraft or else Nigeria will lose the money and the aircraft.

“It is very serious issue, they are running around, they have gone to finance minister, they have gone to CBN, they have gone to Senate president. The money needed is not part of the main budget,” Nnachi said.

“Nigeria has already paid $493 million for the aircraft, and the officials of the American company who came to Nigeria last week said that the Kanji runway is not capable to carry that fighter jets, that Nigeria will forfeit the aircraft. They mentioned about three countries which had been affected with that,” he said.

In his response, Jubril Barau, chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, promised that the committee would look inward to make fund available to address the issue in the 2021 budget.

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