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Step up local production of arms, Osinbajo tells military

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has told the military to increase local production of arms for its use in the fight against terrorists, bandits and kidnappers in the country. This came as he called on the institution and other securityagenciestobeproactiveandbemilesaheadof the criminals.

Speaking at a virtual interaction after receiving a presentation on “Defence Transformation and NationalSecurity: Strategic Options for Nigeria of the Future,” from National Defence College Course 30 participants, Osinbajo who is recovering from surgery as a result of a knee injury, said: “If you look at the challenges that we are facing and the nature of those challenges, it is evident that we need to be many steps ahead of non-stateactorsinparticular who are perpetrators of this asymmetric warfare that we are experiencing. “It is clear that given current realities in our security situation, there is absolutely every need for us to fast forward all our plans for the futuresothatwecanbemuch moreeffectiveindealingwith the current threats and the threats that we will experience as we go into the future.

“One of the most critical areas is the question of local production of military hardware, and I think it is a lowhanging fruit when it comes tomanufacturingsomeof the hardware that we will need. I think that there is a need, especially now, to really look very closely at local production of our hardware, beginning with armament.”

Making a case for improved investment in Defence Industries Corporation (DICON), the vice president noted that every country of the world takes advantage of the crisis situation that it faces. He noted that the more developed world tookadvantage of theFirstandSecondWorld War to develop their military and industrial capacities and sustained same. He pointed out that local companies in the country could be commissioned to produce hardware, such as Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) and Multi-Role Armoured Vehicle (MRAV), oncontractsinsteadof getting fixated on importation.

The vice president also spoke about the need for transparency in the management of resources meant for the acquisition of hardware for the defence and security agencies. “There needs to be more accountability because every time you hear about ‘we not having enough equipment,’ but there must be accountability. I will like to see a framework for greater accountability within the Ministry of Defence that ensures that they are able to account for military expenditure.”




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