Insecurity: Nigeria, Bulgaria to Sign Defence Pact

Kingsley Nwezeh

The Minister of Defence, Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi (rtd), said yesterday that Nigeria and Bulgaria were working towards signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on defence cooperation.

Bulgaria is an arms manufacturing country.

The minister said plans were in motion to contextualise and conceptualise the draft documents for the proposed MoU between Nigeria and the Republic of Bulgaria.

He spoke when the Bulgarian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Yanko Yordanov, paid a courtesy visit to the Ministry of Defence Headquarters Abuja.

Magashi said: “The bilateral relation between Nigeria and Bulgaria spanning over five decades is long enough to snowball into a stronger defence cooperation especially now that the country is confronting internal security threats being orchestrated by non-state actors”.

He said the time was ripe for the two countries to emplace a robust, workable MoU by ensuring that that the necessary areas were covered in the expected legal document.

The defence minister disclosed that the proposal was being transmitted to the Ministry of Justice for perusal and assured the Bulgarian Ambassador that the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr. Musa Istifanus, was equally germane to the final draft of the MoU. He also pointed out that the Director of the Joint Services Department, Mr Olu Mustapha, would also do the needful expeditiously.

He said that the processes and procedures the documents were subjected to required due diligence that would bring out the best in safeguarding the interest of the two cooperating nations.

On his part, the Bulgarian Ambassador, Yordanov, thanked the defence minister for the bilateral talks which he said would culminate in the long, overdue significant signing of the MoU expected to deepen the existing exchange of military training and explore other critical areas of defence cooperation between the two countries.

He use the opportunity of the courtesy visit to invite the minister as a special guest to the forthcoming military exhibitions in Bulgaria by June next year.

He said opportunities await both countries if the Nigerian Armed Forces participated in the invitational event expected to showcase an array of new military technology and harvest of modern weaponry developed by the Bulgarian Armed forces.

Meanwhile, the minister also granted audience to the representatives of the widows of the officers, who died in Hercules C-130 plane crash in 1992 led by the National Coordinator, Mr. Ogale Jude.

The delegation raised concerns about the yet to be fulfilled promises by the federal government, the home states of the deceased and the services in the areas of building houses, purchase of cars and training of the children of the families of the officers who paid the supreme price in service of the nation.

Magashi expressed his determination to address the gaps that led to the delay and discrepancies in settling the commitments to the widows, who sadly disclosed that they lost some of their members over lack of funds to pay their medical bills.

The minister tasked the group to furnish the ministry with the updated facts and figures about members living or dead adding that the raw data would lead to actionable efforts to meet their demands, a statement by the minister’s office, said

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