The US government has donated 24 Mine-Resistant Armour Protected (MRAP) vehicles to the Nigerian military, as part of its commitment to the fight against insurgency.
The used vehicles, valued at N2.2 billion ($11 million), were officially presented to the army in Lagos on Thursday by Patrick Doyle, representative of the US government.
“As part of the continuing support from United States to the government, and the people of Nigeria to defeat Boko Haram, I am proud to stand here today as the representative of the US secretary of defence, Ashton Carter, and commander and the representative of the US Africa command, General David Rodriguez, to present the donation of this 24 Mine-Resistant Armor-Protected (MRAP) vehicles to the Nigerian army,” Doyle said.
He added that the equipment needed to be serviced and fixed with good spare parts before they could start operating.
“The repairs of the vehicle is up to the Nigerian government to do; they can repair them on their own if they have the facility to do that, but of course, the spare parts are very particular to this vehicle and we have been in discussion with the army previously and we are working out the modalities of how we will get those parts to them.
“They will have to order those parts from the United States and we will work out those conditions.
“Nigeria is also in the process of receiving eight more of this vehicle through the same programme, which is called the excess defence article program, designed to transfer excess US military equipment to partner nation.
“We will work for even more opportunity to utilise this programme in support of Nigerian effort in the north-east in the future. The 24 vehicles cost $11million, the other eight cost $7.4 million.”
He said the US no longer needs the vehicles, which is the reason they are giving it out to the Nigerian army.
“We are getting rid of the vehicle and the reason we have the Excess Defence Article Programme is that we are downsizing forces in our military. We have left Iraq with our forces and we have downsized our forces out of Afghanistan; we do not need all this vehicles anymore, so Nigeria asked for this vehicles and we gladly provided them.”
Addressing the press, Barry Ndiomu, a general representing the chief of army staff and minister of defence, told journalists that the equipment will help in protecting the Nigerian troops in the north-east.
“The MRAP equipment will protect our troops, especially against the menace of improvised explosive devices, without any doubt it will help. It will also help us to move the men in a manner in which will probably have less or fewer casualties.
“We have our own technical outfit, the Nigerian army electrical maintenance engineers; they have work shop which is the SVP plant in Bauchi.
“The vehicles will be moved there as soon as possible, they will make the necessary assessment and I believe the on-going discussions with our American partners, the spare parts should be made available and they will be repaired."