ACTIVITIES OF THE HONOURABLE MINISTER OF STATE FOR DEFENCE IN HIS FIRST 100 DAYS IN OFFICE - APRO TV

ACTIVITIES OF THE HONOURABLE MINISTER OF STATE FOR DEFENCE IN HIS FIRST 100 DAYS IN OFFICE

ACTIVITIES OF THE HONOURABLE MINISTER OF DEFENCE IN HIS FIRST 100 DAYS IN OFFICE

The Honourable Minister of State for Defense (HMOSD) within his first few months in office has been involved in and supervised several significant activities within Nigeria’s defense units. 

Through strategic initiatives and leadership, the defence capabilities of the Armed Forces of Nigeria have been advanced to address various challenges.

ARMED FORCES OF NIGERIA

Since his assumption of office, the Minister of Defense has conducted inspections of various foreign facilities contracted to produce defense equipment for the Armed Forces of Nigeria. 

The HM has ensured that the contractors have fast-tracked the delivery of defense equipment and increased transparency as well as accountability in defense spending. Details of some of the equipment currently being produced at various foreign facilities for the AFN include:

  1. Army –  TB2 drones (Turkey).
  2. Navy – OPV 76 vessels (Turkey).
  3. Air Force – Qty 6 x T129 ATAK Helicopters. Two out of 6 have been delivered to the Nigerian Air force on 1 November 2023 (Turkey).

NIGERIAN NAVY

The HMOSD has played a pivotal role in strengthening crude oil production by providing strategies on the monitoring of the Nigerian maritime space and directing the Nigerian Navy on increasing its maritime patrols in the back waters and high seas. This has ultimately resulted in increased crude oil production within the last 3 months. In July 2023, crude oil production was pegged at 1.08 million barrels per day. However, September 2023 saw a significant increase in production crude oil to 1.72 million barrels per day.

 

   Leaning on the HMOSD’s strict policy on building collaborations, the Nigerian Navy and other maritime stakeholders have jointly improved synergy in maritime surveillance; thus, optimally utilizing existing maritime surveillance structure such as Falcon Eye and Regional Maritime Awareness Capability. This has further reduced oil theft, piracy, hijacking and robbery at sea. Accordingly, Nigeria is currently ranked as the second largest producer of crude by OPEC in its latest ranking.

DEFENCE INDUSTRIAL CORPORATION OF NIGERIA

The HMOSD facilitated the passage of the Defense Industrial Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) Bill of 2023 which was assented to by Mr. President in November, 2023. The DICON has the mandate to operate, maintain and control factories for manufacturing, storage, and disposal of ordnance. Consequent upon approval, the bill will open up DICON to various joint production of military hardware with various foreign defense industries.

As the Minister supervising DICON, the HMOSD is facilitating significant reforms in the industry to enhance production. Accordingly, DICON has been directed to increase production of Small Arms and Light Weapons through partnership with indigenous companies to assemble and maintain high caliber weapons for the AFN. The impact of these reforms would lead to reduction in production timeline, reduce defense spending and foster public trust. 

MILITARY PENSION BOARD

The Military Pension Board, which is supervised by the HMOSD is mandated to provide financial advice and retirement benefits to veterans for the AFN. Accordingly, the HMOSD through his principle of strategic collaboration and consequent liaison with the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs keyed into Mr. President’s palliative scheme for the vulnerable. 

The HMOSD’s objective is to ensure the continuous inclusion of the families of deceased members of the AFN in the palliative scheme through cash transfers, soft loans, and grants to enable beneficiaries live comfortably even in retirement.

 

DEFENCE HEALTH MAINTENANCE LIMITED

The HMOSD initiated a sponsored meeting with AFN veterans. The meeting was aimed at enlightening veterans on the benefits of the Defense Health Maintenance Scheme. A total of 29 veterans from 14 veteran groups from across the country were in attendance. During the meeting, it was made known that about 110,000  military retirees have been enrolled into the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), and enrollment is still ongoing. The HMOSD further authorized a quarterly meeting between DHML stakeholders and AFN veterans. This would serve as a medium to regularly address pertinent issues with respect to the health management of veterans.

Stemming from resolutions from the meeting, the HMOSD has begun sourcing for additional funding for military health care services despite the various competing needs of the Ministry. This would ensure proper insurance coverage for all military personnel and improve the management of the health insurance scheme.

DEFENCE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY 

The HMOSD being the supervising Minister of the Defense Intelligence Agency is working with stakeholders to develop a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy for the defense sector.

The cybersecurity strategy will effectively protect critical defense infrastructure, mitigate cyber threats and will ensure the integrity of sensitive defense information. This will safeguard national security and prevent potential disruptions or breaches in the defense network.

DEFENCE SPACE AGENCY

The Defense Space Agency is mandated to facilitate and implement Defense security aspect of the National Space Policy. In line with this policy, The HMOSD is championing the initiative to promote local content within the defense sector. Accordingly, the HMOSD has continuously supported Defense Space Agency in hunting potential local investors.

This has helped revive the concept of ingenuity; thus, promoting the employment of indigenous contents in the country.

ALLIANCES AND PARTNERSHIPS

One of the Minister’s key drivers is forging profitable cooperation, alliances and partnership that would be beneficial to the defense sector and the Nation at large. Accordingly, the Minister chaired a meeting with representatives of the Danish Embassy on October 31, 2023, to discuss opportunities to expand the longstanding partnership between Nigeria and Denmark in Maritime Security.

The HMOSD has also facilitated the formation of the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Task Force. He further enabled the appointment of a Nigerian Navy officer as Task Force Commander and ensured the headquarters of the task force is domiciled in Nigeria.

The HMOSD recently chaired a joint meeting between the Governor of Borno State, representatives of the Ministry of Defense and the United Nation Mine Action Service (UNMAS). As a fall out of the meeting, the Governor of Borno State has designated and approved a building in Maiduguri, Borno State as headquarters for Mine Action Centre and Improvised Explosive Devices.

Through these diplomatic shuttles, negotiations and collaborative defense agreements, the Nation is gradually forging stronger alliances and partnerships while facilitating information sharing, joint exercises and coordinated responses to regional and global security challenges.

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