By Kingsley Omonobi
Abuja – The German government said Monday night that it would commence the supply of military hardware to support Nigeria’s effort to address security challenges in its North East and Niger Delta regions, before the end of 2016.
Permanent Secretary, German Foreign Office, Mr. Markus Elderer, stated this in Abuja at the meeting of defence session of the Nigeria-Germany Bi-National Commission.
He said the decision to support Nigerian security forces towards addressing security challenges was at the instance of a request by President Muhammadu Buhari at the last G-7 summit hosted by Germany.
The German official said the equipment involved comprised ground surveillance equipment, anti-mine equipment, gun boats and others adding that Germany would commence the supply of the equipment as soon as the aid agreement was signed between the representatives of both countries.
Elderer said the military aid to Nigeria would also include training of Nigerian military personnel especially military engineers in the handling and maintenance of the equipment.
“It was during the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to Germany at the occasion of the G-7 summit that it was decided that we will very practically help to address Nigeria’s security concerns” he said.
“The Nigerian government requested equipment support and military training so we are incorporating all of these in this agreement.
“We are doing this through training, through equipment supply like the ground radar system, mine clearing equipment and mobile health units for the security forces in order for them to carry out these difficult tasks of combating terrorism.
“We are almost at the finishing line and we are just waiting the signing of the agreement so that we can begin implementation, I think everything will be done this year” he said.
Elderer identified other aspects of the agreement as bio-security, mopping of small arms in the country, police training and health support.
In his address, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence, Amb. Danjuma Sheni noted that the efforts of the German government to support Nigeria’s quest for peace and security in the sub region was laudable.
He said Nigeria would leverage on the opportunities created through the Nigeria-Germany Bi-National Commission to boost other aspects of relations that was beneficial to both countries.
Sheni said the secretariat of the commission was working tirelessly to ensure that the agreement was signed before the end of June.