Buratai seeks sustainable investment for military hardware manufacturing
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, has stated that there is need for sustained investment in the research and development on military hardware to reduce over-dependence on the importation of security logistics.
He said this will help to shore up and sustain military capabilities towards mitigating contemporary security challenges.
Buratai, spoke at the Abuja International Trade Fair Complex, venue of the “Special Nigerian Army Day,” on Wednesday.
At the “2019 Abuja International Trade Fair,” Buratai, disclosed that the complex nature of the country’s security environment has resulted in the deployment of the military virtually in all the 36 states of the federation.
He said: “We are all aware of the nature of security challenges facing the country, and the resultant employment of elements of national power by the Federal Government to contain them.
“The NA therefore, directed the Command Engineering Depot to collaborate with the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria in research and development, and equally funded their innovative ideas to produce a number of products displayed here today.”
Buratai, expressed delight that all the products manufactured by the Command Engineering Depot were fabricated by Nigerians, without foreign technical partners.
He said: “This is an achievement that will help to lay a solid foundation for future consolidation on local production of military hardwares.
“Similarly, it will reduce the intractable over-dependence on imported defence logistics.”
The Army Chief, noted that it is heartwarming the military, along with other security agencies have substantially restored law and order in the crisis affected areas.
“The successes achieved by the Nigerian Army (NA) in particular, are based on quality manpower development, capacity building, provision of adequate platforms and other essential materials to boosts its operational capacity,” said Buratai.
He maintained that the sustenance of local capacity for production of both lethal and non-lethal military hardware rest solidly on quality manpower.
The COAS, bemoaned the fact that most of the requisite materials and ammunition for troops are imported.
A situation he said, not only drains huge foreign exchange, but is also impacting negatively on the operational efficiency of the NA.
According to Lt. Gen. Buratai, the trade fair has afforded the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria and the Command Engineering Depot the opportunity to showcase their joint-effort in research and development to the public, and indeed the international community.
He disclosed that plans are underway to establish a ‘Smart Factory’ at the Command Engineering Deport, adding that NA has continously sponsored officers and soldiers on post-graduate studies on robotics, automobile and software engineering, ICT and weapon systems, among others, in both local and foreign institutions.
The special guest of honour, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of Science and Technology, who saluted NA for the wonderful inventions, described the exhibition event as ‘celebration of excellence’.
While applauding NA for participating in their last three annual ‘Science and Technology Expo’, Dr. Onu, assured that his Ministry will cooperate, collaborate and offer needed support to the Army in all areas necessary to advance research and development in military hardware production.
The products displayed by the Army at the event include the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle named Ezugwu MRAP, both heavy and light Infantry Patrol Vehicle (IPV), CED mobile borehole drilling machine, and the Ijodo tractor, among others.