‘Us Military in Nigeria to Revamp Armed Forces’

By Collins Edomaruse, This Day (Lagos), 10 July 2001

Abuja—The United States' team of military experts is in Nigeria to help revamp the nation's armed forces, the Minister of Defence, Lt.-Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (rtd.), said yesterday in Abuja while declaring open a three-day workshop on “strategic planning and budgeting for Defence.”

Danjuma, who was represented at the occasion by the Minister of State in the ministry in charge of the Air Force, Mr. Dan Chuke, said the collaboration between Nigeria and the United States was in tandem with the federal government's vision of an ideal military in a democracy.

He expressed dissatisfaction with the level of decay in the armed forces at the inception of the present administration following the long years of military involvement in politics and said “the present administration, since inception, has been advocating and emphasising on revamping the military to enable it attain professionalism, physical and mental fitness, and be in position to play its constitutional roles under a democratic dispensation.”

“To this end, he said, a number of steps have been taken particularly the invitation of a team of experts from Military Professional Resource Incorporated (MPRI), USA, which has the mission of assessing the developing an action plan along two main lines including:

  • the re-establishment of effective civilian oversight of the Nigerian armed forces; and
  • the reprofessionalisation of the Nigerian armed forces.
  • He, therefore, assured Nigerians of government's determination and capability to revamp the military for the benefit of every Nigerian,

    He also expressed enthusiasm that: “one of the MPRI experts is serving as a resource person in the workshop with a view to sharing with you the American experience in the area of civil-military relations, strategic long-term planning, and military budget defence in the US Congress.”

    Besides, he implored participants at the workshop to seize the opportunity of the exercise to know more about defence budgeting procedures and implementation in US and ascertain if it could be effectively and beneficially adopted in Nigeria.

    Danjuma also reminded the participants of the importance government attached to the workshop and said it was determined to put behind it the incidents of reckless spending by its officials. “Government is stressing the need for strict compliance with financial regulations and relevant extant circulars in the award of contracts such that projects proposed for implementation align with government policy in the sector concerned,” he said.