Members of the Presidential committee on the review of Nigerian defence policy yesterday visited Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing (IVM) Company, Nnewi, Anambra State to inspect facilities at the vehicle plant and see how the defence sector in the country could benefit from the company.
The visiting committee chaired by Major General A. Adewuyi had Professor Isaac Olawale Albert as the team leader. He told Daily Sun that the basic reason for the visit was for the committee to see the facilities available at the company and see the extent to which the defence policy could draw some lessons.
Prof Albert said the idea was for Nigeria to begin to look inwards for the procurement of some military hard and soft wares “ how we can procure our vehicles, how do we procure our armoured vehicles locally, how do we manufacture some of the things we need in the defence industry. That is what brought us to Nnewi.”
Professor Albert explained that what the presidential committee had seen at the factory site suggested to them that without doubt, IVM had the capacity to supply the Nigerian military with many of its requirements in terms of military vehicles.
“We saw at the factory, pick-up vans that can be used by the police, army, air force, navy, customs and immigration. We also saw buses that can be used to convey officers and men.
“So, I think it is a very useful visit and when we get back to Abuja we are going to write a report that will actually show the capacity of this company to assist the defence industry in Nigeria,” Prof Albert promised.
He said the review excercise covered all the security agencies, adding that what the committee had seen at Innoson would form a critical element of the new defence policy.
“Our observation is that Nigeria can produce her own armoured vehicles for carrying out operations. The Chief Executive Officer of Innoson Group, Chief (Dr.) Innocent Chukwuma would come to Abuja to address a larger gathering of the defence policy makers on his capability and ingenuity.
“This is what we need in this country if we must be self-sufficient in diverse areas. In addition to manufacturing for Nigeria and doing the country proud, Innoson generates employment, Prof Albert concluded.”
He described Chief Chukwuma as a national asset.
Earlier, Chief Chukwuma had told the presidential committee that he was already designing military vehicles that would be as rugged as others produced elsewhere, that the IVM had the capability to manufacture armoured vehicles if given the specification. He said the company only needed support by government and Nigerians. He declared that there was no vehicle IVM could not design and produce for African environment.
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