Minister Recommends Review Of Nigeria’s Defence Policy

Defence Ministry, Mansur Dan-Ali on Nigeria's Defence PolicyNigeria’s Minister of Defence, Mr Mansur Dan-Ali, is recommending a complete review of the nation’s defence policy to enable it tackle domestic security challenges the nation currently faces.

The Minister, who received the 2015 National Defence Policy Committee’s report in Abuja on Tuesday, said that the existing National Defence Policy had not been reviewed in the last 10 years.

According to him, the lack of review over the years had made it difficult for the armed forces to effectively tackle emerging threats to national security.

Mr Dan-Ali also explained that his ministry was already restructuring the armed forces to enable civilian staff undertake military training aimed at building their capacity.

The call for a review of the defence policy is coming amidst security challenges in the oil-rich nation that have affected the nation’s crude oil output.

Output had dipped in the last few months by 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.56 million bpd due to the activities of militant groups in Niger Delta.

A group that calls itself the Niger Delta Avengers has claimed responsibility for most attacks on oil installations in the region that had become peaceful after an amnesty programme in 2011.

Other splinter militant groups are springing up also seeking emancipation of the region.

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.

Defence Minister Seeks Synergy Between Ministry And Military

Defence MinistryNigeria’s Minister of Defence, Mr Mohammed Dan-Ali, says lack of synergy between his ministry and the armed forces has hampered the efficient management of the nation’s military.

Mr Dan-Ali made the observation on Tuesday at a lecture on Defence Management at the National Defence College in Abuja.

The Minister said it was imperative to introduce a reform and integration of both the military and civil component of the country’s defence system to bring about an effectiveness that is consistent with global best practices.

Of concern to the Minister is the lack of synergy between the civil and military components of Nigeria’s defence system, which, according to him, has to change for the country to be more efficient in handling its security challenges.

This belief was also shared by the Commandant of the National Defence College, Rear Admiral Samuel Alade.

Despite this identified gap between the ministry and the military, the present administration prides itself on having a better relationship with the military.

Nigeria is presently tackling Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast and resurgence of militant activities in the south-south region of the nation, where the nation’s oil wealth lies.

Nigeria’s crude oil exploration has dropped to bellow one million barrels per day, as a result of attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta region by a group that calls itself the ‘Niger Delta Avengers’. The group is seeking the independence of the region.

The group on Monday put forward conditions for negotiation with the Federal Government of Nigeria in order to end the attacks.

FG to appoint new power, defence ministers in two weeks

President Goodluck Jonathan said Wednesday  in Abuja he would forward names of replacements for ministers of defence and power immediately the Senate resumed from recess on September 22.

Jonathan made his intention known during the inauguration of two committees – the Presidential Action Committee on Power and the Presidential Taskforce on Power – saddled with the responsibility of improving power supply in the country.

“Definitely, immediately the National Assembly comes back, especially the Senate, we will clear the two vacancies (ministerial slots) that we have. They (the ministerial nominees) will get cleared and we will place people accordingly so that the Minister of Power will come up. But, in the interim, the Minister of State for Power is holding on to that,” he said.

Jonathan said with or without a Minister of Power, he decided to reconstitute the two teams because Nigerians would not be happy if the success so far recorded in power stability in the country relapsed.

“Whether the Minister of Power comes or not, we want to reconstitute the two teams because Nigerians will not be happy if we relapse and I believe that as we progress from now till December, if Nigerians can go home in December and do their parties without generators and can drive to their states without gutters on our roads stopping them, I think the rating of government will improve. So we must work hard to get to this level,” the President said.

While naming members of the two teams, Jonathan warned that he would not hesitate to sack whoever he discovered did not fit into the system.

He said, “We have done it (the reconstitution of the teams) this way because the other time when Nnaji was the Chairman, his Secretary was my SA, so there were a lot of conflicts between two of them because they say two captains cannot drive a ship.

“This time around, we just want one captain and others will work with him.

“When we look at the team, anybody that does not fit in, we will begin to weed off. The team is already working but we are only formalising it today so that everybody knows the leadership.

“If they continue to work very hard and when the minister joins them, I believe that we will continue to improve and Nigeria will know that we will not relapse.”