Despite rising crimes and violent attacks across the nation, the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi, on Tuesday, said the military has recorded a progressive return of peace to the North-east region ”and other parts of the country”.
He stated this when the Senate Committee on Defence, led by its Chairman, Aliyu Wamakko, visited the ministry for oversight.
Mr Magashi, a retired major general, who said Nigeria had been contending with diverse internal security challenges, noted that peace was returning to some parts of the country affected by insurgents.
“Nigeria has been contending with diverse internal security challenges even as it grapples with the unconventional warfare waged against her by the terrorist group, Boko Haram and banditry in some states like Niger, Katsina, Kaduna, Sokoto and Zamfara,” he said.
“The armed forces are confronting the emerging threat of banditry in other parts of the country especially in the North-central and the North-west.
“These challenges have tasked the constructive capabilities of our armed forces with attendant losses of our gallant officers and men in the line of duty.
“The armed forces have continued to contend with the challenges of ensuring insurgents’ intermittent incursions are constantly repelled.
“However, we have achieved a level of tranquillity.”
The minister, however, said that with the support of the National Assembly, the ministry would consolidate on its current strides and ultimately achieve sustainable tranquillity.
In his remarks, Mr Wamakko said he was confident that Nigeria would overcome its security challenges.
“The entire country wants to know where we are in terms of security. I am confident that we will overcome our challenges as daunting as they are,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Director-General, Defence Research and Development Bureau, Ubrufih Uzezi, an air vice marshal, on Tuesday, appealed to the National Assembly to increase its annual budgetary allocation for research and development.
Mr Uzezi made the appeal when the committee visited the bureau in Abuja, for oversight.
Providing a breakdown of the bureau’s budget performance for 2019 and 2021, Mr Uzezi lamented the paucity of funds for research and called for more funds to be allocated to the bureau.
He said an upward review of the funds for research would enable the military to effectively prosecute the war against insurgency in the North-east, as well as tackle other security challenges in other parts of the country.
“The money appropriated has been well spent and for the things we are doing, a lot has to do with funding to solve a lot of problems that our troops are facing in the North-east, North-west and North-central; the issue of insurgency, banditry.
“For the 2019-2020 budget you will see that a very paltry sum was given to research and development. Research and development cost a lot of money,” Mr Uzezi said.
The director-general further said Nigeria was experiencing a lot of insecurity, especially in the North-east, which required the military to prosecute with superior firepower; pointing out that the military research centre was expected to be the driving force.
“Our country is going through very challenging times and the armed forces is at the fore of resolving the challenges that we are facing,” he said.
“And for any armed forces to function effectively, they need equipment, they need capabilities that are technology-dependent.
“I believe that those who initiated the idea of a bureau like this to be established, foresaw and indeed there is no country that can attain self- reliance in technology without research and development.”
In his opening remarks, Mr Wamakko said the visit was aimed at carrying out a first-hand assessment of the military facility with a view to understanding its challenges.
“We are here as part of our mandate to have an assessment of the constraints. We want to also hear about your 2019 and 2021 capital budget. We are concerned about the security situation, what is being done and what the constraints are. We are here to have a first-hand assessment”, he said.
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