Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike has challenged the Federal Government on the need to strengthen the combat capability of the nation’s Army.
The governor said the goal of such investment should be to make the Nigerian Army the strongest and the best in Africa.
Governor Wike gave the challenge while delivering a keynote address at the Nigerian Army Combat Support Arms Training Week 2021 christened COSAT WEEK 2021, in Port Harcourt, on Tuesday.
The governor spoke on the theme of the event entitled: “Building capacity of the combat support arms towards optimising the utilisation of indigenous technology in support of Nigerian Army operations.”
According to Governor Wike, there should be increased commitment to national defence with robust security budgetary allocation that will engender adequate mobilisation of resources to support the implementation of strategic initiatives in developing indigenous defence technology.
“All over the world, countries are rapidly modernizing their armies, increasing their weapon systems lethality and strengthening the efficiency and combat readiness in response to the increasingly changing nature of the modern times battlefields.
“Nigeria cannot be different if we are interested in having a military force that can easily deter external aggression, meet our international and regional military objectives as well as defeat internal insurrections and existential threats to national security.
“Our national strategic goal in this regard therefore, should be, to create and have an entirely self-reliant defence industrial sector that is driven substantially by local technological inputs that meet the needs for assembling modern military weaponry, equipment, including missiles and other combat capabilities.
“Nothing should therefore be spared by the federal government to build the most modern and strongest army in Africa and restore our country and the black race to the position of strength, pride, and prosperity.”
Governor Wike noted that the Nigerian Army, since its formation, has worked so hard with other components of the armed forces, to defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and internal security of Nigeria.
According to Governor Wike, aside the challenges of political crisis of the first republic, the 30-months needless civil war that would have made Nigeria relics of history, Boko Haram has remained a huge threat over a decade now.
“Consequently, countries whose superior military technology are better placed to outperform others, and win the battle than others who do not have and have to depend on the support from the advanced countries.
“Unfortunately, Nigeria is among the countries that are currently lagging behind advancements in science, technology, and innovation.”
Speaking further, Governor Wike asserted that the quality, operational capacity and competence of Nigerian Armed Forces is contingent on the ability to provide impregnable fortress and safeguard to the sovereignty, security, development and the interest of Nigeria.
He said that as a government, great satisfaction is taken in the presence of the army in Rivers State defending the foundations of Nigeria, the nation’s democracy, securing lives and property similar to what they do across the country.
“That is why we have always been available to render whatever support we can give to advance the professional capability of the armed forces to perform its external and internal constitutional duties, both within and outside Rivers State.
“As a matter of fact, the 11 new armoured-plated gun boats we recently committed to procuring for the army and navy formations in the State are underway.
“We will soon invite the Chiefs of Army and Naval Staff to come over and take physical possession of these boats as part of our contributions to strengthen their offensive and defensive operations capabilities on our waterways.”
Declaring the COSAT WEEK 2021 open, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Farouk Yahaya said the training week is an avenue for participants to brainstorm and re-strategise towards providing effective support to all operations of the Nigerian Army.
According to him, one of the key enablers to the recorded success in their operations is the undaunted support of the Combat Support Arms in providing effective counter-insurgent operations in the North East as well as other operations across the country.
“I am glad to observe that the significant progress made by the Combat Support Arms in patronising local vendors. A case in point is the domestication of production of some of our equipment currently deployed for operational use.
“This, alongside other innovations and inventions, has further enhanced the Nigerian Army’s capacity and capability at defeating the adversary.”
In his welcome address, the Corps Commander Signal, Major General Abiodun Owolabi expressed optimism that the 2021 Combat Support Arms Training Week will contribute significantly to achieving the vision of the Chief of Army Staff’s vision of building a professional Army that is ready to accomplish assigned missions within a joint environment in the defence of Nigeria.