Nigeria begins local production of arms to cut down on importation

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President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday instructed the ministry of defense to create a modest military industrial complex for local production of arms so as to reduce dependence on foreign supply of military hardware to fight security challenges facing the nation.

The President gave the order in his opening remarks at a two-day mid-term ministerial performance review retreat, organised to assess progress made towards the achievement of the nine key priorities of his administration.

He said the establishment of the industrial complex would address Nigeria’s over-dependence on other countries for military equipment and logistics.

He explained that the project was being implemented under the Defense Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), a military department responsible for arms manufacture.

“To address our over-dependence on other countries for military equipment and logistics, I have instructed the Defence Ministry to create a modest military industrial complex for the local production of weapons to meet some of the requirements of the country’s armed forces. This is being implemented under the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), a military department responsible for arms manufacture,” he said.

On other steps taken by the government to strengthen national security, the president said Nigeria had so far taken delivery of six A-29 Super Tucano propeller-driven aircraft currently deployed for training, surveillance and attack by the military.

“It is gratifying to note that only recently, we received six A-29 Super Tucano aircrafts as part of our efforts to boost the nation’s campaign against insecurity. The propeller-driven aircrafts are being used for training, surveillance and attack by the military.

“As part of the efforts towards strengthening our national security, we have increased investments in arms, weapons and other necessary equipment; expanded the national command and control centre to nineteen states of the federation; and established a Nigerian Police Trust Fund, which will significantly improve funding for the Nigeria Police Force.

“We have also approved the sum of N13.3 billion for the take-off of the Community Policing initiative across the country, as part of measures adopted to consolidate efforts aimed at enhancing security nationwide,” he added.

He highlighted some of the federal government’s notable achievements in the last two years by in the areas of infrastructure, transportation, economy, electricity supply and the petroleum industry, among others.

Buhari also assured Nigerians that the 11.9km Second Niger Bridge, 120 km Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and other key projects under the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) would be completed within the second term of this administration.

“On transportation, we are growing the stock and quality of our road, rail, air and water transport infrastructure. The PIDF projects are also advancing remarkably. These include the 11.9km Second Niger Bridge, 120 km Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, 375 km Abuja – Kaduna – Zaria – Kano Expressway and the East West Road. Most of these projects are expected to be completed within this 2nd term of our administration,” he added.

On the economic front, the president said his administration had made tremendous progress on railway projects in the country, noting that upgrading of the railway network was being extended with the recent completion of the Lagos–Ibadan line.

“The Itakpe-Ajaokuta rail line has finally been completed and commissioned after 30 years of its conception. Work is expected to commence very soon on the Port-Harcourt Maiduguri line and Calabar – Lagos Coastal Line to connect the Southern and Eastern States of our Country. Progress is also being made on the upgrading of our Airports, with the state-of-the-art facilities in line with world class safety standards,” he said.

He also said that in the last two years, his ministers rendered reports to the federal executive council on their activities related to the achievement of their ministerial mandates.

“Some of the notable achievements include the establishment of InfraCo Plc in 2020, as a world class infrastructure development vehicle, wholly focused on Nigeria, with combined debt and equity take-off capital of N15 trillion, to be managed by an independent infrastructure fund manager.

“The Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund was also established in 2020 with more than USD 1Billion in funding. In addition, we have launched the Nigeria Innovation Fund by the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA). This is aimed at addressing investment opportunities in the domestic technology sector: data networking, datacenters, software, Agri-tech, Bio-tech, and more”.

Commenting on the power sector, the president noted that the implementation of a ‘Willing Buyer-Willing Seller’ Policy has opened up opportunities for increased delivery of electricity to underserved homes and industries.

On the Petroleum Industry Act signed into law on August 16, 2021, the president reiterated his directive to the Implementation Committee to complete all processes for the successful operationalisation of the Act within 12 months.

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