As a follow-up to the visit of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to Turkey in December, two Turkish delegations have visited the country to discuss areas of collaboration and the procurement of military hardware
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, told one of our correspondents that there were consultations with the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (retd.), in January.
On December 17, 2021, Turkey welcomed the decision of the Federal Government of Nigeria to procure naval ships from its shipyard in recognition of its growing global influence as a military power with demonstrable successes in Iraq, Syria, Libya and lately Azerbaijan.
The Turkish President, Recep Erdoğan, announced this during a bilateral meeting with his Nigerian counterpart before the commencement of the 3rd Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit in Istanbul.
Erdoğan said discussions were ongoing on strengthening the capacity of the Defence Industries Corporation in Kaduna in line with an agreement signed during his last state visit to Nigeria.
“Turkey understands the challenges facing Nigeria and its needs, and we are ready to assist you in meeting those needs, especially in the area of defence,” he had stated.
Buhari, on his part, said amidst sustained efforts to keep Nigerians safer, the country would partner the transcontinental nation in dealing with the current security challenges facing it.
“I wish to express my appreciation for your offer of assistance in dealing with the challenges facing us. I await the reports of officials and the ministers as they hold meetings with their counterparts. I assure you that I will endorse all their positive recommendations,” the President had stated.
After Buhari’s return, his spokesman, Shehu, in a piece titled, ‘Takeaways from Buhari’s epic visit to Turkey’, had said that as a follow up to its commitment, a team from the Turkish defence establishment was expected in Nigeria by January 2022 to advance the discussions on military procurement.
He said, “Flowing from the meeting of leaders, the heads of our defence and security establishments were afforded long engagements with their Turkish counterparts. The meetings took time to reflect on what Nigeria needs to overcome the problem of insecurity. These issues revolved around using technology to fight crime, something that everyone is doing, and so why not Nigeria.
“As we go into January next year (2022), a team from the Turkish defence establishment is expected to be in Nigeria in an effort to advance the discussions on the issue of military procurement.”
He added that from the bilateral meetings, the ground had been laid for the setting up of education, health and leisure projects, and in the not-too-distant future, the Federal Capital Territory Administration would be receiving a team of investors, including the renowned Ma’arif Foundation.
Speaking to one of our correspondents on Sunday, Shehu said, “We are aware that as a follow-up to the engagements in Turkey, two groups have paid visits here. Yes, on security-related matters; both were received by the minister of defence.
“One group came to discuss the possibility of setting up a highway security system. This is to help the country tackle the problem of highway robbery, kidnapping and other crimes.
“They went round to see things and will soon come back to resume the discussions. The other group is planning investments in maritime security, shipbuilding and repair. Both discussions were encouraging.”
However, there were no public statements from the Defence Ministry about the follow-up engagements.
As of the time of filing this report, our correspondents had reached out to several sources as well as the Director, Press and Public Relations in the Ministry of Defence, Victoria Agba-Attah, who admitted not knowing of any such engagements with the minister.