Russia has agreed to provide Nigeria with military equipment and troop training as part of a cooperation pact recently signed by the two nations, Nigeria’s embassy in Moscow announced Wednesday.
“The Agreement on Military-Technical Cooperation between both countries provides a legal framework for the supply of military equipment, provision of after sales services, training of personnel in respective educational establishments and technology transfer, among others,” the Nigerian embassy in Moscow said in a statement issued August 25.
The director of Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, Dmitry Shugaev, met with Nigerian Defense Minister Bashir Magashi on August 23 in Moscow, where the two signed the document in front of a bilateral delegation. Other Nigerian government officials, including Nigerian Ambassador to Russia Abdullahi Shehu, Nigerian Chief of Naval Staff Auwal Gambo, and various representatives from Nigeria’s army and air force attended the signing ceremony, according to ChannelsTV, a Nigerian news outlet.
While inaugurating Russia’s 7th annual International Military-Technical Forum “Army-2021” on August 23, Russian President Vladimir Putin noted that “massive mutually beneficial portfolios of contracts for the supply of Russian military goods are concluded on the forum’s sidelines every year.” This remark suggests that the Russian-Nigerian military pact’s signing on the same day was scheduled to coincide with the opening of the Russian military expo outside Moscow. The exhibition is scheduled to last through September 4.
A number of countries from around the world have sent military teams to Moscow to participate in the international army games, according to the Russian state-owned news agency, TASS. Cameroon and Burkina Faso are among the expo’s African participants. Cameroon neighbors Nigeria to the east, while Burkina Faso is separated from Nigeria by Benin to the west. Nigeria, Cameroon, and Burkina Faso all face serious threats to their national security from jihadist groups allied to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror organization.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari previously expressed interest in forming a military pact with Russia in 2019 as part of his stated, though largely failed aim, to eradicate the Nigerian ISIS-affiliate Boko Haram. Nigeria already uses some Russian military equipment, such as fighter jets and helicopters, among its armed forces. The West African nation has also purchased military equipment from other governments such as that of the United States.
U.S. lawmakers in July paused a proposal to sell Nigeria nearly $1 billion worth of weapons amid “concerns about possible human rights abuses by the government,” according to Reuters.
“Three sources familiar with the matter said at the time the proposed sale of 12 attack helicopters and related equipment was being delayed in the [U.S.] Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the [U.S.] House Foreign Affairs Committee,” the news agency recalled on Thursday.