The Nigerian Army on Tuesday formalised agreement with the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) on mass production of 28 Mines Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles for its counter insurgency and other operations.
The agreement was signed by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, represented by the Chief of Policy and Plans, Lt.-Gen. Lamidi Adeosun and the Director General of DICON, Maj.-Gen. Victor Ezugwu in Abuja.
Buratai disclosed that the agreement would enable DICON to roll out the vehicles within a specified period of time.
He said it was in furtherance of the government’s effort to reduce reliance on foreign countries to acquire the needed equipment for its operations towards addressing the prevailing security challenges across the country.
Buratai commended DICON for its commitment to developing local content and capacity of the home based engineers of the Nigerian Army to solve the nation’s security problems.
He added that the initiative was to look inward through research and development to come up with what can be called indigenous MRAP vehicle.
“We are gathered here today to actualise one of the lofty dreams of the army in reducing challenges of having to rely on everything from outside Nigeria in terms of lethal equipment for Nigerian Army.
“Lethal requirement is one of the critical requirements that assist in professionally discharging our duties after good training.
“We have been relying solely in getting this critical equipment from outside.
“All of us are fully aware of the challenges that the Nigerian Army and Nigeria as a country has continued to face in all attempt to acquire all important military equipment for Nigerian armed forces particularly the army.
“We will go ahead to sign phases of the contract agreement for the production of our own indigenous MRAP named Ezugwu,’’ he said.
Responding, the Director General of DICON, said that the first batch of the 10 MRAPs in production at its factory in Kaduna would be delivered in December.
He assured that the company had the capacity and the manpower to execute the agreement in line with the government’s plan to develop local content.
According to him, I want to assure you that we will meet the timeline for this contract and the first set of 10 of these vehicles will be ready by early December.
“The partnership has brought about the first indigenous MRAP vehicle and I want to thank the Chief of Army Staff for having confidence in us which ordinarily would have been mission impossible.
“The beautiful thing about what we are witnessing today is that we are doing both research and development and production of this vehicle together.
“That is why in less than a year, we have the prototype produced and we are going into the mass production phase with this contract signing.
“I want to assure COAS that the standard that is contained in the characteristics of MRAP vehicle would be maintained.
“We have passed the phase of research and development, we are in full production,” he said. (NAN)