Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The federal government has said future acquisition of military platforms and equipment for the Nigerian armed forces from South Africa would henceforth be guided by government-to- government agreement and procedure.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Ambassador Danjuma Sheni, announced this yesterday as part of resolutions reached at the end of a two-day meeting of the Nigeria-South Africa Defence Committee (DEFCOM) held in Abuja.
Sheni and his South African counterpart, Dr. Sam Gulube, confirmed this to journalists at the end of the committee’s deliberations that the relevant agencies in both countries would work on fine-tuning the procedures with a view to making hardware acquisition faster and hitch-free.
He said that the discussions were based on considerations that were beneficial to both South Africa and Nigeria.
The permanent secretary listed other areas of the planned new military pact with South Africa to include training and technology transfer in the areas of space technology and military medicine.
He said: “We have agreed on certain agenda items including but not limited to issues of military training, platform acquisitions; vehicles mainly for our military establishment.
“We have emphasised in our discussions that given our level of security threats the acquisition of military hardware and platforms would be fast tracked with our South African brothers.”
“In that context, we have also agreed that a technical team consisting of our experts from the various services will within a very short time go to South Africa to ascertain our requirements and needs.
“In the overall military relationship, we emphasised the new procurement policy of the Nigerian government which is based on government-to-government procurement,” Sheni added.
He also said the countries agreed that this new procurement procedure will be our guiding principle in the processes the country will be engaged in.
He stated that cooperation and collaboration in the area of space development which would be private sector driven and military medicine featured prominently in the deliberations.
On his part, Gulube assured his Nigerian counterparts that South Africa would work with the federal government’s new military procurement policy.
He said South Africa would respect Nigeria’s new regulatory environment in the procurement of military acquisitions and capabilities.
“The meetings we have had over the past two days cover the areas of training; we have been able to identify a number of training opportunities that are available here in Nigeria and in South Africa.
“We also looked at the area of military acquisitions and capabilities, we learned of various regulatory environment that exist in Nigeria especially with the new government with specific policies that guide the procurement of such military capabilities,” he said.
He continued: “We are happy to inform that such acquisition on the part of Nigeria would now be governed by government-to-government agreement.
“I promise that when I get back to South Africa I will be facilitating such government-to-government military acquisition programmes.”
According to Gulube, this is to enable Nigeria attend to the urgent need of enhancing the capability of the Nigerian Armed Forces to address the various security challenges confronting Nigeria.
The South African Defence Secretary explained that the agreed procurement procedure would also facilitate easy access to equipment manufacturers, quality assurance and also enhance price regulation.
He noted that both countries agreed on efforts to build joint cooperation in the area of research and development of military capability in addressing the needs of our Armed Forces.
Gulube however, allayed the fears that the new Nigeria-South Africa defence pact would be beneficial to only one party, stressing that both countries had a lot to learn from one another.