The United States has donated 25 mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicles valued at $11 million to Nigeria to help it combat Boko Haram militants.
Photos of the handover on 7 January show at least half a dozen BAE Systems Caiman MRAPs. In August last year Radio France International reported that Nigeria was to receive excess Caiman vehicles as well as Navistar Defence MaxxPro MRAPs.
A statement issued on Wednesday by the Public Affairs Section of the United States Consulate General Lagos, said: “The US is pleased to donate 24 Mine-Resistant, Armor-Protected (MRAP) vehicles valued at $11m to Nigeria’s military authorities.
“The equipment donation represents part of the continuing US commitment to Nigeria and its neighbours to counter Boko Haram’s senseless acts of terror and promote regional security.”
The vehicles were handed over on Thursday. During the handover ceremony, defence attaché to Nigeria Colonel Patrick Doyle said, “As part of the continuing support from United States to the government, and the people of Nigeria to defeat Boko Haram, I am proud to stand here today as the representative of the US secretary of defence, Ashton Carter, and commander and the representative of the US Africa command, General David Rodriguez, to present the donation of this 24 Mine-Resistant Armor-Protected (MRAP) vehicles to the Nigerian army,” Nigeria’s Daily Post reports.
Doyle said another eight vehicles, worth $7.4 million, were in the process of being delivered through the excess defence articles programme.
He cautioned that the vehicles needed to be serviced prior to delivery, and the spares ordered from the United States. Half the vehicles are in good working condition but will need minor work. “?When the Nigerian army inspected the vehicles a few months back, they selected the best vehicles that they could find,” he said.
“We have left Iraq with our forces and we have downsized our forces out of Afghanistan; we do not need all these vehicles anymore, so Nigeria asked for these vehicles and we gladly provided them,” he said.
Major General Barry Ndiomu, representing Nigeria’s Defence Minister, said the vehicles are what is needed to prosecute the war in the north-east, reports Nigeria’s Premium Times. “We express our most profound gratitude for the gift of Mine Resistant Ambush-protected vehicle to the Nigerian Army. It couldn’t have come at a better time especially considering the challenges that confront our armed forces in the north east”.
He said the vehicles would be moved “as soon as possible” to the Nigerian Army Electrical Maintenance Engineers workshop in Bauchi for assessment ahead of repair.
The United States has previously donated other equipment to Nigeria through its Excess Defence Articles Programme, such as the NNS Okpabana in 2014 and NNS Thunder in 2012, which are now serving with the Nigerian Navy.