By Kingsley Nwezeh
In a renewed bid to reorganise the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces of Nigeria, the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd), yesterday inaugurated a 21- man committee to facilitate the reforms of the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN).
Inaugurating the committee at the Ship House, Headquarters of the Ministry of Defence, Magashi gave a 10-point terms of reference as contained in the convening order.
He told the committee to address the perceived administrative and operational gaps in the military, which he said must be refined and clearly defined in compliance with the current globally acceptable 21st century standards.
The minister further tasked the committee under the chairmanship of Air Vice Marshal Mohammed Ndatsu Umaru (rtd) to see the assignment as a patriotic call to national service and the need to play their roles in defence of the country’s territorial integrity against the infractions of the insurgents, bandits and kidnappers.
He said President Muhammadu Buhari was “optimistic that the recommendations of the committee at the end of the assignment would drive his campaign promise to return the military to its rightful place in global reckoning”.
In his opening remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Mr. Musa Istifanus, described the composition of the membership of the committee which has Air Commodore DE Abdullahi (rtd) as secretary as carefully selected and balanced to meet national representation and aspirations capable of delivering on their mandate.
In his speech, the Chairman of the committee, Ndatsu, assured the minister that members would bring their experience and expertise to bear in the discharge of their assigned task.
He said team work, dedication and commitment to the assignment would be the focus within the ambit of national realities.
Members of the reform committee include former Chief of Defence Staff , Air Chief Marshal Oluseyi Petinrin (rtd); Lt. Gen. Chikadibia Obiakor (rtd), former Assistant Secretary General, Office of Military Affairs, UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, New York; Alhaji Goni Aji, former Head of Service; Rear Admiral AG Adedeji (rtd); Maj. Gen. AM Jibril (rtd) and Rear Admirals FD Akpan, Special Adviser, Technical to the Minister of Defence; Maj. Gen Ahmed Tijani Jibrin (rtd), and Rear JA Ajani (rtd).
Also in the committee are Brigadier General JN Temlong; Group Captain SG Shehu (rtd); Maj. Gen. OF Azinta as representative of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS); Maj. Gen. Charles Ofoche representative of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS); Rear Admiral OE Eyo for Chief of Naval Staff (CNS); and AVM IO Ojeyemi as the representative of the Chief of Air Staff (CAS).
Other members of the committee are Professor AS Nwankwo, former Provost of the Nigerian Defence Academy; Director, Joint Services (JSD), Mrs. OM Mustapha and Director Reforms, Mrs. Ochida Ahubi Suzan as representatives of the Ministry of Defence (MOD).
Former Permanent Secretaries of Ministry of Defence who made the list include Alhaji Aliyu Ismaila, and Ambassador Danjuma Sheni.