Molly Kilete, Abuja
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai says that the Nigerian Armed Forces has paid dearly for the country’s overdependence on importing military equipment and platforms in its fight against Boko Haram terrorists.
Buratai also said the military has found imported weapons not only very expensive but unsustainable and detrimental to national security.
The army chief made this known at the opening of the Nigerian Second Research and Innovation Summit in Abuja.
“The Nigerian Army,” he said “has paid too high a price for overdependence on importation of military equipment and platforms.”
He explained further that the Army has “found that to be too expensive, unsustainable, inimical to operational efficiency and detrimental to national security.
Buratai said the Army has resolved that any future procurement must be predicated on developing an efficient in-country maintenance and production capacity.
He said the Nigerian Army would support and work with partners who demonstrate the capacity and sincere desire to enhance local production of military equipment and platforms to avoid the mistakes of the past.
Buratai, while noting that the summit was organized to avoid future mistakes, charged participants drawn from the various army corps, training institutions and formations, to interact freely and identify the right partners that would assist in furthering their research and innovation efforts towards addressing operational problems.
The summit comes at a time when the federal government has institutionalized its local content development policy, recovery and group plan, with Buratai explaining that “the policy reinforces the need to develop Nigeria’s industrial complex for sustainable combat readiness and efficiency of our armed forces.”
He said the summit is aimed at exploring ways of building the right frameworks for a more sustainable participation of the private sector in the country’s defence production.
“The experience of the Nigerian Army in the past few years and it’s projections for the future has led to the review of its Order of Battle, which saw the [expansion] of the army from 5 to 8 divisions, with additional specialist units such as the Special Forces Brigade, the Motorcycle Battalions and Army Aviation,” Buratai said.
“The implementation of the new Order of Battle 2016 requires huge resources, which cannot be solely committed to importation,” he stated.