By Sumaila Ogbaje
Abuja, April 27, 2021 The Minister of Defence, retired Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi, has assured that the planned reform of the nation’s armed forces would enhance their operational efficiency and fighting power.
Magashi stated this at the submission of the report by the committee set up to facilitate the reform of the Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces of Nigeria on Tuesday in Abuja.
He said the 21-man committee was set up in February, to make far reaching recommendations that would address the identified factors that had impeded efficiency in the nation’s defence system.
He said that most of impeding factors were mainly structural while others bordered on lack of synergy among the institutions and services.
According to him, it is in realisation of these challenges and in line with Mr President’s intent that this ministry undertook the novel project.
He said that the project aimed at repositioning the armed forces for improved performances in the discharge of our constitutional mandates.
“I am therefore pleased to hear that the Committee made far reaching and innovative recommendations particularly on the issues on integrated logistics support to minimise wastages in the procurement process.
“It is also gladdening that the Committee made a suggestion bordering on issues of command and control as it concerns the leadership role of the Chief of Defence Staff.
“I am equally delighted on the proposal that the Federal Government should convoke a comprehensive security sector reform to address the deficiencies inherent in the Nigeria Police and other para-military agencies,” he said.
Magashi said that a well reformed Police Force and other para-military agencies would be better positioned to lead internal security operations in the country.
He expressed the hope that the recommendations would further enhance the fighting power of the military and boost the morale of troops to comprehensive put an end to all forms of insecurity in the land.
The minister assured that the ministry would carefully look at the recommendations with a view to implementing them for the betterment of all Nigerians.
He added that the ministry would display the needed moral courage to implement the recommendations contained in the report.
He also commended the committee for their dedication to the task of ensuring the commencement of reforms in the defence sector.
The Chairman of the Committee, retired AVM Mohammed Umaru, said the current security challenges were occasioned by the proliferation of small arms and light weapons as well as violent extremism.
Umaru said that the prevailing situation had drawn the armed forces into internal security operations and taken lead instead of the police.
According to him, if the dire situation of the police and policing is not addressed, the AFN will remain standing on our streets for a long time which is not good for the image of the profession of arms.
He said the committee made about 70 recommendations and urged the ministry and the armed forces to ensure comprehensive implementation.
According to him, to facilitating the implementation of these recommendations, it is expected that the minister of defence would ensure implementation of the report.
“The fact that war changes its character with time calls for urgent action to deal with fluctuating situations.
“Legislative processes to correct some of the observed deficiencies would be needed while a holistic security reform will be required to ensure a Whole-of-Government and All-of-Citizens approach to combating the emergent ills of the society.
“In order words, comprehensive approaches are needed involving the military and civilian expertise.
“A major underlying consideration was the need to check the quality of personnel being recruited into the system, the type of education and training they receive as well as their welfare and equipment,” he said.
By Sumaila Ogbaje