Insecurity: Presidential panel seeks Reps’ support for defence, armed forces reforms

The Presidential Implementation/Advisory Committee for the reform of the Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces of Nigeria to tackle the present trend of insecurity in the country has called for the support of the House of Representatives to achieve the task before it.

Chairman of the Presidential Panel, Alwari Kazir, a retired Army Major General made the call at an advocacy visit to the joint House Committe on Defence at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja on Wednesday.

Kazir said the way Nigerian Armed Forces are organized, trained, equipped and managed by the Ministry of Defence was based on the need to confront conventional threats and not the emerging security challenges, hence the reform of the country’s defence and security architecture is imperative.

“Today in effect, the Ministry of Defense and the Armed Forces of Nigeria need to be properly organized, structured, manned with the required mix of military and civilian personnel as is the global best practice in almost all countries, especially developed countries.

“Reforming the Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces of Nigeria will also ensure that we have an Armed Forces that is affordable for the national economy while sufficient in size, structure, training and equipment to respond effectively to both conventional and asymmetric warfare.

“The need to re-position the Armed Forces of Nigeria to meet its national and international obligations particularly at this time when a myriad of security challenges are confronting our country is apt and timely. It is in the consequences of the foregoing that the Minister of Defence provided a memo to the President informing him of the need to carry out a comprehensive reform of the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces of Nigeria.

“Sequel to the approval of the CinC, the Minister set up the reform committee which sat for three months and submitted its report with far reaching recommendations. It is our belief that that report has reached the Chairman of the House committee on Defence,” he said.

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Kazir said the visit was to inform lawmakers of what it has done so far and to solicit their support and wise counsel towards assisting the Committee to successfully implement some of the key recommendations that will affect the structure, roles, functions and management of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and the Ministry of defence.

In his remarks, Chairman of the House Committee on Defence, Babajimi Benson lamented the myriad of security challenges plaguing the country which have heightened the despair, pain and hardship experienced by our people, stressing that nobody is safe anymore.

“As representatives of the people, we are always at the receiving end of the effects of insecurity on our people hence our determination to continually promote good governance through the safety of lives and property and in an accountable and transparent manner.

“Indeed, with the many security challenges facing Nigeria today, all stakeholders have a duty to do everything possible to contribute ideas and actions that will lead to solutions needed to secure the lives and properties of Nigerians as encapsulated in Section 14 (2)(b) of our Constitution which states that: ‘The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government’.

“It is pertinent to mention that the House of Representatives is deeply concerned about reforms in the defence sector. We believe that it is clearly one of the ways to improve the security architecture of the country. It is in the light of this that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila set up a committee to organise a National Security Summit with a view to conducting a holistic legislative review of the National Security Policy,” Benson said.

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