BY CHIBUZOR EMEJOR
Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of Science and Technology, has challenged Nigerian military to stop seeking foreign assistance in the bid to conquer terrorism in the country, but rather look inwards for solutions.
Onu, who gave the charge on Thursday in Abuja when the Chief of Air Staff, Sadiq Abubabakar, paid a courtesy visit to him, said no nation can give the best equipment, arms and ammunition to another country to combat terrorism.
Onu who described Boko Haram terrorism in Nigeria as “the unusual form of warfare” however acknowledged the concerted efforts of the Nigerian military to protect the territorial integrity of Nigeria as well as rid the country of all forms of insurgency.
He pointed that during the last administration that Nigeria had gone to foreign countries in search of arms and ammunition to purchase, to the chagrin of the country; it was not able to purchase them even with the money it took along.
According to him, “I want to commend you for all you have been doing as the Chief of Air Staff.I have seen the recent innovation work you have brought to the Air Force.
“I want to urge you to continue. We cannot continue to rely on foreigners to make our military strong.
“I believe Nigeria has everything it takes to become self-reliant, even to play a leading role in the world.Nigeria is a great nation. We need to support our military.
“We want our military to look inwards. We can never be at the top, if we keep relying on others.
“This is because no nation will give you their best. If we look inwards, you will be surprised that some of our problems will be solved.
“We cannot keep on going outside to ask for assistance, we have seen the tremendous disadvantage.
“Not many years ago, when we really needed weapons to combat insurgency in the North East, we even carried cash to buy them, those nations refused.”
He assured that his ministry would assist the military in every ramification to realise their set goals, adding that agencies under the supervision of the ministry would work with the military to use research and development to meet national needs.
Earlier, Sadiq Abubakar, Chief of Air Staff, said he was in the ministry to seek minister’s blessings and approval to enable Air Force to partner with agencies under the supervision of the ministry.
He said Nigerian Air Force is a highly technical service that requires partnerships of relevant agencies in the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.
He said the Air Force would soon embark on visits to the agencies under the ministry to seek their support and partnership, adding that Air Force had already signed memorandum of understanding with 15 universities across the country.
Abubakar said the Nigerian Air Force was also looking for partnerships outside the shores of Nigeria in the efforts to combat terrorism