Nigerian defence minister Mansur Dan-Ali has expressed interest in acquiring a variety of Russian military equipment, during the recent Army 2017 defence exhibition in Russia.
“The Russian equipment that could be of our interest are MiG fighters and some artillery equipment. We are here to have a look. We have identified some items, like the Kalashnikov modern, new rifles and also avionics, helicopters and some other mine-resistant protected vehicles,” Dan-Ali told Sputnik news last week.
“We also looked at the [Yak-]130 jet and also we are thinking how to go about it. We just had a look and now when we go back home we look at some of its specifications before we sit down for negotiations,” Dan-Ali said.
He noted that Nigeria is currently receiving military hardware from Russia, including Mi-35M helicopters. Two were delivered in December last year and another ten will have been delivered by the end of 2018, under a contract signed in October 2015.
Dan-Ali also said Nigeria is planning to take part in the 2018 International Army Games. “We shall participate in the International Army Games. As I have said earlier, this agreement that we have just signed entails closer cooperation between the two states. We are looking at exchange programmes, training and exercises. Since 2006, we have been pushing for it in order to facilitate training of personnel and exchanges of ideas between our two militaries.”
Dan-Ali recently met with Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and signed an intergovernmental agreement on military cooperation. This will include Nigerian personnel undergoing training at military colleges in Russia.
Russia also signed defence agreements with other African countries on the sidelines of Army 2017 held outside Moscow from 22-27 August. Russian media reported that Shoigu had signed agreements with Chad, Niger, Nigeria, and Equatorial Guinea.
The agreement with Chad focussed on training of Chadian forces in counter-insurgency operations, while the agreement with Niger “envisions deliveries of military products, joint training of troops, and experience sharing in fighting terrorism”, according to Interfax.