General Lucky Irabor, Nigeria’s chief of defense, has revealed that the country lacks the technological capacity to design and manufacture military gear for the long-term benefit of the nation. This comes despite the fact that the Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE) had previously made clear that its members, as the country’s drivers of technology and inventions, had a responsibility to contribute to the safety of citizens and their possessions. Gen. Irabor said this at the 2023 NSE Bwari Branch Annual Public Lecture, themed “National Security as a Panacea for Sustainable Economic Growth: The Role of Engineers,” in Abuja.
Gen. Irabor, who was represented by Maj. Gen. Gat Ochigbano, Director of Engineering Services at Defense Headquarters, urged the NSE to strengthen its collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation. He said that a lack of funding for research and development is holding Nigeria back from fully capitalizing on ETI in the manufacture of defense equipment to strengthen national security. As a result, the country’s armed forces have to rely heavily on imports of military gear and weapons from other countries.
Researchers, engineers urged to invest in R&D in vital defense areas.
He also believes that Nigeria’s lack of investment in research and development has hampered the country’s ability to lead in technical innovation and industrialization. Specifically, he advocated for researchers and engineers to invest heavily in research and development in vital defense areas like missile design, military vehicle engineering, marine architecture, etc. It is widely held, however, that Nigeria’s capacity to produce vessels, automobiles, and aircraft is severely limited due to a paucity of iron and steel. Nevertheless, developments in material science have provided alternates that serve the same function.
Inspector General of Police Usman Alkali Baba, in his keynote remarks, said that the vast majority of the security equipment and devices employed by law enforcement in the country were imported. Alkali, who was represented by AIG Rudolph Obe, argued that crime-prevention devices, tools, equipment, and facilities should be developed in-country to ensure the nation’s safety. Developing them domestically while considering our unique circumstances will help us better address the security threats facing our country, he added.
Engineers can support the economy by applying tech and logical thinking.
Baba stated that this should serve as a wake-up call for Nigerian engineers and the NSE, which operates as their governing body, to step up to the plate and take advantage of the many growth potential in this strategically significant industry. He explicitly states that engineers have a responsibility to create and maintain the nation’s security apparatus, including tools, gadgets, weapons, equipment, and infrastructure. However, such planning must focus on enhancing the Federal Government’s physical security policies and facilitating their implementation by security agencies.
He claims that adopting such plans will save the country from having to spend further foreign exchange on continuous importation of the equipment. Among its many advantages, it will also support the country’s economy and create employment opportunities for the growing number of unemployed youths. Thus, he urges engineers to step up to the challenge of ensuring the sustained development of the country. Tasiu Gidari-Wudal, president of the NSE, said that engineers can support the economy by applying technology and logical solutions to the country’s security problems.
Security affects a country’s ability to develop economically.
For these reasons, it is safe to say engineers play a crucial part in ensuring the efficiency of the security forces. Everyone is concerned about security because it affects a country’s ability to develop economically and socially. As the people who keep the wheels of progress turning, engineers have a special responsibility to address our security concerns by employing technological means and logical reasoning. Ijirotimi Olanrewaju, Chairman of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) Bwari Branch, also criticized the adverse effects of insecurity on the economy as a whole.