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Minister tasks military to tap local capacity in defence production

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By Sumaila Ogbaje

Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Sen. Adeleke Mamora, has tasked the Armed Forces of Nigeria to pursue aggressive Research and Development (R&D) to harness local capacity in defence production.

Mamora gave the advice while delivering a graduation lecture titled, “Harnessing Local Capacity for Improved Defence Production” for participants of Army War College Nigeria (AWCN) Course 6/2022, on Tuesday in Abuja.

Mamora said that there were ample prospects of harnessing local capacities for sustainable defence production in Nigeria.

According to him, the success of the effort will depend on the commitment to leverage certain triggers and existing local endowments.

“Some of these are catalytic, push-factors or stabilizers in nature with possibility that positive results will be achieved,” he added.

The minister, therefore said the military must strengthen R&D programmes with emphasis on demand-driven and need-based outcomes.

This, according to him, will frog-jump commercialisation of R&D breakthroughs and engender irreversible indigenous industrial development.

He also advocated the promotion of strategic alliances among critical stakeholders in the science, technology and innovation ecosystem, including research institutes, industries and businesses.

The minister said the alliance should be in such a manner that government through regulatory establishments would ensure conformity to standards, certification and accreditation of products and services.

Mamora also called for full implementation of the Presidential declaration of annual funding of Research and Innovation with 0.5 per cent of GDP and reactivation of the National Research and Innovation Fund.

“Nigeria should adopt a strategic plan with time-frame of activities for self-sufficiency in defence production by leveraging local capacity that is pivoted on solid and robust STI-Ecosystem.

“Let me assure everybody that we are willing at all times, to continue with the warm relationship that exists between the ministry and the Nigerian military.

“Especially for the main purpose of enhancing defence production in our nation,” he said.

The minister said if Nigeria had access to affordable and effective military equipment, decisive advantage would be achieved through superior deployment in tackling the current security threats.

Mamora commended the efforts and progress being made at the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), urging them to continue to leverage on all existing partnerships to achieve more.

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Faruk Yahaya, commended the minister for bringing his expertise to bear in speaking to the participants on harnessing their capacity to improve on local defence production.

Faruk said the armed forces had intensified efforts in harnessing local capacity to enhance its defence capabilities through research and development.

He said the topic of the lecture was apt considering the current security situation in the country, adding that participants would be fully prepared for the tasks ahead.

The COAS urged the participants to leverage on the knowledge they had acquired in the last eight months to make meaningful contribution to ongoing operations when deployed.

“We expect to see you deploy your skill and competency that you have acquired here when you go to the field,” he said.

Yahaya thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for his unwavering support for the Nigerian army to carry out its constitutional responsibilities effectively.

The Commandant of AWCN, Maj.-Gen. Bamidele Alabi, said the lecture was one of the series of activities lined up for the graduation of the college’s Course 6/2022 participants on Friday.

Alabi said the college was established in 2017 as the highest professional military education institution, adding that it had trained some of the finest professional military officers within five years of its existence.

He said the officers trained at the institution had been making significant contribution to national security, assuring that the college remained committed to sustaining the tradition of excellence in the future.

According to him, the framework for the course 6/2022, comprising 73 officers from three services, six agencies and six countries, including Nigeria, was formally inaugurated on March 28.

“The college concentrated on developing the skills of the senior officers and the management of war, particularly in the areas of operational tactics, campaign planning, military leadership strategy, and inter-agency cooperation in military operations.

“It also builds the capacity of the officers in the development and employment of manpower in the complex joint, integrated, multinational and interagency environment.

“It is against this backdrop that the topic for this graduation lecture, `Harnessing Local Capacity for Improved Defence Production’, is indeed very apt,” he said.

Alabi said the science, technology and innovation ministry played important role in changing Nigeria’s national security through capacity building in the areas of indigenous defence production.

He said that this helped in the training in defense technology and production of operational level officers who were innovative in tackling contemporary security threats to the national security. (NAN)

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