Nigeria to procure additional fighter helicopters from Russia

The Nigerian government will hold discussions with the Russian government over the procurement of additional attack helicopters, against insurgency, banditry and violence crimes.

Nigeria to procure additional fighter helicopters from Russia Russian Mi-35M helicopter (Picture source: Air Recognition)

An aide to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari told reporters in Abuja this week that President Buhari will raise the issue of the attack helicopters with his Russian counterpart, President Vladimir Putin, during the Russia-Nigeria Summit that will take place from October 23 to October 25. The aide, Malam Garba Shehu, noted that the weapons procurement negotiations focus on strengthening Nigeria's counterinsurgency capabilities, particularly to support efforts against Boko Haram in the northeast.

Ambassador Ugbah emphasized in the interview that Russian assistance has been crucial in fighting terrorist groups in Nigeria. He said that "without Russian help, without Russian technology, the fight against terrorists in my country will face very big challenges."

The Nigerian government currently has on order 12 Mi-35M attack helicopters from Russia. Nigeria placed an order for the helicopters in 2015 and began taking delivery of them in December 2016. Earlier this month, Nigerian Ambassador to Russia Steve Davies Ugbah confirmed in an interview that six have been delivered to date.

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