AFRICANGLOBE – Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari directed the country’s defense ministry to work toward local production of weapons, a step that appears to be in response to the West’s reluctance to sell weapons to Nigeria that it says are needed in the fight against Boko Haram.
“We must evolve viable mechanisms for near-self-sufficiency in military equipment and logistics production complemented only by very advanced foreign technologies,” Buhari said on Friday at a ceremony of the National Defense College in Abuja. “The Ministry of Defense is being tasked to draw up clear and measurable outlines for the development of a modest military industrial complex for Nigeria.”
Buhari said that Nigeria’s overdependence over the years on foreign countries for critical military equipment and logistics is “unacceptable.”
Nigeria has repeatedly lamented the refusal of western nations, especially the United States and Britain, to sell arms to the country, citing false allegations ofhuman rights abuses and extrajudicial killings.
In June, Amnesty International released a report that said that senior Nigerian army officers may have been complicit in war crimes committed against Boko Haram suspects.
Attacks by Boko Haram have spiked in recent weeks, with over 400 people killed across the northern region since Buhari assumed the presidency on May 29.