A remark by Mansur Dan-Ali delivered at a Town Hall Meeting in Maiduguri
I wish to state that the Ministry of Defence and indeed the Armed Forces of Nigeria have recorded remarkable success during the period under review particularly in the area of degrading the Boko Haram Terrorists in the North-East. Also, there have been significant reduction in insecurity and criminalities in the Niger Delta and other parts of the country. The political commitment and support of President Muhammadu Buhari gave boost to the key successes recorded by the Military against insurgency and insecurity in the country.
Our gallant troops of the Armed Forces have successfully degraded the capacity of the Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East. Currently, no Nigerian territory is under the control of the Boko Haram Terrorists. So far we have freed over 30 thousand persons mainly women and children held hostage by the terrorists.
The recent changes in the leadership of Theatre Command Operation LAFIYA DOLE and that of 7 Division Nigerian Army gave new direction and vigour to the operations in the North-East. Also, the regular visits to the operations Theatre by the Honourable Minister of Defence and the Service Chiefs have boosted the morale of the fighting troops and success of the operation as a whole.
It is pertinent to state that the troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE in the on-going Operation DEEP PUNCH II have inflicted heavy casualties on the Boko Haram Terrorists and routed them from their various hideouts in Sambisa forest. The troops of Nigerian Army recently destroyed the technical camp of the Boko Haram Terrorists where a number of weapons and ammunitions as well as bomb making equipment were recovered.
In a similar vein, the Nigerian Air Force has continued to bombard the Boko Haram Terrorists hideouts in Sambisa forest. Recently, the Nigerian Air Force remotely piloted aircraft successfully destroyed artillery guns and some gun trucks belonging to the Boko Haram Terrorists.
On the issue of welfare of troops and members of the Armed Forces, this administration has ensured the prompt payment of troops’ operations allowances and personnel monthly emolument.
Also, the Ministry has ensured that troops who have overstayed in the Theatre of operations are rotated and new ones inducted. However, considering the demand for troops in the recent internal operations across the Country has disturbed our rotational plan In addition, this administration has embarked on renovation and building of befitting accommodation for members of the Armed Forces in the 6 geo-political zones. Furthermore, plan for construction of 20 blocks of barracks accommodation by the Ministry of Defence is on-going to ease the problem of personnel accommodation in Abuja. It is noteworthy to state that some the gallant troops and well deserved members of the Armed Forces have been promoted to the next higher rank as a way of encouragement for their selfless service.
In its effort to improve the combat effectiveness and raise the morale of our fighting troops, this administration has procured modern equipment for the Nigerian Armed Forces. Recently, the Nigerian Army took possession of 5 units of Caterpillar 972G Armoured Mine Disposal Wheeled Loaders for demining and rehabilitation operations in the North-East. Also, the Nigerian
Navy acquired 2 new French patrol boats OCEA FPB 72 for maritime security. In a similar vein, the Nigerian Air Force recently took delivery of the final batch of Super Mushshak aircraft from Pakistan. Furthermore, the United States has presented Letters of Offer and Acceptance to Nigeria for the Sale of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft to Nigerian Air Force. The acquisition of the A-29 Super Tucano would be a game changer in the Nigerian Air Force air operations especially in the fight against Boko Haram Terrorists in the North-East.
In line with the decision of this Administration to increase the strength of the Nigerian Armed Forces towards the fight against insurgency in the North-East and tackling other national security, the Armed Forces has in the last 2 years enlisted and recruited qualified Nigerians into the Services. The Armed Forces is also engaged in various trainings of its personnel to increase its human capacity and professionalism which is aimed at facing international security situation in the Country.
It is noteworthy to state that the confidence reposed on the present administration by the international community has increase the cooperation of the Armed Forces of Nigeria with militaries of neighbouring countries and other foreign nations especially in the area of training, intelligence sharing and information management. This has led to the donation of a large assortment of military hardware by the Kingdom of Jordan to the Armed Forces of Nigeria. We have also reviewed our MOU’s with friendly countries to enhance our defence cooperation.
It is pertinent to state that a number of reforms have been carried out by the Ministry of Defence. One of the major reforms was the review of the National Defence Policy which has been approved and signed by Mr President. Also, the Armed Forces Order of Battle was recently reviewed to meet contemporary security challenges faced by the country. A number of new Divisions, Commands and Units were established to ensure that the Armed Forces adequately cover the Nigerian territorial space.
On Public Private Partnership initiative of the Ministry of Defence. Currently, the Ministry is exploring the Public Private Partnership to facilitate the development of DICON into a Military Industrial Complex. In line with this, DICON has identified 14 indigenous and foreign Defence related Industries and have consequently executed Memoranda of Understanding with them. Some of the foreign companies are MKE Defence Company and SUR International Investment Company both from Turkey while some of the local indigenous companies include PROFORCE and INNOSON. In the area of Research and Development, it is pertinent to state that Infantry Patrol Vehicles designed and manufactured by the Nigerian Army in conjunction with an indigenous company was recently commissioned. Also, the Nigerian Air Force aerospace engineers have designed and manufactured Tsaigumi Unmanned Aerial Vehicle which will assist Nigerian Air Force operations in the North-East. The Unmanned Aerial vehicle will soon be commissioned into the Service.
Recently, a seminar on civil-military relations was organised by the Ministry of Defence in Jos to enhance good working relationship between the civilian and military component of the Ministry. It is pertinent to state that the Seminar has greatly improved the working relationship between the Ministry, Defence Headquarters and the Services which hitherto see themselves as rivals.
Finally, let me state that this Government has given a special priority to security and has taken appropriate measures to tackle all security challenges in the country. The Armed Forces are currently engaged in various operations in the country. Some of the operations are Op LAFIYA DOLE, Op DELTA SAFE, Op SAFE HAVEN, Op MESA, Op IRON FENCE, Op AWATSE, Op SHARAN DAJI and Op SAFE Corridor which is specifically aimed at curbing insecurity in the 6 geo-political zones of the Nation.
*Mansur Dan-Ali is Nigeria’s Minister of Defence. He delivered the remarks at a Special Town-call Meeting in Maiduguri, Borno State