The presidency has ordered immediate arms procurement of critical equipment for the armed forces in line with the Federal Government policy of purchasing such items from the original manufacturers on government-to- government basis.
The president also directed the enhancement of the welfare of troops, particularly those serving in operational areas within the country, Guardian reports.
Minister of Defence, Mansur Muhammad Dan-Ali who disclosed this yesterday during a meeting with the service chiefs at the he Ship House, Headquarters of Ministry of Defence, ordered the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, to relocate to the North East pending when the security situation improves.
He also directed the General Officer Commanding the 8 Division, Nigerian Army to relocate his tactical headquarters from Sokoto to Gusau, Zamfara State to oversee the conduct of Operation Sharan Dahi.
The minister mandated the chief of defence staff and Buratai to effect changes in the operational commands of Operations Delta Safe in the Niger Delta, Lafiya Dole in the North East, Sharan Dahi in Zamfara and Katsina states and Awatse in the South West. Dan-Ali said the changes were to enable them meet up with the current threats and security challenges in their areas of responsibility.
The directives came as a pro-democracy organisation, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) said the special forces of the army fighting in the ongoing counter insurgency in the northeast needed special weapons to fight the Boko Haram terrorists.To this end, the group urged the National Assembly to pass a legislative framework which will make funding of the defence sector as a first line charge to ensure efficient and effective roles by the military to stabilize national security.
HURIWA lamented that the $1billion said to have been taken from the escrow account was yet to drop at the Defence Ministry, wondering why the government could allow bureaucratic bottlenecks to slow down the process of releases and utilization of fund for the prosecution of the ongoing war against terrorists.
The group also canvassed the creation of what it calls ‘War budgets’ and the time line for national security objectives that must be achieved by a particular set of service chiefs, and a specified tenure so that other competent professional and combat-tested and trusted military generals are appointed to replace the serving military chiefs so the counter terror war does not become a commercially viable sector to be used by them for personal aggrandizement.
These were contained in a statement signed by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and National Media Director Miss Zainab Yusuf.