By Sumaila Ogbaje
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Faruk Yahaya, has reiterated the commitment of the Nigerian Army to develop its capacity for the local production and procurement of needed military equipment.
Yahaya, represented by the Director of Training, Army Headquarters, Maj.-Gen. Oluyemi Olatoye, stated this at the Army War College Nigeria (AWCN) Symposium on the Nigerian Civil War 2022 on Wednesday, in Abuja.
The symposium has the theme: “Defence Production and Defence Procurement in the Nigerian Civil War: Lessons for Operational Level Commanders’’.
He said that Nigeria had the sad experience of civil war that brought out valuable lessons that could contribute in addressing the current security challenges confronting the nation.
According to him, the contemporary security environment is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.
“For any nation to adequately contain such an environment, it is necessary for the nation to develop capacity for defence production in order to drastically reduce dependence.
“On defence procurement, this will afford the nation the capacity to design and produce equipment required to confront its own peculiar security challenge at any point in time.
“The inadequacy and risks of overdependence on equipment procurement abroad was aptly brought out during the civil war and Nigeria had to go searching for weapons and equipment from all parts of the world.
“This of course resulted in unnecessary prolongation of the crisis with attendant tolls on lives, property, and finances. In view of the information,’’ he said.
The COAS said the civil war experience informed the inclusion of Nigerian Civil War study in the college’s curriculum.
This, according to him, is aimed at modelling and grooming the capacities of operational level leaders in basic military strategic thinking as well as operational planning.
He said the objective was to make them result oriented in the increasingly challenging security environment in the 21st century.
He emphasised the need for joint operations among services, adding that the no stakeholders or single actors by themselves would achieve the desired success.
He commended troops for their doggedness and resilience and assured them of adequate support at all times, stating that success would surely come in no distant future.
The Commandant, AWCN, Maj.-Gen. Bamidele Alabi, said the Nigerian civil war study was introduced to equip participant with the understanding of the battlefield events and operational outcomes.
Alabi said the Nigerian army had made giant strides towards entrenching research and development with a view to enhancing its capacity in the local production of its defence requirements.
He said the theme of the symposium was selected believing that it was the sure way of ensuring the attainment and sustainment of the COAS’ vision.
“It is, therefore, envisaged that this symposium will generate arrays of views, opinions and suggestions that will contribute to the objectives of organising it.
“It is also expected to further the efforts of the COAS towards enhancing the capacity of the Nigerian army in the local production of its defence requirements.
A resource person, Prof. Husseini Jibrin, a Senior Lecturer at the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), Kaduna, said that there was the need to use the historical knowledge to apply in their operational activity.
Jibrin said that a number of military officers were being deployed to different operational areas across the country to address the current security challenges confronting Nigeria and in international peacekeeping.
He said that understanding the history of Nigerian civil war would help participants to be able to apply the knowledge in their operational areas.
Also, Dr Joel Ebute, a Faculty Member and Research Fellow, AWCN, said the symposium was designed use the lessons learnt from the civil war to be able to enhance defence production in the current security situation.
He said that had remained inevitable in human history hence the need to prepare, adding that preparation involved defence production such as arms and ammunition.
Edited by Dorcas Jonah/Isaac Aregbesola