The House of Representatives has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to release N3 billion for the immediate commencement of local production of ﬁrearms and ammunition to combat insecurity in the country.
The House said that the amount should be released to Defence Industries Corporation, DICON, Kaduna, and the National Metallurgical Development Centre, NMDC, Jos, to produce arms locally.
The resolution was sequel to the unanimous adoption of a motion by Rep. Ibrahim Halims (APC-Kogi) at the plenary on Monday in Abuja.
Moving the motion earlier, Halims identified insecurity as the greatest challenge facing the country, saying that parliament needed to come up with innovative legislative input to check it because of its negative effects on the socio-economic well-being of the country.
The rep said that such input had become imperative to enable the Executive arm of government to surmount the daunting challenge, especially given the fact that efforts by the government to import arms and ammunitions from some western countries were often unsuccessful.
“This is a clarion call for us to look inward with a view to harnessing our abundant human and material resources to commence full local production of arms and ammunitions, to meet our immediate needs and further drive our local content initiative.
“Recall that DICON, through the local content initiative, produced a military vehicle called Ezeugwu MRAP (Mine Resistance Ambush Protected) which was commissioned by President Buhari.
“Today, it is being deployed in the battleﬁeld in Borno with confirmed efﬁcacy, and preference is being given to it by our soldiers; compared to the imported version, which cost more.
“There is already an existing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between these two important agencies of government – DICON and NMDC – with the view to achieving this objective.
“Therefore, the need for this legislative input. The beneﬁts accruable to our country through this initiative will be enormous and indeed unquantiﬁable,” he said.
Halims said the collaboration between the two agencies would boost research and promote self-reliance in the local production of arms and other military equipment.
According to him, efficient local production of arms will conserve foreign exchange, ensure wealth creation and provide employment opportunities for youths, as well as aid security agencies to effectively combat crimes and criminality.
The green chamber resolved that a special team of professionals from DICON and NMDC to be involved in the proposed partnership, be set up for the immediate take-off of the pilot project with the mandate to start production within one year.
Speaker of the House, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, mandated the Committee on Defence to coordinate the agencies of government involved and ensure compliance.