In the northeast, the nation has battled to contain activities of a terrorist group, Boko Haram, which is pushing for the establishment of an Islamic State and an end to Western education in the region.
The military has sacked the group from territories it occupied in the northeast, containing bombings and shootings to end the devastation that have left over two million persons displaced.
The Presidential Committee on the review of the National Defence Policy is seeking the cooperation and input of Nigerians in the process of reviewing the nation’s National Defence Policy.
According to the Committee, the review has become imperative especially in the face of current changes in the countries security landscape and the world at large which have direct impact on the nation’s defence.
Chairman of the Committee, Air Vice Marshal Umar Mohammed (Rtd), Issues to be considered include national interest ,management of national security resources, education and training to meet contemporary security challenges, evolving civil –military relations.
Others are citizen participation in national defence and total defence concepts and practice.
The National Defence Policy was promulgated in 2006 ,long before the current security challenges confronting Nigeria
The new 28-member presidential committee, headed by retired Air Vice Marshal Mohammed, also called for inputs from experts on national security, defense, civil society, industry and technology.
The committee is to submit 12 copies of its draft report not later than three months from date of its inauguration.
Mohammed said it was proper to carry out periodic review of the defense policy to reflect current strategic environment and security realities, given the internal and global security challenges Nigeria faces as a nation.
Nigeria is battling a five-year insurgency by the Boko Haram, which first emerged in the early 2000s preaching against alleged government misrule, corruption and adoption of western education in the Nation’s educational curriculum.
In recent months, the group has captured numerous towns and villages in Nigeria’s northeastern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.
The Nigerian government is reviewing its National Defence Policy to cope with the threats of extremism and terrorism, a government official said on Monday.
Delivering a speech at the 2014 Annual Defence Attache Conference in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, the Minister of Defence, General Aliyu Gusau (Rtd), told military personnel that the emerging global and local security landscape had made it imperative for Nigeria to overhaul its security and defence architecture.
The Minister further stressed that the National Defence Policy review would touch on training of personnel, military equipment overhaul, intelligence gathering and other relevant areas that would help the military tackle insurgency in the north-east.
“It is time for Nigeria to re-strategise and bridge the intelligence gap in tackling terrorism.
“Nigeria should re-engineer her defence and security posture to cope with the threats,” he said.
After Monday’s meeting, the Chief of Defence Intelligence, Rear Admiral Gabrial Okoi, told reporters that the military would continue to re-strategise and explore better ways of carrying out their duties.
A Public Affairs Analyst, Emma Addo, on Friday said that the ambition of the new Minister of Defence, Aliyu Gusau, to have total control over the entire security apparatus of the nation would not work as the Nigerian Armed Forces Act and the National Defence Policy have defined his roles.
He also said that the ensuing power play between Gusau and the Service Chiefs was “normal” as “people are bound to want to flex muscles and lay the ground rules.”
Although, Mr. Addo, who was speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, admitted that the new developments were not welcomed considering the security situation in the country, he, however, opined that “what has happened is normal” and would not affect the on-going battle against the Boko Haram insurgency.
Rumours that the Defence Minister had resigned filtered into the public domain following his absence at a Security Council meeting as a result of a disagreement with the Service Chiefs, which the Presidency debunked. Mr.Addo was of the opinion that the “the new minister is an old hand who we started hearing about from 1983 when General Buhari came to power. So, I think he has a long history”, adding that Gusau’s pedigree may have threatened the composure of the Service Chiefs.
Addo also mentioned that information in the public domain revealed that Gusau had asked the President to allow him be in charge of the entire Force just as Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the Coordinating Minister of Finance. However, “the military is a different ball game,” he added.
“There’s just no way it’s going to work out. If it works out for Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, it’s not going to work out for you.
“You see, the whole problem with this military thing is Gusau is course 3 and the new service chiefs and the CDS are course 21, 21, 23, 24. So from the word go, I think there was going to be problem.”
He went further to say “Gusau asking to be in total control of the Military is informed by one fact – that the North believes that they’ve not had a fair deal” in terms of position.
Addo also did not rule out the possibility of an attraction to personal gains as he suggested that Gusau may also want to reap the benefits of such influence, including the power to “vet appointments” and “vet contracts.”
Although the Minister In Charge of Defence oversees policy making, the CDS is in charge of the day to day affairs of the Force and the Service Chiefs, his subordinates. “If you look at all those put together, I am not too sure the military high commanders are wrong.”
Addo, however, allayed fears that the political struggle would affect the fight against the insurgents. “I think the military boys are doing their job and it’s the political aspect of it that’s playing out.”