A technical military and defence pact with Italy that would among other things help to fight terrorism and stamp out criminal activities in Nigeria’s territorial waters is underway, Defence Minister, Mansur Dan-Ali, disclosed.
The Minister dropped hint about the defence pact on Tuesday when he led a delegation of Nigerian defence officials on a visit to the Italian Ministry of Defence in Rome.
He said Nigeria remained committed to joining forces with Italy to fight contemporary threats to global peace and security, stressing that “ both countries will soon finalise the draft of a technical military and defence agreement that will among other things facilitate improved military cooperation to address emerging threats to security.’’
Giving a highlight of the Italy-Nigeria defence pact, Dan-Ali said the agreement would facilitate: “exchange of data and experiences on technical matters affecting the preparation and conduct of combined naval operations in the field of counter piracy awareness and oil platforms protection.
“Enable both countries hold combined counter piracy exercises and other maritime security activities in international waters and territorial waters of Nigeria.
“Training of Nigerian Navy personnel ashore and on-board of the Italian vessels and also take measures to improve the readiness of the parties to conduct combined naval operations.’’
Acknowledging that both Nigeria and Italy had a long partnership economically and most recently security, Dan-Ali said the pact would further enable Nigeria “to engage some Italian companies in the area of repairs and remodelling of some Nigerian Army self-propelled artillery equipment’’, in its bid to enhance its capability to contain emerging challenges.
He said Nigeria and Italy would continue to work closely in other areas that have already been established, adding that more attention would be required in the areas of human and drug trafficking.
The Minister also solicited the assistance of the Italian government in addressing the humanitarian crisis in the North-East.