President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday in Abuja directed the federal ministry of defence to produce a plan for the establishment of a modest military industrial complex for the local production of weapons to meet some of the requirements of the country’s armed forces.
Speaking at a graduation ceremony at the national defence college, Buhari described 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,” he said.
“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.”
Buhari told the gathering that since his assumption of office, his administration has reviewed the nature and character of Nigeria’s security threats and challenges.
“We recognised first and foremost, the external dimensions of these threats and the need for international cooperation and common security mechanisms to tackle them,” he said.
He added that in the light of this realisation, his administration was “convinced that the best approach was to work within the framework of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) to mobilise a collective regional effort in the fight against terrorism and insurgency”.
He 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 set up an optimal organisation to manage and sustain operational performance; and we must show confidence and winning mentality,” he told them.
The president assured Nigerians that the federal government under his leadership would strive to meet the operational, logistic, training and welfare requirements of the armed forces.
He also reaffirmed his commitment to ameliorating the hardship 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.
He said that the national defencecollege 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 their future deployments and contribute theiur 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 told them.