The House of Representatives Committe on Defense has pledged more funding to military institutions to enable them meet up with contemporary security challenges in the country.
The Chairman of the committee, Mr Babajimi Benson, made the pledge during an oversight visit on Monday to the Armed Forces Command and Staff Collage (AFCSC) Jaji, Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) and Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), all in Kaduna.
At the AFCSC and NDA, Benson commended the military institutions for judiciously spending what was allocated to them, stating that “they are punching above their weight, and as such they needed more”.
“I am also happy that the Commandants are people who actually work round peg in round hole, they have done alot to improve the fortune of their space, particularly with their curriculum and training.
“Cadets who are our children are more in tune with the present realities in Nigeria, alot of experiences are brought to bear from the people who have seen it all to help upscale them”.
He assured the institutions that the committee would ensure that the academy and AFCSC retained their pride of place as foremost military institutions in Africa.
“As you all know, there was a breach of security a couple of weeks ago in the NDA, we will look into those challenges and others by giving it all the necessary support to make the place a fortress for the academy and Nigeria.”
At DICON, Benson said the 31-year-old institution was doing wonders.
“We drove in a locally manufactured MRAP. This is in line with the Executive Order 5, which stipulates that Nigerians must first patronise local industries before going outside.
“DICON can do wonders, all they need is a demand and a supply line that can make them produce. Their products are cheaper, they told us the price of the MRAP and we compared it to how much we import.
“They are ready to start up immediately, all they need is a cover, a cover which the National Assembly undertake to provide them with.
“We are going to assist DICON to become an outstanding military complex; so far we are happy with what we have seen and we will support them as much as we can”.
He noted that the national assembly would support the military “to make sure that our territorial integrity is secured”.
At the AFCSC, Commandant of the institution, AVM Ebenezer Alade, appreciated the committee for the visit.
He said the oversight would spur the institution to work
harder and accomplish its objectives.
According to him, the oversight visit will encourage the colleg to discharge its duties properly.
Also, the Commandant of NDA, Maj.-Gen Ibrahim Manu, appreciated the committee for its support when the academy had a security breach recently.
He assured that the academy was now more fortified, and fully focused on shaping cadets to meet international military standards and confront contemporary security challenges in the country.
On his part, the Director-General of DICON, Maj.-Gen Hassan Tafida, said the legislative support DICON needed was already in the Act passed by the national assembly.
He explained that they only needed to rebuild their production lines in line with modern dictates.
“Currently, the line we are using were installed since the 60s and now if you should consider the ‘generation one’, we are behind, because we are already in generation 12.
“You can imagine the automation, mass production and quality, therefore, upgrading is what we actually need.”
Tafida noted that partnership was also critical especially in a military industrial complex.
“The legislation will help us bring partners and work collectively to achieve successes in what we are doing, we want 100 per cent localisation.
“By the grace of God, we will achieve what President Buhari gives matching order for, we will realise it within the shortest possible time”, he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the committee inspected ongoing and completed projects at the three military institutions. (NAN)