President Donald Trump, right, and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, left, shake hands during a news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Monday, April 30, 2018. Picture: AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Johannesburg - At a long-awaited meeting between President Donald Trump and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, the US president announced the approval of a dozen military planes for Nigeria whose sale had been frozen by former President Barack Obama, Global Information Network reported on Tuesday. 

Rebuking his Nigerian counterpart for the proliferation of violence throughout that country, Trump expressed concern for “the burning of churches and killing of Christians.”

President Buhari blamed the violence on militia trained by the late former Libyan President, Muammar Gadaffi. He thanked the US for “giving us the aircraft that we asked for,” adding “We’re even more grateful for the presence of US military advisors in Nigeria.”

President Trump called the sale of 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft “the first-ever sale of the American military weapon to Nigeria. This new aircraft will help Nigeria target terrorists and protect civilians.”

In fact, the planes were in the pipeline since the Obama administration but the sale was frozen in one of Obama’s last decisions in office after a Nigerian fighter jet mistakenly bombed a government-run refugee camp, killing over 100 refugees including Red Cross volunteers.

The 12 aircraft, with weapons and services, are worth $593 million and include thousands of bombs and rockets. The plane, with reconnaissance, surveillance and attack capabilities, is made by Brazil’s Embraer and in Jacksonville, Florida by Embraer and the Sierra Nevada Corp.

African News Agency/ANA