President Buhari orders plans to fast rack production of military weapons in Nigeria
Nigeria’s efforts to become self sufficient in production of military hard wares received a big boast yesterday as President Muhammadu Buhari directed the Federal Ministry of Defence to produce a plan for the establishment of a modest Military Industrial Complex. This is just as the President has declared that the time has come for Nigerians to do more than pay mere lip service to agriculture, as crude oil and gas exports will no longer be sufficient as the country’s major revenue earner.
The plan which is in furtherance of the nation’s efforts for the local production of weapons, will enable Nigeria meet some of the requirements of the country’s armed forces. Speaking at the graduation ceremony of the National Defence College, Buhari described Emenike Ubani, Umuahia Against the backdrop of recent courtesy visit by a faction of the chapter of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to the Abia State Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, the rival faction of the organized labour in the state has kicked against the visit while urging the state governor to trade with caution.
Recall that as at the last Workers’ Day celebration on May 01, as unacceptable, Nigeria’s current over-dependence on other countries for critical military equipment and logistics. “We must evolve viable mechanisms for near-self-sufficiency in military equipment and logistics production complemented only by very advanced foreign technologies.
“The Ministry of Defence is being tasked to draw up clear and measurable outlines for development of a modest Military Industrial Complex for Nigeria. “In this regard, it is to liaise with other strategic MDAs and industries to re-engineer the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) to meet national military hardware and logistics requirements,” the President said.
President Buhari told the gathering that his administration had, since its assumption of office, reviewed the nature and character of Nigeria’s security threats and challenges. “We recognized first and foremost, the external dimensions of these threats and the need for international cooperation and common security mechanisms to tackle them,” the President said.
The President added that in the light of this realization, his Administration was “convinced that the best approach was to work within the framework of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) to mobilize a collective regional effort in the fight against terrorism and insurgency. The President urged the graduates and officers and men of the Armed Forces to work harder to win the war against Boko Haram, terrorism and insurgency.
“We must apply a comprehensive strategy and coordinate all elements of national power against terrorism and insurgency; we must show result oriented leadership at all levels of Military Command; we must setup an optimal organization to manage and sustain operational performance; and we must show confidence and winning mentality,” President Buhari told them.
The President assured that the Federal Government under his leadership will strive to meet the operational, logistic, training and welfare requirements of the Armed Forces of Nigeria. He also reaffirmed his commitment to ameliorating the hardships of people living in areas most affected by insurgency and terrorism. “We have the will, resolve and conviction to apply a comprehensive strategy and coordinate all elements of national power against terrorism and insurgency,” the President reassured Nigerians and the international community.
President Buhari said that the National Defence College had fulfilled the vision of its founding fathers, by becoming a strategic human capacity-building institution, making credible contributions to Nigeria and other friendly countries.
The President urged graduates of the College’s Course 23 to resolve to make “a marked difference in your future deployments and contribute your quota to the evolution and implementation of national security, defence and military strategies.” “You should be the source that lights up the environment wherever you find yourselves,” he said.
Also speaking at an audience with Dr. Kanayo Nwanze, the Nigerian born President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), at the Presidential Villa, the President said it was time to go back to land. “It’s time to go back to the land. We must face the reality that the petroleum we had depended on for so long will no longer suffice.
We campaigned heavily on agriculture, and we are ready to assist as many as want to go into agricultural ventures,” the President said. The President pledged that his administration will also cut short the long bureaucratic processes that Nigerian farmers had to go through to get any form of assistance from government.
He told the IFAD President that improvement of the productivity of farmers, dry season farming, and creative ways to combat the shrinking of the Lake Chad would also receive the attention of his administration. “There is so much to be done. We will try and articulate a programme and consult organizations like IFAD for advise,” the President said, adding that foreign exchange will be conserved for machinery and other items needed for production, “instead of using it to import things like toothpicks.”
Dr Nwanze congratulated President Buhari on his victory at the general elections and assured him that IFAD was ready to give all possible assistance to the Federal Government and Nigerian farmers to boost agricultural production in the country. IFAD is an international organization dedicated to addressing issues of agriculture and poverty alleviation. It was established in 1978, and has been collaborating with Nigeria for over 30 years.
-Tony Ailemen, Abuja