By Gift Chapi Odekina
The House of Representatives has advanced the process of revolutionizing the country’s military industrial capabilities through the establishment of a Defence Research and Development Bureau, DRDB.
This was as the House also read the establishment bill for the third time, sending the proposed piece of legislation to the Senate for concurrence.
The document as made available to journalists also contains a provision seeking to have the Minister for Defence as chairman of the Governing Council, and those of Communication and Digital Economy and Science and Technology as members respectively.
“The composition of the Governing Council shall consist of the; Minister of Defence as Chairman; Minister of Science and Technology; Minister of Communication and Digital Economy; Chief of the Defence Staff; Chief of Army Staff; Chief of Naval Staff; Chief of Air Staff; Director-General of the Bureau; Deputy Director Coordination of the Bureau as Secretary.”
Titled: a Bill for an Act to Establish the Defence Research and Development Bureau (DRDB) to Conduct and Coordinate Robust Research and Development in the Armed Forces of Nigeria, the proposed piece of legislation is being sponsored by Hon. Babajimi Benson, from Lagos, who also chairs the House committee on Defence.
In his executive brief explaining the general principles, the bill is comprised of 5 Parts and 34 Sections, as well as a Schedule, which contains supplementary provisions relating to the Governing Council and other provisions for miscellaneous.
“The bill seeks to create a Bureau with the objectives to conduct and coordinate robust research and development in the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN); coordinate the research and development efforts of the three services of the Nigerian Armed Forces; crystallize the results of scientific and technical research on defence items and equipment for public and private institutions; provides scientific technical information to the Armed Forces of Nigeria and allies amongst others.
“The functions of the Bureau are to enter into such agreement, liaisons, memoranda of understanding, cooperation, partnership, etc with such institutions, agencies, corporations etc, as may be necessary from time to time or desirable, subject to the approval of the Governing Council; be responsible for the discipline and welfare of its personnel; deal with matters relating to the discipline of military personnel in the Bureau according to the Armed Forces Act; conduct and sponsor studies and researches in military industrial production and related fields of studies amongst others.
“The Bureau is established as a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal, which may sue or be sued in its corporate name and may acquire, hold or dispose of moveable or immoveable property”, the document reads.
It explains further the location of the office headquarters and the organizational structure/units to be responsible for the day-to-day administration and management of the Bureau.
“The Bureau shall be headed by the DG not below the rank of Major-General or its equivalents in other Services whose appointment and removal from office shall be in accordance with the recommendation of the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) to the Council for approval.
“The DG shall be a person knowledgeable in the defence related industries, who has demonstrated experience in engineering or science and technology and responsible to the Council for: Giving to the Council such information as to the activities of the Bureau as the Chairman of the Council may require.
“Each Directorate shall be headed by a Director with an establishment rank of Major General or its equivalent in other Services, or a retired military officer of equivalent rank or a civilian with requisite professional experience and shall serve for a minimum term of 2 years with possible extension of 1 year only.
“The HQ of the Bureau is designed to be in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and the following shall consist of the Bureau’s HQ: Office of the Director-General (DG) and Chief Executive Officer of the Bureau; Directorate of Research; Directorate of Development and Production; Directorate of Test and Evaluation; Directorate of Liaison; Directorate of Administration and Logistics; Directorate of Finance and Accounts; Directorate of Legal Services and any other directorate as may be approved by the Council.
“It is also provided that each directorate shall be headed by a Director with an establishment rank of Major-General or its equivalent in other Services.”
The proposed Enactment also made provision for appointment in the Bureau for other members of staff, in accordance with the provisions of section 16 of the Bill.
“It is also provided that notwithstanding the provisions of section 14 of the Bill, the Council shall have power to create any office or directorate, necessary for the efficient running of the Bureau,” the bill posited.