Barring any last minute change of mind, the President Donald Trump-led administration is expected to approve a sale of high-tech aircraft to Nigeria to fight Boko Haram terrorists.
The deal might scale through despite the fact that the Nigeria Air Force [NAF] has been accused of bombing civilian targets.
The White House will send Congress formal notification of the sale in the next few weeks for up to “12 Embraer A-29 Super Tucano aircraft with sophisticated targeting gear for nearly $600 million,” U.S. officials told the AP.
Nigeria has been trying to buy the aircraft since 2015, and the Obama administration had planned to approve the sale at the end of Barack Obama’s presidency.
The National Security Council is still working on the issue along with military sales to several other countries, according to the news service.
Trump had signaled in February he would approve the deal during a call with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.
Trump “expressed support for the sale of aircraft from the United States to support Nigeria’s fight against Boko Haram,” according to a White House summary of the talk.
Nigeria is considered an important political and economic partner for the United States.
Some, however, are critical of the sale due to accusations that the Nigerian air force has bombed civilian targets at least three times in recent years.
Between 100 and 236 civilians and aid workers were killed on Jan. 17 when a fighter jet repeatedly bombed a camp at Rann, near the border with Cameroon, where civilians had fled from Boko Haram.
The Obama administration had intended to officially notify Congress the sale would go forward that same day, but the deal was put on hold, an individual who worked on the issue during Obama’s presidency told the AP.
Once Congress is officially notified of the sale, lawmakers who want to stop it have 30 days to pass legislation that is veto-proof, reports The Associated Press.