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Senate decries paltry N2.1B budget for military weapons

The Nigerian Senate, through its Committee on Defence, on Friday, decried the paltry N2.1 billion allocated to the Defence Industrial Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) for the production of necessary military weapons for the Nigeria Army in the 2022 budget currently before the National Assembly.

Specifically, the committee, chaired by Senator Aliyu Wamakko, was angered by the poor budgetary provisions for the corporation in the next year’s budget proposal.

Director General of DICON, Major General Hassan Tafida, while defending the 2022 budget proposal of the corporation before the committee, said a total of N2.1 billion was allocated for capital expenditure.

According to Tafida, this is short of N300 million from N2.4 billion capital expenditure allocated for DICON in 2021 fiscal year.

The Director General also urged the committee to increase the overhead proposed for his agency as N250 million proposed will be grossly inadequate.

However, the committee members took turns to decry the government’s lip service in the industrial revolution as regards production of military equipment in the country.

Senator Abba Moro (PDP Benue South) said “it is unfortunate that DICON is reduced to a company that produces mere bullets when other countries that we started together like Brazil have moved on and now producing aircrafts for their military.”

He lamented that Nigeria is not ready for industrial revolution as far as production of military equipment is concerned.

But Senator Elisha Abbo (APC Adamawa) said “there is nowhere in the world where the government produces military weapons but in advanced countries, government partners with private companies to produce weapons and later buy from them.”

“It is high time the government started to encourage research and partner with indegenous companies to produce weapons for our military as it is done in some developed countries,” he added.

Senator Abbo also called on the government to stop further importation of AK 47 and in the meantime empowers DICON to start massive production of the weapon in order to move the company forward in view of the government’s huge investment in the corporation.

In his closing remarks, the chairman of the committee, Senator Wamakko assured that the legislative arm of government will do all it could to ensure that adequate funds are allocated to DICON so that it would be able carry out its mandates without any hindrance.(Dailypost)

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