ABUJA (AA) – Nigeria announced on Thursday a 28-member presidential committee to review its national defense policy for the first time since 2006 as part of efforts to tackle the festering Boko Haram insurgency.
“Recent challenges suggest that the armed forces of Nigeria have not met the intent of the constitution for adequate and effective arrangements for defense against aggression, maintenance of territorial integrity and the suppression of insurrection,” said Defense Minister Aliyu Gusau.
He noted that the current national defense policy was formed in 2006 and needed review since the nation has undergone a lot of transformation in terms of development as well as security challenges.
The minister cited new developments and challenges in the global environment that have direct impact on the country’s national defense and security.
He said the review was needed in order to bring the policy in line with the new developments, emerging and anticipated threat and challenges.
The new 28-member presidential committee is headed by retired Air Vice Marshal Mohammed Nda Umaru.
They will benefit from inputs from experts on national security, defense, civil society, industry and technology.
The committee is to submit 12 copies of its draft report not later than three months from date of its inauguration.
Umaru said it was proper to carry out periodic review of the defense policy to reflect current strategic environment and security realities, given the internal and global security challenges Nigeria faces as a nation.
He assured Nigerians that they will carry out their assignment with all seriousness, dedication and a high sense of responsibility.
Nigeria is battling a five-year insurgency by the Boko Haram, which first emerged in the early 2000s preaching against government misrule and corruption.
The group became violent after the killing of its leader in 2009 while in police custody.
In the five years since, Boko Haram has been blamed for numerous attacks and thousands of deaths.
In recent months, the group has captured numerous towns and villages in Nigeria’s northeastern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, declaring them part of an “Islamic caliphate.”
Along with Nigeria, Turkey and the US have both designated Boko Haram a terrorist organization.
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