The Ministry of Defence has opened up on how the $1 billion released by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to procure arms was expended on the purpose it was released while waiting for the products’ arrival about three years after.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of the Ministry, Musa Istifanus, who stated this as a guest of honour at the Defence Industry Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) 2021 Summit in Kaduna added that the procurement was made to address the security threats currently bedevilling the country.
According to him, those that were raising dust about the funds were doing so out of share ignorance of how the funds were used for the purpose it was raised.
He maintained that “the Nigerian Government had spent N1 billion dollars in acquiring weapons for the war it is facing.
“Some ignorant people say they have not seen any weapon. I know where the weapons are. They are yet to come.
“We paid $496millon to the American government and it is getting to three years now, the Super Tucanos are yet to arrive. Last week, we received an email that it will come by 21st of July”, he said.
To DICON he said, “Manpower development, which you identified as one of the key points which encompass training, is key to the success of DICON, especially where you will want to use research and development to chat the course of your success.
“The Federal Government and the Ministry of Defence looks forward to seeing DICON attain a highly productive and profitable cooperation in our collective national desire to attain self-reliance and self-sufficiency in our defence and security needs”, he said
Earlier, the Executive Vice Chairman of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), Prof M S Haruna, who was represented at the event by Dr. Ibrahim Onuwo Abdulmalik, called on business giants like Aliko Dangote, Femi Otedola and others to support the Nigerian Industrial Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) for the security of their investments.
“If we have the richest man in Africa on Nigerian soil, and he’s not supporting DICON, maybe, we are not even talking to him. We are not talking to Dangote; we are not talking to Otedola and the rest of them. We must talk to them because if we are under threat of external aggressors, their investments are not safe.
“DICON must harness available human and material resources to meet us and of course, the Federal Government must also come up with its strategy to reposition DICON to deliver on its mandate by looking for strategic ways of funding the corporation not just waiting for the budget he said.
In an address, the new Director-General of DICON, Major General Moses Uzoh, noted that concerted efforts have been made in the past to achieve the objectives of DICON, especially as it relates to the establishment of a military-industrial complex in Nigeria.
“After a painstaking and meticulous assessment of the facilities on the ground, I am convinced beyond reasonable doubt that the operation, if guided on the right strategic direction and with the needed support and encouragement of all stakeholders, will rise to the occasion by producing defence equipment that will serve as a force multiplier in combating the emerging security challenges in the country.