Nigeria’s Defense Space Administration (DSA) played host to the U.S. Secretary of Air Force, Barbara Barrett who is currently visiting African allies to develop new partnerships. During the visit, Barrett introduced the first-ever collaboration between the United States Air Force (USAF) and the DSA.
Barrett’s visit to Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, happened between January 4 and 5, 2021, where she was received by members of Nigeria’s legislative parliament, the National assembly, and senior military officials at the Ministry of Defense, which hosts the DSA.
In a statement made available by the U.S. embassy and consulate in Nigeria, Secretary Barrett’s visit highlighted the positive trajectory of the military cooperation between the U.S. and Nigeria. Her discussions covered a range of defence and security matters of mutual interest, including the 2021 delivery of the A-29 Super Tucano aircraft. On the partnership with the DSA, she conveyed the importance of addressing the novel security challenges in space. Noting that the U.S. Space Force recently marked its first anniversary following its establishment last year, Barrett initiated a bilateral engagement on the necessity of developing a long-term vision for security cooperation in space.
The statement disclosed further that the U.S would deliver 12 A-29 Super Tucano aircraft as scheduled in 2021. Along with the delivery, the U.S will train 60 Nigerian military pilots, instructors, and aircraft maintenance specialists over 24 months. The Nigerian pilots will train on the same aircraft they will fly in combat operations against insurgent groups and terrorist organisations.
Secretary Barrett also was briefed by the Ministry of Defence and the Nigerian Armed Forces on their continuing efforts to strengthen military professionalism through programs such as Air Ground Integration (AGI). Through AGI, the Nigerian Air Force plans to increase both its tactical and operational competencies. The training that enhances these competencies will also address the laws that govern armed conflict and respect for international human rights in ways aimed at reducing the risk of civilian harm.