‘New Minister Of Defence Should Review Country’s Defence Policy’
A security consultant, retired Captain Umar Aliyu speaks on the expectations and tasks before the new Minister of Defence.
In your opinion, what are the expectations and tasks before the new defence ministers?
The minister must as a matter of urgency look into three aspects of the country’s defence policy.
First, it is high time Nigeria had a defence policy review given the trend of events globally, with particular attention to Africa and the West African sub-region. Such a review must begin to see our nations strategic position on the continent and sub-region, as a concomitant to our defence policy thrust.
The last six years has indeed revealed that our position (geographic and political) on the continent and West African Sub-region need to be supported by a robust defence policy. This can only accrue with a proper and strategic analysis of geo-political trends, past and present on the continent and West Africa sub-region; If only to project the nation’s likely defence challenges in the immediate, intermediate and long-term periods.
This calls for strategic thinking and strategic-Intelligence endeavors; events within our nation and contiguous sub-regional neighbor states attests to such a need. Next is the country’s Armed Forces. A defence policy as mooted above must in principle align the Nigerian Armed Forces to its aspirations.
Given our vast geographical terrain, our defence policy must adopt a line of sight that seeks to ensure our forces become more specialized, self-contained, lean-mean fighting machines. We are blessed with an amplitude of deserts, mountains, jungles, and riverine terrains across extreme and moderate weather zones, which implies our three arms of service must, as a rule, have their own organic specialist units that can operate within such terrains.
As of today, military units domiciled in these locations can begin to transform into specialized warfare roles as dictated by their host environment and terrain. We could take a cue from the Russian Armed Forces who have winter and desert specialist Armies; two extreme weather and terrain types.
In line with the Commander-in-Chief’s desire to see our nation become self-sustaining weapons wise, the minister of defence must take a discerning interest in our Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON)
Nigeria cannot afford to rely solely on foreign assistance and handouts to defend her territorial space. That in itself comes with a degree of vulnerability. I am particularly excited about the DICON and the Presidents resolve to rev it up because I know that our Nation is pregnant with mineral resources, that properly explored and utilized, can drive our journey to manufacture our own weapons successfully.