Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Thursday, made a case for the local production of military hardware, especially armament.
He argued that the move would keep the Nigerian military “many steps ahead” of non-state actors who have fuelled the country’s asymmetric warfare over the years. The Vice President also made a case for local weapons manufacture, saying, “If we choose to import rather than produce locally, then we will never develop our military-industrial complex.”
According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, Osinbajo stated this after receiving a presentation on “Defence Transformation and National Security: Strategic options for Nigeria of the future” by the National Defence College Course 30 participants during a virtual interaction late Wednesday.
The statement titled, “We need to be steps ahead of terrorists, bandits and beef up local production of arms” read in part, “If you look at the challenges we are facing and the nature of those challenges, it is evident that we need to be many steps ahead of non-state actors in particular, who are perpetrators of this asymmetric warfare that we are experiencing.
“It is clear that given the 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.”
Commending the course participants for their efforts in proposing innovations in the defence sector, Osinbajo emphasised the urgency for the local production of arms.
“If we say the local companies should produce some of the mobile platforms like Armoured Personnel Carriers and Multi-Role Armoured Vehicle, 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,” he said.
He emphasised the need for transparency in the management of resources meant for the acquisition of hardware for defence and security agencies.
On behalf of the Course 30 participants, Col. A. A. Adamu proposed, among other things, the restructuring of the Ministry of Defence to reflect contemporary challenges as well as contain emerging threats to defence and security. He also prayed for the speedy recovery of the Vice President who is still recuperating, while thanking him for the opportunity to make the presentation.