Nigeria must produce local weapons to tackle terrorism – Osinbajo
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said Nigeria needs to effectively combat current security challenges and emerging threats confronting it by allowing its military and other stakeholders to step ahead of the perpetrators.
Osinbajo said this in a statement on Thursday by his spokesman, Laolu Akande, on a presentation by the National Defence College course 30 participants, titled, ‘Defence Transformation and National Security: Strategic Options for Nigeria of the Future’.
Osinbajo, who attended the event virtually, said the challenges Nigeria is facing were enough evidence that the country needs to improve on local production of military equipment.
The statement quoted the Vice President as saying, “It is clear that given current realities in our security situation, there is absolutely every need for us to fast-forward all our plans for the future so that we can be much more effective in dealing with the current threats, and the threats that we will experience as we go into the future.
“One of the most critical areas is the question of local production of military hardware and I think it is a low-hanging fruit when it comes to manufacturing some of the hardware that we will need.
“I think that there is a need, especially now, to really look very closely at local production of our hardware, beginning with armament.
“If we say the local companies should produce some of the mobile platforms like armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and multi-role armoured vehicle (MRAV), if we give them the contracts, they will produce.
“But if we choose to import rather than produce locally, then we will never develop our military-industrial complex.”
Osinbajo also called for improved investment in the Defence Industries Corporation, adding that countries take advantage of the crisis situations they face.
He added, “We mentioned India, Brazil, and even the more developed economies of the world. During the first world war, the second world war, it was these challenges that led to the development of their military-industrial complexes.
“We have a challenge today. There are so many zones where there are conflicts. Our law enforcement is spread out everywhere.”
He further spoke about the need for transparency in the management of resources for the acquisition of hardware for security agencies.
He added, “There needs to be more accountability because every time you hear about ‘we not having enough equipment’, but there must be accountability.
“I will like to see a framework for greater accountability within the ministry of defence that ensures that they are able to account for military expenditure.”
Other officials present at the event included Ibrahim Gambari, chief of staff to the president; Awwal Gambo, chief of naval staff; and Murtala Bashir, commandant of the National Defence College.