- FG to set up military industrial complex
Paul Obi in Abuja
The Nigerian Army monday said its decision to refurbish its military armoury across the country turned the tide against the Boko Haram terrorists, leading to several defeats of the sects.
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Turkur Buratai, revealed that the refurbishment and change of strategy repositioned the Army to fiercely combat Boko Haram in the war against insurgency in the North-eastern part of Nigeria.
Burutai stated this in Abuja at the first Nigeria Army Research and Innovation Summit with the theme: ‘Research and Innovation, Developing Synergy with Indigenous Institutions for Enhanced Capacity in the Nigerian Army’.
He said the army’s deliberate programme for the immediate repair and refitting of all the abandoned and unserviceable weapons and equipment in the Nigerian Army inventory using local resources was very instrumental in curtailing Boko Haram terrorists.
“To this end, about 178 armoured fighting vehicles of various types were completely refurbished by Nigerian Army Electrical and Mechanical Engineers at various Nigerian Army workshops across the country.
“These were the weapons and equipment operated by well-trained, dedicated and motivated officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army that turned the tide of operations in the North-east in our favour,” Buratai said.
He added that the army “recognised the changes in the dynamics of modern warfare which requires constant innovation, research and advancement in technology and is prepared to develop local capacity for an enduring research and innovation process that will enhance its operations.
“Our experience in the North-east and other theatres of operation has helped us draw useful lessons which have shaped the ongoing transformation process of the Nigerian Army aimed at developing and sustaining the right combat power for professionally responsive force.
“We also learnt the hard lessons of over reliance on foreign equipment and spares which was a huge setback in the initial stages of our operations,” he said.
The special guest of honour and Minister for Defence, Brig-Gen. Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd), observed that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has continued to prioritise “the importance on research and innovation which is a key to unlocking the door to future technological and economic growth.”
The minister contended that “innovation is a major component of military technology as a critical aspect in national development.
“My ministry will also host a national conference on defence industrialisation in Nigeria to attract local and international stakeholders to brainstorm and come up with a road map that will guide the successful take off, of our Military Industrial Complex which will be driven by research and technological innovations,” he stated.
He informed the gathering that government is “working in partnership between Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) and some foreign original equipment manufacturers with a view to launching a pilot production line of some fast moving arms and ammunition for the armed forces.”
Minister for Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, who gave a keynote address stated that “the innovations in equipment and manufacturing by the Nigerian Army, Nigeria will soon achieve self-sufficiency in weapons and ammunition.”