The Minister of Defence, Lt-Gen. Aliyu Gusau (rtd.), on Thursday in Abuja inaugurated the Presidential Committee on the Review of the Nigeria National Defence Policy (NNDP).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the committee has 28 members with AVM. Mohammed Umar (rtd) as its Chairman, and Maj.-Gen. A. Adewuyi as its Vice Chairman.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Gusau said that the current National Defence Policy was promulgated in 2006.
“Since then the nation has undergone a lot of transformation in terms of developments as well as security challenges.
“There are also new developments and challenges in the global environment that had direct impact on our national defence and security.
“All these highlight the need for the review of the National Defence Policy in order to bring it in line with the new developments, emerging and anticipated threats and challenges.“
The minister drew the attention of the members to the terms of reference in the convening order and some fundamental issues for their consideration.
He said that the 1999 Constitution 14(2)(b) states that the security and welfare of the people is primary purpose of government. Section 14(2)(c) states that the participation of the people in their government shall be ensured.
He said that security embodied the defence of sovereignty, but the constitution was silent on how people should participate in defending the country.
The minister also drew the attention of the members to the mention of the Armed Forces of the Federation in Section 217(1&2) of the Constitution under the Executive, saying that it did not capture the concept of total defence which most countries had adopted.
According to him, this myopia results in the conceptualisation and implementation of the defence policy as that which affect the armed forces primarily, adding that such an idea was inconsistent with the culture of participatory democracy.
“Recent challenges suggest that the Armed Forces of Nigeria had not met the intent of the Constitution for “adequate and effective management for defence aggression, maintenance of territorial integrity and the suppression of insurrection.
“Illegality has resulted through the ad-hoc creation of armed militias to fill the gaps created by the inadequacies of official police and armed forces.
“Fresh thinking is required to create an effective policy on national defence to meet present and future challenges.
“Mere revision of existing dogma will not do; review of NNDP 2006 will benefit from inputs of experts on national security/intelligence, defence, civil society, industry, technology, and public-private partnership.“
Gusau said that reviewing the NNDP was key to effective national defence of the country.
He said that the committee members were selected based on their individual merits and competences.
He, therefore, urged them to remain committed and dedicated to their assigned tasks to be able to come up with a comprehensive and acceptable document within the stipulated period.
The minister expressed confidence that the members would justify the confidence reposed in them.
He said the committee was expected to submit 12 copies of its drafts report on the review of the NNDP to the convening authority not later than three months from the date of the inauguration.
Responding on behalf of the members of the committee, Umaru said that it was proper to carry out periodic review of the defence policy to reflect the nation’s current strategic environmental and security realities.
He assured that the committee would carry out the assignment with all seriousness, dedication and responsibility.