Nigeria’s Senate Committee of Defence has expressed concern over the present state of the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigerian (DICON) which they said has the capacity to produce all the military hardware required by the Nigerian Armed Forces.
The committee led by its Chairman, Ahmad Lawal and two other members, Lieutenant General Jeremiah Hussaini (rtd) and Usman Nafada was in Kaduna over the weekend on an oversight visit to DICON and the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA).
At the NDA, the Commandant, Major General Mohammed Ibrahim said since inception, the academy has graduate a total of 18, 467 officers. He said, “The commitment of the committee to the academy is objective and ensuring that we get most of the funds appropriated to us, show that we have support in the senate.
“We will continue to partner with all institutions to ensure we uphold the trust to wean this young men and women to uphold the security of the country. Abu Ali made us proud. NDA is sticking out to honour him, and we intend to name the open range after him. We want to make him a shining example to our cadets because he is a nationalist.
“We are tinkering with our programmes in the academy to ensure relevance, to improve on the quality of our cadets so that they can serve the country better since they put up their lives for the unity of this country.”
The commandant, who said the Non-Academic staff of the academy are also being owed N22 million, added that the feeding of cadets has remained stagnant for years even in view of economic hardship.
On his part, the Director General, DICON, Major General Bamidele Ogunkale lamented that the corporation is not at the level it ought to be saying out of the N4.9 billion appropriated to the corporation, only N969 million representing 24 per cent has been released.
While soliciting for further assistance in the 2017 budget, the DG thanked the committee for ensuring that the DICON act passed second reading and recommended that the committee request the presidency to approve the proposed DICON Act, ensure prompt release of DICON 2016 appropriation fund and an upward review of DICON over head subvention.
Responding, the chairman of the committee said, “Great countries are defined by great armed forces, so it is our duty to work with all arms of the government to ensure that NDA gets adequate funding. We feel very encouraged when we come to an organisation and see that it has been utilized well because it is not the amount of funds received but the quality of work done.”
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