| WASHINGTON, April 10
WASHINGTON, April 10 President Donald Trump's
administration is pushing forward with plans to sell up to a
dozen aircraft to Nigeria's air force for the fight against the
extremist group Boko Haram, a congressional source said on
Monday, a deal that could be worth up to $600 million.
The A-29 aircraft, with reconnaissance and surveillance as
well as attack capabilities, are made by Brazil's Embraer
. But they use U.S. parts and are assembled in
Florida, so they are subject to U.S. export rules.
Former President Barack Obama's administration originally
agreed on the sale, but it was put on hold after incidents
including the Nigerian Air Force's bombing of a refugee camp in
January that killed 90 to 170 civilians.
The Trump administration wants to push ahead with the sale
to boost Nigeria's efforts to fight Boko Haram and to bolster
hiring by defense firms in the United States.
"We've been told that the administration is going to go
forward with that transaction," the congressional aide said.
Formal notification of the deal has not yet been sent to
Congress but is expected shortly. Trump has said he plans to go
ahead with foreign defense sales that had been held up under
Obama due to human rights concerns.
In March, the administration informed Congress of its plans
to pursue a $5 billion sale to Bahrain of Lockheed Martin F-16s
and related equipment, which had been held up under Obama when
Bahrain failed to meet human rights targets.
Reuters first reported the Obama administration's plan to
sell the Embraer aircraft to Nigeria in May 2016, as a vote of
confidence in President Muhammadu Buhari's drive to reform the
The Trump administration's plan to move ahead with the
Nigerian sale was first reported on Monday by the Associated
The congressional source said concerns remain about the
sale, despite its receiving the backing of some lawmakers. One
is lingering unease about the Nigerian military. Another is
whether Nigeria's government will be able to pay the full $600
million for the aircraft, equipment, training and support.
This could affect the final size of the deal, the source
Senior U.S. officials said Buhari had long expressed
frustration over delays in the decision to sell Nigeria the
aircraft and raised it in a phone call with Trump in February.
(Additional reporting by Lesley Wroughton and Mike Stone;
editing by Cynthia Osterman)