Editorial

As House of Reps seeks increased patronage for DICON

Recently, the House of Representatives frowned at the failure of some security agencies to patronise the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) while commending the Nigerian Army for being an exception to this rule. Though the patronage of the Nigeria Army is heartwarming, it is a mere solo effort, which would unlikely deliver the much-expected promise of large revenue-inflow to help make the Corporation self-sustaining.

 

This is why New Telegraph will not hesitate to extend kudos to the Lower House for its reprimand of the erring security agencies. By the reprimand, the House of Representatives has proven that it is still alive to some of her responsibilities, despite the overwhelming displeasure of the populace over her cumulative ineffectiveness and inefficiency so far in its lifespan.

 

The failure of many security agencies to patronise DICON has put the armsmanufacturing outfit at a disadvantage. At the level of DICON, the Corporation has been denied the opportunity to become more effective and efficient and even more continentally and globally competitive, which comes from the ability to satisfy the demand of its customers/clients. In a circumstance, whereby the Nigerian Army has been identified as the only security agency that is a committed client/customer of the arms’ manufacturer, the growth opportunity is lost and may not be harvested until there is attitudinal change on the part of the erring security agencies.

DICON would be unable to earn improved revenue to become self-sustaining let alone remitting a significant amount of money periodically to the Federal Government (FG) that relies on her Ministries Departments Agencies (MDAS) across the country for revenueremittance. At the national level, Nigeria could be likened to a person who lives on the bank of a river but complains of lacking adequate water to wash his/ her hands.

Despite the establishment of DICON In 1964, the outfit has disappointingly been unable to manufacture a significant amount of arms and ammunition needed by the nation. This has made Africa’s most populous country look up to foreign imports at a cost to our foreign exchange.

Nigeria is usually made a victim of arms’ diplomacy as the manufacturing and supplying nations sell their products at marked-up prices. In a country whereby a lot of money is made from the purchase of weapons of war and security surveillance from foreign nations, the reprimand by the House of Representatives may amount to pouring water on the rock, as the Lower House expects the non-conforming  security agencies to show compliance and begin to patronise DICON.

 

Everything humanly possible may be done by the referred classes to ensure that the House of Representatives reproach does not translate into improved patronage of DICON by the security agencies. We enjoin the House of Representatives to synergise with the Upper House; the Senate, to ensure improved patronage of the arms’ manufacturing outfit by the relevant security agencies.

 

The collaboration between the two arms of the National Assembly should manifest into Acts of Parliament making it mandatory for all security agencies to patronise DICON. Each of them should rely on the local arms’ manufacturer for all its weapons and related items. It is only when it has been ascertained that DICON is incapable of meeting her demands with regard to specific weapons that such a security outfit could be allowed to import the same from a foreign country.

DICON and universities could also midwife collaboration between them. Such partnership should enable DICON to maximally harvest the richness of research and innovation domiciled in the nation’s temples of learning. Such collaboration should be worked out in a manner that the scholars and students involved in the research efforts and outcomes would not have to go away empty-handed while DICON and their university partners smile to the banks.

 

New Telegraph advocates that Nigeria should strive to become more vibrant in the field of international relations. Rather than dissipate her energy on ‘Father Christmas Diplomacy’, she should continuously show interest in Economic Diplomacy.

 

The latter would enable Nigeria to reap bountiful economic benefits in her attempts to relate with allies. DICON could be positioned to produce and export weapons to such allies, who will pay for them in hard currency. Nigerian scientists and engineers of distinction in different parts of the world should be identified and given enticing offers as visiting scholars to DICON.

 

This would prompt them to avail the arms’ manufacturing facility with their prodigious expertise and ingenuity to the extent that meeting the expectations of all would-be clients/customers including the reluctant security agencies with the exception of the Nigerian Army, would become as sure as daylight. Surely, the inglorious story of the 58-year-old DICON would be re-written to the happiness of all Nigerians at home and abroad.

 

There should be no going back. All that is required is a political leadership that would give men and women of profound scholarship in science and engineering their deserved places in DICON.

 

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