The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai has said that Boko Haram terrorism thrived for so long because of the over reliance of the Nigerian military on foreign equipment and spares which were denied the country by foreign manufacturers.
He noted that this denial of equipment and spare-parts by these foreign countries, in the early stages, which are well documented, was a ‘huge setback’ the military’s operations.
Buratai made the disclosure just as he said his intervention led to the rehabilitation of 178 armoured fighting vehicles with which the army degraded and defeated Boko Haram terrorists’ from holding Nigerian territory pointing out that the fighting vehicles had been abandoned for 25 years.
Speaking at the flag off of the ‘First Research and Innovation Summit’ of the Army in Abuja, he said, “Our experiences in the North East and other Theatres of Operation has helped us draw useful lessons which have shaped the ongoing transformation process of the Nigerian Army aimed at developing and sustaining the right combat power for a professional force”.
“On assumption of office, I quickly set in motion, a programme for the immediate repairs and refitting of all abandoned and unserviceable weapons and equipment in the Nigerian Army inventory using local resources”.
“To this end, 178 armoured fighting vehicles of various types were completely refurbished by Nigerian Army Electrical and Mechanical Engineers at various workshops across the country.
“These were the weapons and equipment, operated by well trained, dedicated and motivated officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army that turned the tide of operations in the North East in our favour”.
“I equally charged all Nigerian Army corps and formations to intensify research and innovation efforts towards developing the right weapons, platforms and equipment needed to solve identified battle field problems that we hitherto did not have effective answers to”.
“Some of the results of these efforts have been extensively applied in the field and are yielding positive results, while others are at different stages of developments and adaptation like the ‘Odey Rechargeable Dynamo Exploder produced by Major Genera Odey; IPV, and Mini Clearing UAV amongst others.
Continuing, Buratai said, “The successes so far recorded in our operations and indeed in our research and innovation programme can only be attributed to the belief of this administration on the ability of Nigerians to produce their own needs given the right incentives”.
Minister of Defence, Mansur Muhammad Dan-Ali in his address commended the Nigerian Army for responsively keying into the federal government policy of research, innovation and ensuring a politically stable nation.
He said the present administration has given priority to research development through enactment of realistic policies that will reposition the armed forces towards attaining excellence.
“In this regard, the federal government through public/private/partnership is establishing a military industrial complex in Kaduna. This project is aimed at promoting research and innovation in the defence sector” the minister said.
“My ministry will also host a ‘National Conference on Defence Industrialization in Nigeria’ to attract local and international stakeholders to brainstorm and come up with a roadmap that will guide the successful take-off of our military industrial complex to be driven by research and technological innovations.”
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