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We’re short of manpower, funding — Defence minister

Bashir Magashi, minister of defence, says indequate manpower and funding are shortcomings affecting the productivity of the armed forces.

Magashi, who spoke with journalists, said this was part of the ministry’s presentation at the virtual federal executive council meeting which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday.

“We spoke about our shortcomings. We talked about manpower shortage, inadequate funding for the ministry of defence,” he said.

“We talked about all the operations we have been conducting, the successes and failures of each of the operations right from operation Lafia Dole to operation Tawase.

“The shortcomings of each of the operations were discussed and, God so kind, contributions were made by members of the council and I think in no distant time there will be a change in the conduct of our affairs in the ministry of defence.”

Speaking on the Ogoni clean-up, Mohammad Abubakar, the minister of environment, said the ministry is currently cleaning up 36 sites impacted with hydrocarbon in order to rid it of wastes.

Abubakar said about 775 jobs have been created in Ogoni, with more on the way.

He said there is a programme to train 400 women in areas of agriculture, aquaculture and poultry as a way to improve the living standard of the people.

According to him, the ministry also creates jobs in the area of waste recycling, that is, to reduce, reuse, repair and recover waste.

“It is no longer fashionable to just produce, use and dispose because the planet is getting too choked up with pollutants. We are very big on recycling,” Abubakar said.

“Finally, we are big on erosion control which you all know is a big problem in the south-east. As you know, south-east is more prone to erosion because of the geologic nature of the area.”

He said post-COVID-19, the ministry is working to reduce the emission from generators and other gaseous emissions behind climate change.

He noted that about 4,000 jobs will be created in this area and their main mandate will be to keep a tab on emissions, including those from vehicles.

Abubakar added that the ministry is also working towards the creation of 32 jobs from the recycling of engine oil from motorcycles and other vehicles to produce diesel, which can, in turn, be reused.

On the green bond project, which is to produce clean energy, he said the proceeds will be used to produce solar energy for tertiary institutions.

Bashir Magashi

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