In the country which used to be Persia, known to us now as Iran, there is a controversy brewing. People who follow world politics and international news would be aware of this controversy. Iranians have already reacted with fright of war outbreak and the United States President Donald Trump has given his opinion on the issue.
This ‘issue’ is none other than a drone belonging to the United States shot down by the Iranians. Trump says he believes the Iranians made a mistake and that there would have been a lot of difference if not that it was an unmanned device.
Away from that theatre unfolding faraway, Nigeria is also discussing its own drone. In a nation that has never been directly involved in an external war and has very little reason to do an arms upgrade except for terrorists and insurgents in a part of the country, what would concern Nigeria with a drone?
What concerns Nigeria with a drone in this season of drones governing the global discussion is corruption. Sheer unbridled corruption. Doused on the top with a lack of knowledge on the modern advances in military hardware.
The army recently announced the acquisition in two states of two single units of commonly marketed devices in foreign and even local stores unveiling it as some type of High Tech device which the military intends to combat kidnappers in the country.
This announcement did not include the cost at which it was purchased. A vacuum which checks at online sites have revealed they are relatively cheap with some versions at $1,000 (N365,000). The device appears to be a DJI drone. Commercially mass produced and cheaply sold for even children use as toy.
The two devices would have been purchased at an handsome cost of taxpayers money judging from the antecedents of corrupting in various sectors of Nigeria.
The military in the release says “the device is the latest in the market, we decided to go for it with the support of my GOC. It can go on it own and it can avoid all obstacle”.
With the way they have praised this commercial device, the military seem to believe the value is high and it is almost certain a lot was spent on it much more than the cost.
The release goes further to say “with its launching in this Osi community, we have been able to map out the vast forests and studied it, so our men can move in. I can tell you that bandits days are over in this state."
Much condemnation has trailed this on social media in Nigeria with pictures flying around of how cheap the device may be and even comparing it to the ones owned by other countries.
Is the device the latest in the market or even advanced enough as a drone? The latest in drone technology uses very small and tiny devices that can be as small as insects while using them to gather surveillance. The Nigerian unveiling is a rather common gadget.
While the chief of army staff has said Nigerian soldiers are unwilling to fight Boko Haram and has given it as a reason for the delay in defeating the sect, it is necessary to consider too the issue of poor training and lack of touch with modern global practices in warfare asides the issue of motivation limiting Nigeria’s conquest of Boko Haram terrorists.
The drone which the army displayed is not even some distant technology to Nigeria as backward as the country may be technologically. Even journalists and photographers in Nigeria have begun to employ the use of the type of drone to take pictures and record events.
Occurrences like this expose why Nigeria is having a hard time combatting security challenges. This instant drone issue combines possible corruption, inadequate military training, insufficient technology amidst other issues. It is a panorama into the deeper challenges of our security.
Nigeria has budgeted or spent 6.098 trillion Naira on security with the item taking the most of our budget over the past years. The display of such drone device as high technology for our national security puts us in a place where we have to question the efficient usage of resources allocated to defense and also the proper training of Nigerian officers beyond the physical aspect of soldiering to be in touch with modern trends.
Koye-Ladele Mofehintoluwa writes from Obafemi Awolowo University. Nigeria. He is a frequent opinion writer for different reputable media in Nigeria.
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