The Defence Ministry on Friday further gave an insight into how the controversial $1 billion released by President Muhammadu Buhari to procure arms was expended on the purpose for which it was released while waiting for the products’ arrival about three years after.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Musa Istifanus, who stated this as a guest of honour at the Defence Industry Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) 2021 Summit in Kaduna, added that the procurement was made to address the security threats currently bedevilling the country.
According to him, those that were raising dust about the funds were doing so out of ignorance of how the funds were used for the purpose it was raised. He maintained that, “the Nigerian Government had spent N1 billion dollars in acquiring weapons for the war against the insurgency it is facing.
“Some ignorant people say that they have not seen any weapon. I know where the weapons are. They are yet to come. We paid $496millon to the American government and it is getting to three years now, the Super Tucanos are yet to arrive. Last week, we received an email that it will come on July 21”, he said.
To DICON, he said, “manpower development which you identified as one of the key points that encompasses training, is key to the success of DICON, especially where you will want to use research and development to chart the course of your success.
“The Federal Government and the Ministry of Defence looks forward to seeing DICON attain a highly productive and profitable cooperation in our collective national desire to attain self-reliance and self-sufficiency in our defence and security needs,” he said
Earlier, the Executive Vice Chairman of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), Prof M S Haruna, who was represented at the event by Dr Ibrahim Onuwo Abdulmalik, called on business giants like Aliko Dangote, Femi Otedola and others to support the Nigerian Industrial Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) for the security of their investments.
“If we have the richest man in Africa on Nigerian soil, and he’s not supporting DICON, maybe, we are not even talking to him. We are not talking to Dangote; we are not talking to Otedola and the rest of them. We must talk to them because if we are under threat of external aggressors, their investments are not safe,” he said. In an address, the new Director-General of DICON, Major General Moses Uzoh noted that concerted efforts have been made in the past to achieve the objectives of DICON especially, as it relates to the establishment of a military-industrial complex in Nigeria.
DICON was established in 1964 Act of Parliament to produce defence materials for members of the armed forces and other security agencies.