The United States held up a sale of U.S.-made military helicopters by Israel to the Nigerian government on routine procedure last summer, but Nigerian officials say was actually due to allegations of human rights violations, The Jerusalem Post reported on Monday.
Nigeria wanted the aircraft for use in its war with Boko Haram, but White House Assistant Press Secretary and Director for Strategic Communications Ned Price said that such a review is standard in the case of “any requests for one country to transfer U.S.-origin defense items to another country.”
According to a report in the local Nigerian daily, This Day, the Nigerians believe the delay was not routine but due to “unfounded allegations of human rights violations by our troops,” one such official is quoted saying.
“This,” the official stated, was “after the office of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had initially approved the purchase.”
U.S. officials explain that such weapons sales must take into account “the risk that significant change in the political or security situation of the recipient country could lead to inappropriate end-use” of the weapons.
Nigeria has benefited from training and assistance from the U.S. in its struggle with Boko Haram, which is linked to al-Qaida, and that President Obama has designated as an enemy of the United States.
Israeli officials declined to comment on the matter.