By FEMI OGUNSHOLA
ABUJA- The House of Representatives Committee on Defence has summoned heads of security agencies in the country over their refusal to buy arms and ammunition from the Defence Industry Corporation of Nigeria (DICON).
Rep. Taofeek Ajilesoro (PDP-Osun) moved the motion when the Director-General, DICON, Maj.-Gen. Hassan Tafida, appeared before the committee to defend the 2022 budget performance and 2023 budget proposal.
Tafida had accused other security agencies of not patronising DICON for purchase of arms and ammunitions from the corporation, adding that they rather preferred to go outside to buy.
This according to him is because there is no law stopping or compelling them from purchasing arms and ammunition from DICON.
“It is that perception that we cannot provide all the things they need, so they go outside and the law did not restrict them from going outside. So these are some of the things that need to be corrected.
“This is why DICON must wake up from the status it was to a new status. We are making effort to ensure that the military industrial complex is a reality in Nigeria,” he said.
He said others in the private sector were already coming in and building factories, stressing that producing the Armoured Personnel Carriers and also going into production of weapons and ammunition was essential.
He said all that was needed to be put in place was the country’s own home grown technology, saying, “if you wait to transfer technology from anywhere, you would not get it so we have to start producing ours”.
Rep. Babajimi Benson, the Chairman of the committee, said there was need to first source arms and ammunition locally before going outside.
He said the lawmakers would give it a legal tooth compelling all security agencies to buy arms and ammunitions from DICON.
“We can give it more legal teeth to ensure that it’s a law, I believe the way it should go is to ensure that we produce more arms locally as much as possible and also look at the possibility of enforcing it.
“ This is because we do not see why it is only the Army that is patronising DICON, the Air force and Navy should also as a matter of urgency patronise DICON.
“And by this, we will save foreign exchange, we will improve our local technology and our youths will have some forms of jobs. (NAN)