With 2023 coming to an end, the Ministry of Defense demonstrated its strong resolve and commitment to overseeing an era which will usher in peace and prosperity not just to the troubled spots in the county, but the whole of the federation. This was responsible for the Participation in the World Defense Show coming up in Riyadh, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from 4-8 February 2024.
In a furtherance of the demonstration of this resolve, the Defense Ministry ensured the country is part of the event despite the short notice it was brought to its notice.
We have not missed much as a nation as this is the second edition as this year’s World Defense Show will showcase the future of defense through technological developments from around the globe and we are poised to experience a wealth of unique networking, world-class show features and dynamic demonstrations in the global defense industry. Nigeria’s presence is imperative as we cannot be left behind as the global defense landscape is witnessing significant transformations and leveraging cutting-edge technologies to strengthen capabilities. As a country grappling with security challenges, such technological transfer will help us defeat all threats to our sovereignty.
H.E Bello Muhammed Matawalle is presently in Saudi Arabia carrying the huge responsibilities of engaging in the right discussions, evaluate potentials, seek collaboration and enduring partnership for the resuscitation and repositioning of the Nigeria’s Defense industry with the Brazilian template as a guide worthy of emulation. To me, this comes as an easy peasy task for the Honourable Minister of State for Defense as he has demonstrated such capabilities while as the executive Governor of Zamfara State. It is on record that while as a governor, his collaborative efforts with the government of Niger Republic under the leadership of President Bouazum saw to the increased successes of our intelligence community and military efforts in combatting banditry in the North West region of the country as many trans border banditry kingpins were apprehended, processed and some times neutralised during military onslaught. His wealth of experience also includes his chairing the House Committee on intelligence and National Security while he was a member of the House of Representatives.
His mission to Saudi Arabia is how to improve and seek partnership towards exploring the potentials of our under utilised or say to say under explored Defense market due to our nation’s capabilities. Just like Brazil, Matawalle’s mission is to let the world know our defense market is not any different and the key sectors just like Brazil which key sectors in defense market are naval vessels and surface combatants, missiles and missile defense systems, military fixed-wing aircraft, tactical communications systems, military land vehicles, military simulation, and training, EOIR, military radar, and INS GNSS among others, the same can be achieved with Nigeria.
Just like Brazil, the mandate of Matawalle is to forge a partnership and improved on existing ones whereby just like in Brazil where 80% of the weapons manufactured are exported mostly to neighboring countries; he wants the promote that as the renewed mandate of the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria(DICON) as one of the key components of the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. When this is accomplished, it will bring about a drastic cut in budgetary spending for arms procurement, as this will now be a source of investment which will guarantee the country a huge return on investment when the envisaged exportation target is met and market explored.
It will also see the country occupies its rightful place and grow to become of one of the top 3 defence industries and armed forces in Africa, after Egypt and Algeria while the dream of becoming the biggest in Africa is a realistic aspiration. We are currently the fourth on the ranking after Egypt, Algeria, and South Africa. A spot we earned, not because of how large our nation’s Defense industry is, but because of the strength of our armed Forces.
With over 750 exhibitors, over 45 countries in attendance, over a 100,000 trade visits, 29.6bn SAR(Saudi Arabia Riyal) of orders and announcements as recorded figures from 2022, and over 115 international delegations with over 850 media presence, I’m in no doubt Matawalle will do us proud as he will represent, protect and present our nation’s interests with the much-needed tact, passion, patriotism, vigour and articulation.
I cannot wait to read report on the many impressive deals, and partnerships of immense benefits he forged for the country in the 4-day global event.