Buhari to launch Tucanos weeks after delivery amid bandits, terrorists’ attacks

President Muhammadu Buhari will on Tuesday, August 31, launch six newly acquired A-29 Super Tucano.

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) announced that Buhari will preside over the ceremony as the Special Guest of Honour.

The event has been scheduled for 10am at the Presidential Air Fleet Apron, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

The first batch of the twelve A-29 Super Tucano, ordered from America, touched down in Kano on July 22.

They were received by Defence Minister, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd), Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Faruk Yahaya and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao.

The induction by Buhari will take place five weeks after the fighter birds entered the country; the reason is unknown.

Nigerians are used to waiting for infrastructure, projects and equipment to be commissioned by government officials before utilization.

In other climes, military assets meant to subdue enemies are sent to the battlefield expeditiously.

NAF Director of Information, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet defended the delay in a chat. BBNAIJA ONLINE”.

The spokesman said induction ceremonies have no time limit, adding that other combat jets are providing air support during operations.

“The induction is ceremonial, it’s symbolic. It’s not as if we lack have other platforms to use. We feel this is the right time and it is only appropriate for Mr. President to do it”, Gabkwet explained.

But critics say the Tucanos are waiting to be launched while bandits and terrorists are continuing their war against Nigeria, killing, kidnapping and injuring civilians.

Speaking to BBNAIJA ONLINE”, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) censured the presidency over the prolonged deployment.

Bayo Oladeji, the spokesman to CAN Chairman, Samson Ayokunle, said the situation buttressed their position that the Buhari administration payslips to service insecurity.

“They act less than their speeches. If Super Tucano aircraft were purchased to fight the terrorists while waiting for days to commission them?

“Terrorists are everywhere operating in the whole North. Boko Haram, ISWAP in the North-East, bandits in the North-West and killer herdsmen in the North-Central.

“They also make their ways to the South once a while. CAN has consistently asked President Muhammadu Buhari to break the monopoly of the security architecture in vain.

“The results are before us today when these terrorists are finding their way to the prestigious Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA).

“They are bringing down our fighting aircraft, abducting people, including students in their hundreds. Yet those caught or surrender are being recycled in the name of deradicalisation and rehabilitation”, he protested.

Oladeji added that due to the failure of the federal government, the Christian leadership has been begging God for divine intervention.

On Tuesday, the NDA in Kaduna, a fortified facility of the Armed Forces, was breached in an audacious manner.

A large number of bandits attacked the residential area of the Afaka campus in the middle of the night.

Lieutenant Commander Wulah and Flight Lieutenant CM Okoronkwo were murdered, while second Lieutenant Onah sustained gunshot wounds.

Major Christopher Datong was kidnapped and there are confusing reports about his life and death.

The NDA said it is on the trail of the killers in collaboration with the 1 Division Nigerian Army, Air Training Command and other security agencies.

The second batch of six A-29 Super Tucano are expected before the end of 2021. The deal between the United States and Nigeria is the largest defence sale to an African country.

In 2018, Nigeria paid around $462 million for twelve Tucanos and other additions. Six of the aircraft were built with Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) system.

The powerful turboprops have Paveway II guided bombs, laser-guided rockets, 12.7 mm ammunition, unguided bombs and infrared sensors.