Agency Reporter 

United States (U.S.) lawmakers are holding the proposed sale of attack helicopters to Nigeria.

They are alleging concerns about alleged human rights violations.

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Top Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have delayed clearing a proposed sale of 12 AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters and accompanying defence systems to the military.

This has paused a deal worth $875 million, according to U.S. officials and congressional aides.

The behind-the-scenes controversy over the proposed arms sale illustrates a broader debate among Washington policymakers over how to balance national security with human rights objectives.

The hold on the sale has showcased how powerful U.S. lawmakers want to push the Joe Biden administration to rethink U.S. relations with Nigeria.

The Federal Government, which plays a role in U.S. and international efforts to roll back extremist groups in the Sahel region of West Africa, is at war against Boko Haram, one of the world’s deadliest terrorist groups.

But Western governments and international human rights organisations have ramped up their criticisms of the government, particularly in the wake of its ban on Twitter, alleged systemic corruption issues and military’s role in deadly crackdowns on protesters after widespread demonstrations against police brutality last year.

Senator Bob Menendez, chairperson of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called for a “fundamental rethink of the framework of our overall engagement” with Nigeria” during a Senate hearing with U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in June.

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