The federal government on Thursday explained that the training of Nigerian soldiers by American security experts was cancelled because the Americans refused to share vital equipment needed for the training.
It said instead, the American trainers demanded to use equipment belonging to the Nigerian army which, according to the government, are being used in the fight against the insurgency in the North-east.
The Coordinator of the National Information Centre (NIC) and Director General of National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr. Mike Omeri, offered these explanation while briefing journalists at the centre yesterday in Abuja.
“The training that is being offered by the American government did not also come with the equipment component. So, if our soldiers need the same equipment, and you all know the status of our stock, we will not withdraw everything and go for training when we have need for it on the field,” he said.
Omeri, who denied the speculation of diplomatic fallout between the two countries, insisted that diplomatic relationship between Nigeria and the United States had not been negatively affected.
The government also suggested that the training would continue once necessary equipment for the concluding stage of the exercise are available for use.
“Nigeria and America have strong military bilateral relations and till date, it’s still ongoing and strong. Therefore, when such equipment are available, I’m sure the final phase of the training will be concluded,” he said.
According to Omeri, the logistical components entailed withdrawing some military equipment from the battlefield so that the Americans could use them to train the soldiers.
He noted that the Nigerian soldiers have concluded two phases of the training out of the three phases.
“The training that is being mentioned would have been supposed to be in three phases. Two phases have been concluded; the next phase requires some logistical components and I don’t think it’s wise to take equipment from the field and keep them in Jaji for training when our soldiers are out there in need of the equipment,” he stated.