In the past four years, the Federal Government of Nigeria has allocated a staggering N231.27 billion towards the procurement of arms and ammunition, aiming to bolster the capabilities of the nation’s security agencies.
Despite this substantial investment, security challenges persist, prompting scrutiny and calls for strategic reassessment.
The Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, defended the substantial budget, highlighting the nation’s reliance on foreign purchases due to the absence of a domestic military hardware manufacturing capacity.
He explained that the funds, often perceived as substantial in naira, were significantly diminished when converted into dollars, emphasizing the high costs associated with purchasing essential military equipment.
An analysis of the Ministry of Defence and eight other armed forces’ yearly budgets from 2020 to 2022 revealed allocations of N11.72 billion, N10.78 billion, and N9.64 billion, respectively.
In 2023, an additional N47.02 billion was disbursed for arms procurement, complemented by a supplementary budget of N184.25 billion, culminating in the total expenditure of N231.27 billion.
Disturbingly, recent data indicates that N115 billion was spent on importing arms and ammunition in the first quarter of the year, surpassing figures from the preceding two years.
The escalating reliance on foreign sources for weaponry raises questions about the efficacy of the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), an agency designed to manufacture arms domestically.
Security expert Chidi Omeje expressed concern over DICON’s underperformance, stressing the urgent need for its revitalization to reduce dependency on foreign nations.
He pointed out the disparity between DICON and its international counterparts, emphasizing the imperative for the agency to contribute substantially to the country’s defense needs.
Omeje’s assertion is grounded in the belief that DICON’s transformation is crucial in addressing the nation’s security challenges, ensuring self-sufficiency in arms production, and diminishing reliance on external sources.
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