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Nigeria to acquire 24 fighter jets from Italy’s Leonardo

NIGERIA plans to acquire 24 fighter jets from Italy’s Leonardo to modernize its fleet and bolster its air force, air force spokesperson Air Vice Marshal Edward Gabkwet said on Friday.

The aircraft will arrive in the country in four batches of six jets each, the Air Force said. Africa’s most populous nation will receive the first six M-346 fighter aircraft before the end of the year, Gabkwet said in a statement.

The news followed a visit by Claudio Sabatino, Leonardo vice president, to Nigeria’s air force chief in Abuja on Wednesday.

Leonardo will provide a minimum of 25 years of maintenance support, the Air Force statement said.

Nigeria is trying to boost its ability to combat insurgency, especially in the northeast of the country where Boko Haram militants and the Islamic State regional affiliate are active. Also, kidnapping and banditry are rife across the country.