Nigeria is considering purchasing Russian military equipment and is particularly interested in MiG fighters, Yak-130 aircraft, artillery equipment and armoured vehicles, Defence Minister Mansur Dan-Ali told Sputnik on Thursday.
“The Russian equipment that could be of our interest are MiG fighters and some artillery equipment.
“We are here [at International Army Games-2017] 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.
“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,” Mr. Dan-Ali said.
Speaking about military supplies from Russia, the minister mentioned the ongoing deliveries of Russian helicopters to the African nation within the framework of the 2016 agreement.
“Basically, we have gone for Mi-35 helicopters last year. We have taken two already and are expecting to get another two, early next year.
“All in all, we have about 12 of them,” the minister said.
He 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 programs, 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,” the minister said.
On Tuesday, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu met with Mr. Dan-Ali on the sidelines of the 2017 International Army Games and invited the Nigerian side to participate in the game next year.
On the same day, the two countries signed an intergovernmental agreement on military cooperation. According to Mr. Shoigu, the two states would, in particular, focus on joint training of troops, exchange of peacekeeping experience, as well as combating piracy and terrorism.
The two countries have a long history of cooperation, including in the military field.
In September 2016, Russia and Nigeria reached an agreement on the delivery of Mi-35M attack helicopters.
In June 2017, the Nigerian defence minister said that Russia could supply Nigeria with weapons to back it in the struggle against the Boko Haram terrorist group.
The International Army Games is an annual military competition held since 2015.
Within the framework of the international event, servicemen from different countries compete in different military disciplines.
According to the Russian Defence Ministry’s website, the 2017 games were held in Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, Kazakhstan and Russia, while the programme of the event comprised 28 different contests.