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Sadique Abubakar, chief of air staff, says the Nigeria air force uses old aircraft because new ones are difficult to procure.

Speaking with journalists in Abuja on Saturday, the air chief said sometimes, politics is involved in the procurement of military hardware.

He explained that even if money was available to buy military equipment, some countries would still not want to sell.

However, he disclosed that Pakistan had sold 10 trainer aircraft to Nigeria, and that the delivery of a gunship helicopter from Russia was still being expected.

“We have been enjoying a lot of support from friendly countries. Sometimes, procurement of military equipment is shrouded in a lot of politics,” he said.

“Right now, we are expecting the Pakistan chief of air staff in Nigeria today. Pakistan has accepted to sell 10 trainer aircraft to Nigeria. That’s why he is coming to the country. We are also expecting a helicopter gunship from Russia before the end of this month.

“As a developing country, we don’t produce aircraft. Even the process of getting spare parts is hard. There is a lot of politics involved even when you have the money. Sometimes, I see online comments: ‘Why is Nigeria operating this old aircraft.’ I just laugh. People don’t know. Even if you have your money you might not see one to buy, even spare parts. That’s why we are forced to go into research and development.

“To get just quotation to buy spare parts, sometimes it takes four months to get a response depending on the relationship you have with the country. It is not easy. Some will say why are we not buying F16? But will the owner of F16 sell to you even if you have money.”

Speaking on the military operation in the northeast, Abubakar said the air force had conducted air operations for 48 hours for troops who are advancing to Sambisa forest, a Boko Haram stronghold.

He added that the air force would continue its push until insurgents were removed from the northeast.

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