The Nigér Republic’s defence minister, Alkassoum Indatou, has revealed how Nigérien troops came to Nigeria’s aid on several occasions to combat armed rebellion and insurgency.
Mr. Indatou described his country’s alliance with Nigeria as mutually beneficial and long-standing, dating back to the 1967 civil war, when they supplied Nigerian soldiers with donkeys and other equipment to fight Biafra secessionists.
Mr Indatou made the disclosure to quell the recent public outcry over President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime’s disbursement of N1.1 billion to purchase 10 Toyota Land Cruiser vehicles for top government officials in Niger Republic, which enraged Nigerians. They accused Mr Buhari of squandering the country’s limited resources on neighboring countries.
In response to the outcry, Mr Indatou stated that the Niger Republic was not the only country benefiting from their alliance. He emphasized that Nigeria had been the recipient of their generosity on several occasions.
“Niger has always been at Nigeria’s side in difficult times, Biafra Niger has sent soldiers and donkeys to defuse the bombs for the benefit of the military,” a translation of Mr Indatou’s French statement showed, to prove that Nigeria has been profiting from the Nigerien government.
The minister also emphasized his country’s assistance to Nigerians, revealing that Zamfara residents rely heavily on Nigerien soldiers to protect them from bandits and other armed gangs. He also stated that Nigerian soldiers did not hesitate to assist Nigerian forces in their fight against Boko Haram terrorists in Damasak.
Nigeria is bordered to the north by the Niger Republic, which includes the states of Zamfara, Kebbi, and Kaduna.
The two countries have maintained friendly relations, particularly during Mr Buhari’s administration, which approved a $1.96 billion Kano-Katsina-Maradi railway project and, more recently, N1.14 billion for the procurement of 10 vehicles for Niger’s top officials.
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