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AU Condemns Exorbitant Military Spending In Fight Against Conflict, Terrorism

“We’re discussing with many African countries…so that we can be able to produce high level defence equipment in Africa,” said Nigeria’s Defence Minister Badaru.

The African Union (AU) has flayed the menace of conflicts which have weighed down the continent’s growth with terrorism destroying some of the states and reversing priorities through increase in exorbitant military spending at the expense of vital social sectors.  

Chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, who spoke on Saturday at the opening of the 37Th Ordinary session of the body holding in Addis Ababa, also highlighted the absence of peace, political and institutional instability, poverty, climate change and deficit in economic governance amongst others as sources of concern to the people.  

He lamented that conflict, violence and the decline of great principles have, unfortunately, taken over humility, peace and the nobility of the founding values of human civilisation.  

On his part, Nigeria’s Minister of Defence, Mohammed Badaru, has expressed the readiness of the country to leverage the AU summit in Addis Ababa, to consolidate on partnership with its neighbours and  member-states to give the citizens a sense of safety on the continent.

Badaru, who spoke to newsmen after he arrived Addis Ababa, the summit venue, said Nigeria is also poised to end the menace of terrorism, and insurgency that has continued to trouble the West African Country. 

According to him: “As, as you are aware, peace and security of the continent is very important at this summit and Nigeria being faced by terrorism and insurgency will really look at possible areas of collaborations with both AU and member-states. 

“In particular, we are discussing with many African countries in building our defense industries, so that we can be able to produce high level defense equipments in Africa, basically in Nigeria also.” 

The Minister hinted that Nigeria will during the summit, also bring to the table and see how the AU standby force could be improved. 

“It is really very important and we are looking at ways to see how the AU standby force can improve and can be active so that we can together as Africa work towards lasting peace and the agenda of silence in the guns by 2030.

Shedding light on the planned collaboration with neighbouring countries, Badaru said: “as you are aware, we are the main force behind those joint collaborations, and Nigeria has been the biggest force around, and it is doing its best around the area to make sure that we continue with operations. 

“You know we normally have joint operations around the lake chad to clear it of bandits and that is what is going to happen. We are planning the operations jointly with participating countries. And that will come up I think, in eight months from now also.

 “With the countries that are willing to work with us, soon you will see the clearance of lake chad taking place also in collaboration with other countries, and will continue to collaborate and we’ll continue to look at our regional interests”.

The Minister also stressed the need for security agencies in Nigeria to step up and improve intelligence gathering and surveillance to end the prevailing insecurity in the country.  

He said the military cannot do it alone, covering every length and breadth of the country without intelligence supply made available by the citizens so as to neutralise criminal orchestrations at their infancy by elements in the society.  

His words: “You see, it is basically the improvement in intelligence and surveillance. Because Nigeria is big. You cannot cover Nigeria with boots, with every piece of land to be covered by the military.

“So, intelligence and surveillance will provide us with active data and coordinates on possible security challenge and how to handle it and stop it”.

He, however, assured that the authorities will not leave any stone unturned to ensure that citizens sleep with their eyes closed. 

“We are improving drastically on our intelligence gathering and surveillance,” Badaru further stressed.

Deji Elumoye in Abuja 

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